I Heart Edinburgh
- The List
- 16 September 2010
Come on Gang!'s Sarah Tanat-Jones talks about what makes Auld Reekie special to her
‘There’s no two ways about it: being a student in Edinburgh is brilliant. There’s purse-friendly travel costs, granted to you in a city of petite proportions, in which walking everywhere is not only easy but a treat for the eyes too. There’s gentle old-world charm mixed with delightfully subverted underground scenes that ebb and flow, to be discovered by discerning minds. There are the magical venues hidden in caves, under railway bridges, down narrow lanes and inside old churches. You can probably bag yourself a flat of monstrous proportions as standard (just don’t pull the short straw for the obligatory teeny box room).
But really, the only way to get the most out of living in Edinburgh is to take a proper look around. We’ve all seen those photos of the castle, resplendent at sunset; the royal mile bustling in the afternoon. But what about those places that aren’t on the bus tour? Go down to Leith and have a cup of tea in a some cheap’n’cheerful cafe. Discover the thrift shops on Easter Road, and count the jolly handpainted shop signs. Waltz past the manor houses around the Grange, and make your way up Blackford hill. There’s a duck pond at the bottom, so take a loaf with you and befriend some birdlife. Trip down to the Botanic Gardens and weave through the trees. Inverleith House is a fantastic place to see some art, or just enjoy an unusual view of the city. Have a dip in one of the numerous old Victorian swimming pools dotted around town. There’s Stockbridge, Morningside and the West End – all full of things to see, but strangely under-explored by Edinburgh’s students. Don’t be one of the unenlightened! Better still, buy a bike. You’ll be glad you did – especially when freewheeling down Dundas Street (but maybe not puffing back up).
And don’t be afraid to let your hair down. You have more freedom in your student years to disregard the rules of normal society. Enjoy it. In the summer months, the light reappears almost as soon as it’s gone, and you should watch this happen at least once, maybe whilst trekking up Arthur’s Seat, or running around Tollcross looking for post-club munchies.
Set yourself a challenge: find a cosy cup of tea in a new neighbourhood, or search the charity shops and bag a coat for pennies as winter draws in (tip: the residents of Morningside are pretty well-heeled, and there are plenty of charity shops here). Or, being a student, just find your favourite place for a pint and a catch-up with your new class – some of the pubs here are astoundingly atmospheric. Have fun, and always take a jacket – even if it didn’t look like rain when you closed your front door
Come on Gang's new single 'Fortune Favours the Brave' is available to download for free from 10 Sep, the same day as their single launch party at the Caves, Edinburgh. Check out www.comeongang.co.uk for all the details.