Destination Edinburgh. Aesthete’s Guide to the Scottish Capital’s Finest Addresses and Chic Traditions by Nicolas Fairford
The chicest Scot on our radar, tastemaker Nicolas Fairford knows Edinburgh’s most elegant and noble addresses. A famous Youtuber with a passion for elegant living, he loves a good Afternoon tea and serves the very best one at his refined and classy home. He’s about to launch a new collection of homewares inspired by the English Garden called Botanica – while waiting, let’s get inspired by Nicolas’s aesthetics in choosing things to see in his native city.
Which hotel would you recommend for a great stay in Edinburgh, and what do you love about its design?
My absolute favourite is The Balmoral. It has the perfect location in the heart of the city on Princes Street amidst the hustle and bustle, however when you step inside you arrive to a peaceful oasis of luxury and calm. The Palm Court for Afternoon Tea is heavenly with it’s hand-painted wallpaper. The food and service is exceptional.
Some less-known attractions absolutely worth seeing?
The best attraction that sticks out in my mind is the Royal Yacht Britannia which belonged to the Royal Family and was used for summer vacations. You can walk around the entire ship and even see the Queen’s bedroom. It is easy to understand why the queen was so sad to say goodbye to the Royal Yacht. It is clear that it was well love and held so many memories. You can almost feel the atmosphere on board.
Your go-to places for a perfect day in Edinburgh?
I would start with an early walk to Calton Hill. This is an energizing walk and will really wake you up. Once you reach the top you will be rewarded with stunning views of the city.
Then I would head into Stockbridge for breakfast. This area is less well known to tourists and feels like a little village. There are independent boutiques and so many great options for food. For breakfast I like Café Florentin which serves the best eggs. Especially lovely when the sun is shining and you can sit outside.
Head back into town via Circus Lane, the prettiest street in Edinburgh with cobblestones and beautiful mews houses.
Next I would indulge in some culture. Edinburgh has a wonderful abundance of galleries and museums. My personal favourite is the Portrait Gallery which was a real mix of classic and contemporary portraits.
In the evening there are so many options for dinner and drinks. I particularly like the buzz of St Andrews Square where you can pick and choose from a group of great places.
Where do you buy the best tea and other beautiful ingredients for a stylish Afternoon tea at home?
My favourite place for tea is The Howdah Tea and Coffee Company in Stockbridge. All of the teas are lined up in glass jars and you can select and sample them on request. My favourite is their Almond Black.
IJ Mellis in Stockbridge is a famous institution selling the best produce to its loyal customers. I go here for excellent bread, cheese, and pastries.
#Sustainable travel: your sustainable tips for visiting the city.
Walk! Edinburgh is perfect for walking and you will definitely see and feel more of the city if you do.
Where do you find the best china for your China closet?
I am actually working on my own line of teaware as we speak. It is inspired by my love of the cotswolds and English Gardens. It will be available soon at my website!
Where do you buy flowers?
I mostly grab bunches of blooms when I’m shopping in the supermarket. I like the challenge of making them look pretty and I enjoy looking at them more when I know I arranged them together.
Name some of your favourite museums or art galleries.
As I mentioned previously my favourite is the Portrait Gallery. I also love the National gallery which is filled with huge regency portraits. The Georgian House on Charlotte Square is also fascinating - like stepping back in time.
Your favorite places for a weekend getaway in the count§ryside?
My favourite place for a weekend getaway is Greywalls Hotel in Gullane, East Lothian. It is a 30-minute drive from Edinburgh and is situated on some of the most stunning coast and golfing resorts in Scotland. Greywalls is a family run hotel - built by Lutyens in the Edwardian era. It is like going to stay with an elegant aunt. The fires are always lit, the cushions always plumped, tea at the ready. True bliss.