Finally, after the absolute riot that 2020 has been, something good happened in our lives. We bought a house!
An actual, real, brick house. It’s kind of scary after years of travel and seasonal jobs, to be finally settling down in a place we’re going to call a permanent home. Settling down? What’s that?! Does this mean we are actual, verified adults?
We’re still technically in Edinburgh – South Queensferry is a small town of its own entity, but it falls under the City Of Edinburgh council (which is handy as West Lothian, mere metres to the west of us, has been in virtual lockdown for several weeks and we probably wouldn’t have been able to move) and while it’s separated from the city, it feels like it’s on the edge of it. It takes half an hour to get into the city centre – slightly longer on the bus, and under 15 minutes on the train.
Plus we’re close to the airport, and it shaves half an hour off any journey we take going north (i.e. to most of Scotland, including to Orkney!). All in all, not a bad place to be at all!
Best of all – it’s really pretty!
Over the past couple of years, we’ve come to really love South Queensferry, and very quickly added it to our shortlist of ideal places to live. Being honest, it felt more like a pipe dream and we never thought we’d actually move here!
I’m thrilled that it’s actually happened. We might not be within walking distance of Princes Street any more, but there’s enough here from cute cafés to charming independent shops – the newsagent on the high street is literally called the “town cryer” which is a phrase I’ve rarely seen – to serve us and keep us well occupied.
Here are some of the highlights of what you can do here:
The Forth Rail bridge
The main landmark, and indeed one of the famous landmarks of Edinburgh and even Scotland, is the Forth Rail bridge. Built in the 1880’s, it’s widely considered one of the biggest feats of engineering of all time, and it’s recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the first major structure in the world to be built of steel, and it’s featured on pound coins and bank notes in the UK. All in all, a bit of an icon.
Having never been particularly interested in bridges as a whole, I have to say this one is really impressive and I always enjoy a walk along the waterfront taking in any and all views of it.
They’re actually in the process of setting up a tour to climb the bridge – the only opportunity people have had to do this is for a charity event by Barnardo’s, but soon we’ll be able to climb it any time!
There’s also a museum on the high street which I only realised recently, and naturally it’s closed at the moment, so I hope to visit once things are a bit more normal again.
There are several boat tour companies that set sail along the Firth. The one I’d really like to do is the Maid of the Forth tour to Inchcolm Island. You can stop and visit the abbey there, which looks really cool. Forth Tours also do runs over to Blackness Castle, or you can simply have a dinner cruise with live music in the Forth.
Grab a bite to eat
So, being honest: we still haven’t eaten anywhere in South Queensferry! This is partly because we’ve been self-isolating so that we can safely spend Christmas with my parents, but it’s a shame because there are so many good places to eat here.
So far, we have been highly recommended: Scott’s, a restaurant with seafood and pub grub down at the marina. Down The Hatch, a Canadian eatery also at the marina, and causing an absolute fuss in Edinburgh because they’re opening a new location in the city centre much to, it seems, absolutely everyone’s sheer delight (how did I only hear of it the other day?!). The Three Bridges Bistro, which my friend declared her favourite restaurant ever when she heard we were moving here. The Ravenous Beastie, a simple but fantastic café from what I hear, not to mention the name is great (they also have rooms).
For a small town, that’s a lot of recommendations already, but then we also love the look of The Little Bakery (where I will blatantly be taking my mum for afternoon tea one day), Orocco Pier, a fancier restaurant with unbeatable views of the bridges – and, we were pleased to note, not actually too pricey – and finally, The Ferry Tap, which overall looks like your average pub but it’s incredibly striking from the outside and I’m keen to check it out.
I’m telling you – I can’t WAIT to try all these out and report back on my best recommendations!
Wander the high street
And of course we come to my favourite thing to do, and something I can now do in abundance.
South Queensferry’s high street is absolutely charming. So far it’s reminded us of several places in Orkney, which may also indicate why I like it so much. A couple of small alleyways caused Ash to remark on it feeling like Stromness, and the way it’s set on the water reminds me of where I grew up, St Margaret’s Hope.
Beyond that, it’s full of colourful houses, beautiful boutique shops, and a cobblestone street that any town yearns for.
Anyway, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a real guide post – considering I’ve barely actually done anything here! I’m really looking forward to getting more acquainted with our new home, and eventually I will write a proper guide to one of the best places to come for a little escape from Edinburgh’s city centre.
For now, it’s time to enjoy what we can of Christmas in our new home – and it’s certainly beginning to feel like Christmas in here!
In fact, I’ll show you a little of our new house, because I absolutely adore our living room!
How freaking cool is our boat shelf?! It now has penguin lights wrapped around it, just in case you were wondering if it could get even more awesome. I absolutely love our coffee table too, and that rug is the softest thing I’ve felt since my parents had pet chincillas (disclaimer: rug is fur-free).
I also ADORE that clock! As an aside, those chairs were a nightmare to build. As I said on Facebook the other night, they say the real test of a relationship is to travel together. Well as we’ve done plenty of that, I say the real test is building flat pack furniture together! Haha.
We’ve been really lucky in a lot of ways as not much work has needed doing other than the endless flat packs. We’ve painted one room to be Ash’s office (he didn’t really fancy a bright pink wall with fairy decals on it for some reason) and our bedroom will eventually need painting and the stair carpet replacing. We’ve ordered a new couch (the one above was left by the sellers) but it won’t be delivered until February!
Our plans for the rest of the year have been totally scuppered by our incompetent government once again pulling a last-minute U-turn and cancelling Christmas in the UK just yesterday. We are still going to see my parents, albeit for a much shorter time. I’m thankful for this as they couldn’t have come just for a day from Orkney, and have managed to get away to their cottage to come from there instead (still a six hour return journey), but it’s just a rubbish situation for a lot of people who are now stuck.
More importantly, if you know anyone who will be affected by this or may have to spend Christmas alone, please reach out to them and make sure they’re okay. I’ve offered video chats and things to some of my friends and family who are now having to be alone on Christmas Day.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas however you’re able to spend it. It’s certainly a time to be thankful for what we do have, and to look forward to a future where we’re no longer living like this.
Here’s to eating and drinking far too much over the next week!
Have a great one!