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9 Ways to Avoid Being the Cliche Tourist in Edinburgh

by Damien Bannock Nov 27, 2015

1. Accept the ‘Edinburgh Face’.

Due to Edinburgh having permanent winds akin to the moments before a tsunami hits, residents can often be seen with ‘Edinburgh Face’. This is a condition where the face scrunches itself into a ball to escape the beating it will receive from unruly air currents. Just accept it (and perhaps practice before you go by trying to chew a whole lemon).

This condition is commonly associated with ‘Edinburgh Hair’ where the hair, no longer bound by the laws of gravity, will fly around the Edinburgh resident’s face with movements similar to an old-school raver in a Berlin nightclub after a couple of disco biscuits.

2. Don’t ask who ‘Ken’ is.

Nothing says ‘tourist’ more than not understanding the language. Yes, before you actually ask, that language you are hearing is English. And Ken is just a very popular man about town who we all love and admire. Just kidding, tourist. To ken really means to know, e.g. “I ken you’re a doctor but that doesn’t explain why you’re in bed with my wife.”

While we’re here, “Dinnae” means don’t. “Aye” means yes. “Shan” means unfair and “Radge” means crazy. We speak differently, alright! Get over it “ya radge!”

3. Be cool, man.

It may look like a fairytale, but people actually live here. Don’t scream every time you see an old-looking lamppost or piss your pants when you see a piper. You will be revealing your true tourist identity. And take a trip out to Wester Hailes or Sighthill to have those fairytale illusions brutally corrected.

4. Abide by the Edinburgh Spitting laws.

Edinburgh is different when it comes to phlegm, as we have a roughly 1 square meter designated spitting area called the Heart of Midlothian. Once the entrance to the Old Tolbooth Prison, local residents (and Hibs supporters) can often be seen gobbing precisely in this spot. Remember it by this rhyme: “Spitting isn’t smart unless you see the heart.”

5. Don’t flinch at the One O’clock Gun.

A giant cannon is fired every day at…wait for it…one o’clock. Bear this information in mind and you can watch smugly as tourists on Princes Street drop their shortbread tins and whisky bottles. Remain unflinching as you look for the nearest bathroom to remove the urine patch from your trousers.

6. Don’t express a liking for the trams.

The trams are the thing that has caused the most damage to the city ever, apart from the time that guy left the oven on in a bakery in Pudding Lane. Saying you like the trams is the equivalent of saying the Great Fire of London was a good thing. You heartless bastard.

7. Avoid The Hive.

Do not allow a local to tempt you to The Hive under the guise of it being ‘a good laugh’ or ‘a muck about’. Do not be swayed by reports of its cheapness. You will be the oldest person there, you will leave with crippling depression and, depending where your night leads, some kind of infection.

8. Avoid George Street

Are you an off-duty banker looking to spend that wad of cash you’ve just embezzled? Do you enjoy waving around overpriced bottles of Grey Goose with sparklers in them? Or have you spent all afternoon sculpting makeup onto your face with a palette knife…only to have it ruined screaming “He’s not worth it!” as your boyfriend wrestles on the floor with a guy with a snapback? Well then, friend, George Street is the perfect place for you!

9. Don’t ask for directions to the castle.

You can see the castle from everywhere in Edinburgh. If you were to lock yourself in a cupboard in a basement with a blindfold on you could still see it. Stop asking directions to places where the response will likely be “You’re standing next to it.”

This article was originally published on November 19, 2014.

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