It’s getting to that much anticipated ‘Winter Wonderland’ time of year – and along with the festive highlights and attractions of the season (not to mention short days and crunch of snow underfoot!) there’s little that beats a toasty fire, a hearty holiday meal and a glass of mulled wine. To do just this, while making the most of one of the UK’s most iconic destinations, the team at Vitora’s been planning a short road trip to give those tyres a bit of a special winter outing… so, if you’re up for a last-minute adventure to round out the year, buckle up and join us for a ride that we hope will help get you right into a festive mood!
A few directions to get your ride underway
This trip takes us from the busy centre of Newcastle upon Tyne to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city – a perfect blend of history, tradition, arts and culture, stunning scenery and superb hospitality – a city which also does Christmas in plenty of style! About 120 miles from Newcastle, following the A1 motorway, the drive is very direct and should take about two-and-a-half hours all going to plan! And while close enough for a long weekend or somewhere to enjoy a few days over the festive season, it’s quite far enough away to give you that “getting away from it all” feeling – especially at this time of year!
The all-important question of vehicles and tyres
We’re guessing this is somewhere the whole family would love to go (after all, who doesn’t want to see Santa and an elf or two playing the bagpipes?) – and a family-friendly SUV with Vitora CountryLife tyres would get you where you need to go in plenty of comfort, whatever the weather outside! Talking of the weather, we are heading to Scotland, so if there’s snow forecast, don’t forget your snow chains!
Destination Edinburgh for the Festive Season
While Edinburgh is a buzz of activity all year round, it’s one of those places that does celebrations (including the festive season) perfectly, with all the bells and whistles at the ready. Getting into the Christmas spirit is easy in Scotland’s capital where you’ll be enchanted by markets and classy street decorations, Carols events (some with special illuminated Christmas lighting), carnivals, fairs – and if you’re lucky you’ll get to meet Santa in his kilt! Seasonal food is also an attraction – and while Edinburgh’s pubs and eateries will be bursting with traditional festive fare, make sure you don’t leave without trying some of Scotland’s speciality shortbread, oatcakes, porridge (which when in Edinburgh some say isn’t complete without a little dash of whisky!) — and of course, that all-time famous favourite, haggis (available in some places in Vegetarian and Vegan varieties!) If you decide to stretch your stay out to bring in the New Year (or should we say “Hogmanay” as it’s known by the Scots) – you’ll be spoilt for choice with options of how to celebrate.
When in Edinburgh…
Festivities aside, here are a few Edinburgh highlights not to be missed:
The castle: Every trip to Edinburgh should include a visit to the iconic castle. Perched up high with impressive views over the town, Edinburgh Castle has World Heritage status and is steeped in history and intrigue, with many parts to explore.
Tour the Underground Vaults: Also called the South Bridge vaults, this famous network of chambers under the “Old Town” is full of history and tales of the past just waiting to be explored.
Have tea with the Queen: Take a tour of the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh, Palace of Holyroodhouse, decked out with Christmas decorations including a 15-ft high Christmas tree in the Great Gallery. While we can’t promise you the Queen herself will be in residence when you visit, you can enjoy tea in the Café at the Palace.
Walk the Royal Mile: Connecting Edinburgh Castle with Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile is full of character and charm, lit up with a brilliant display of Christmas lights and street musicians adding to the good cheer. The Mile’s characterful buildings include the spectacular St Giles Cathedral, and if you enjoy a browse, there are plenty of interesting shops of souvenirs, cashmere goods, and speciality stores for Whisky lovers abound!
Murrayfield Ice Rink: Watch the Edinburgh Capitals ice hockey team battle it out on this Olympic sized rink – or take the family for a bit of holiday fun on ice. The rink even has a “Skate with Santa” session on Saturday mornings over the festive season – check out the website for details.
Christmas markets in East Princes Street Gardens: Located right in the middle of Edinburgh, the markets are the perfect place to pick up a gift, enjoy something homemade and tasty or just take a stroll.
Tuck into hearty pub grub or something a bit fancy: Edinburgh is wonderfully cosmopolitan when it comes to its eateries and you can make dining out a real highlight of your visit! From an abundance of cosy pubs serving traditional Scottish fare to many fine dining establishments serving up cuisine from Scotland and all corners of the world – Edinburgh has just about every menu request covered!
Parking and Getting around Edinburgh
Parking in the centre of Edinburgh can be a little tricky (not to mention expensive!) Plan ahead and organise parking with your hotel or find a suitable Park and Ride location outside the centre for the day (and don’t forget to check if you can leave your car there overnight!) Exploring the centre of Edinburgh can be done quite easily on foot (as long as you are up for the steep parts), with the Hop-on Hop-off buses a great option for seeing the main sites.
Anything else you need to know?
If you’re already acquainted with Edinburgh (even just a little!) you’ll know that the Vitora team’s suggestions really are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s on offer in Scotland’s bonnie capital city – particularly at this festive time of year. That said, our tyres are pumped up and ready to roll – so hoping you’re inspired to come along for the ride! Safe travels, Blythe Yuil and a Blythe Hogmanay tae ye!