At the end of September, my brother and I (both graduates of Edinburgh University) took a trip down memory lane and spent a quick weekend there.

Edinburgh's Scottish National Gallery

Now while there was a specific reason we went (see below: McEwan Hall) we also had a day and a couple of hours to spare to enjoy the city again.


Edinburgh's Victoria Street

Arguably the most Harry Potter-esque street in Edinburgh (I mean the whole of Old Town Edinburgh did influence J.K. Rowling, so these scenes are easy to find at almost every corner); a new Harry Potter shop has opened since both our graduations and we were keen to check it out.

Diagon House (also located on Cockburn Street), is a shop full of trinkets, prop replicas and gifts that would make any wizard feel proud. Although rather crowded when we went - it was September after all, so the start of a new school year full of Hogwarts students in need of fresh school supplies, I'm sure. I saw this gorgeous Hogwarts Crest Wax Seal Kit that I was very tempted to buy, but as my brother pointed out I tend to avoid real paper mail (I mean it's always bills so my owl has a hard time trying to deliver those to me). So I resisted, but if you're more mail inclined than me just know that it's there, along with every school house (Gryffindor represent!).



As any student or former student will know, there are multiple university buildings that offer a great view of the city and with the advantage of being protected from the cold and wet. Armed for entry with my alumni university card, I knew where to go (my secret I'm afraid) and I managed to get these great shots!



Edinburgh's McEwan Hall

Now for the real reason we went on this trip to Edinburgh. As I've mentioned above; both my brother and I are graduates of Edinburgh University, so when it came time to donate to restore McEwan Hall (where all the graduation ceremonies take place), we chipped in. As a thank you to all donations above £115 everyone got to get their names put on the wall of the new "Pathway to Enlightenment", and we were all invited to see the end result on this particular weekend.

Although I did go on Sunday after the event, to get a new official Edinburgh jumper (in red cause #Gryffindor) from The University of Edinburgh Gift Shop located opposite McEwan Hall at the visitor centre. I noticed that some scaffolding had suddenly been put up (right in the picture above), so not quite finished yet, but well on its way, plus they said they still had to install a lift that November. :)

Edinburgh's McEwan Hall

The end result of the restoration is breath-taking and well worth the £33 million it took to get there! Having had both an exam and my graduation ceremony in there, it's much more pleasant to be in there now (not so cold and draughty). The windows in the dome that use to cast an unfortunate spotlight on seated audience members have now been dimed using a blue toned shading effect, combined with the new lighting and chandelier, along with all the painting restoration, you really feel like you're in the middle of a giant Fabergé egg...not an unpleasant feeling actually!


So, there you have it, our quick trip up to Edinburgh. I leave you with this gorgeous old pic that I took from where I used to live as a student (before the days of my trusty DSLR I'm afraid, so this is one of the very few in focus and of good quality).

Have you ever donated to a restoration? Were you pleased with the result?

Have you spent a lot of time as a student or simple wanderer in a city that you really miss now? Would love to hear your stories. :)