I spent a day as a tourist in King’s Buildings

I learnt so many things

If you’re reading this as a student at the University of Edinburgh, there’s a high probability that you study humanities or social science. There’s a 59% chance that you spend your days wandering George Square, blissfully unaware of the 9,018 other students among us who prefer equations to words and who have to get up at least half an hour earlier than everyone else to trek over to their own exclusive campus: the infamous King’s Buildings.

And so, on one beautiful day in February, I set out on an adventure and discover for myself what this mysterious part of the uni was really like.

The people

One thing that struck me on my visit was that the population of this lesser-known locale seemed to be of a quite drastically different breed to your average History of Art student from the Home Counties. Nobody I encountered had the Sloane-Ranger drawl that I hear so often around George Square, and everyone was somehow dressed in weather-appropriate, sensible clothing – but with nary a Canada Goose in sight. People just looked normal, like they had important things to do with their days that frivolous clothing would only interfere with.

Getting around

Ok, so it is quite far away. Probably further than you think. But hey, on the particular Friday that I visited, the sun was out and I had strapped on my practical tourist shoes, meaning I could use the one hour round trip as an excuse to not do any more exercise for the next few weeks. Or, you could choose to just make use of the free shuttle bus.

use of these helpful maps also highly recommended

The food

Sadly, I didn’t have the chance to sample all the delicacies that King’s Buildings have to offer – and I’m told there are many. I was distraught at not being able to make the most of my trip by sampling the famous £2 self-service wraps, though I did catch a glimpse of the enormous tub of falafel sitting enticingly on the countertop. It’s not a myth kids, but you might have to battle through the midday crowds to get a bite of that chickpea goodness.

classic tourist holding up the queue for a photo

Anyway, as if the self-service falafel wasn’t amazing enough, my tour guide brought me to the brand spanking new jewel in the KB crown – Brücks Street Kitchen, a cafe that looked straight out of Brooklyn. There’s exposed brick walls, corrugated steel behind the bar and artful overhead lighting. They also serve food including chia seeds, if that’s your kind of thing. Teviot, up your game.

I should be earning commission for this

Having recollected myself at the fact that a cafe like this actually exists WITHIN MY UNI and posed for an embarrassing photo (I’m a tourist, it’s a must), I selected my chicken gyros meal. Reasonably priced, reasonably tasty, served in a reasonably sturdy cardboard box, I was quite impressed. I suppose scientists need some kind of joy like this in their day if the rest of it is spent crouched over a microscope?

The attractions

After lunch, I took myself on a self-guided tour around KB House, arguably not a beacon of modern architectural mastery but apparently where some of the most exciting attractions on the science campus lie.

After having heard rumours about the £3 full-year gym membership, I was eager to catch a glimpse of this miracle myself. I did this by creeping through the changing room and toilets fully clothed in my outerwear, and then peering, in a slightly suspicious and voyeuristic manner, through the small, steamed up gym window.

Small being the operative word, as the ‘gym’ was no more than a tiny room filled with a few pieces of equipment. Despite being probably more disappointed than when I set eyes on the Mona Lisa in its true diminutive proportions, I still decided to take a selfie before I left. As a true tourist knows – pics or it didn’t happen.

but first…

Side note: there were however, as you can see by the sign, also both squash and badminton courts, a nice touch if you are an owner of hand-eye coordination and are a fan of aggressive racket sports. I am not.

Whilst being a tourist is all about exploration, at the end of my trip I was left thinking maybe – just maybe – I should stick to my own turf?

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