This weekend we got the opportunity to celebrate a friend’s birthday at the Sheep Heid Inn (pronounced “heed”) in Edinburgh. Established in 1360, it’s Edinburgh’s and Scotland’s oldest surviving public house, which is where the abbreviation of pub comes from. It’s not every day you can boast on your website about having served your customers for more than six hundred years. Located on the southeast side of Arthur’s Seat, it’s nestled within a small village across the street from the Duddingston Kirk.
The pub is really large for Edinburgh standards and includes an outdoor garden with tables and a skittles lane. Not to be confused with my favorite candy, skittles is a bowling variant that uses a smaller and lighter ball without finger holes. The Inn was frequented by Mary Queen of Scots and her son James VI enjoyed playing skittles there so much he gave the innkeeper an embellished ram’s head snuff box. The lanes are decorated with pictures of Edinburgh from throughout its history as well as skittles players and clubs from the 1920s and before.
Not having an automatic return, after your rolls, you walk down, reset the pins yourself, and roll the ball down a middle trough to return. Pistachio nuts and ale are both consumed by the pint, and it’s really a fun experience.
After dinner (ribeye for me and lamb roast for Sara) we walked to the Kirk and took a look at the graveyard and church building, which dates from the 1200s. The last picture is part of a graveston and depicts a ship on a stormy sea.
Great food, unique atmosphere, and skittles all combine to make the Sheip Heid Inn a great place to visit.