A Fun Edinburgh Adventure with Mini Mack Tours

Saturday, 17 March 2018 Edinburgh, UK


I'm always up for fun collaborations with local Edinburgh businesses, so I was delighted when a message from Rowan from Mini Mack Tours slid into my inbox asking me whether I'd like to join one of their tours. I discovered that Mini Mack Tours is an Edinburgh-based tour company run by two brothers who grew up in Edinburgh and now offer bespoke Mini Cooper car tours of the city. The thought of being driven around Edinburgh in a Mini Cooper got me so excited that I hurriedly accepted! I thought it'd be fun to share an overview of my day with you but I haven't gone into great depth because I don't want to spoil the surprises if you take the tour. If you'd like to find out more information or book a tour click here.

A Fun Edinburgh Adventure with Mini Mack Tours

I met Rowan at Waverly Station (Mini Mack will happily pick you up from anywhere in Edinburgh) and we set off on a fun adventure in Red Rocket - yes they named their two Mini Coopers, so cool right?! Rowan is extremely easy going and friendly so in no time it felt like we were friends, making the whole tour even more enjoyable. Having explored Edinburgh extensively on foot, it was such a pleasure to admire all the scenery from a different angle and Rowan was always happy to stop and let me take photos whenever I wanted to. 

We headed off in the direction of Arthur's Seat and ended up at one of Edinburgh's true hidden gems and somewhere I don't often get the chance to visit, Dr. Neil's (secret) garden. We even met head gardener Claudia! While we were in Duddingston, Rowan showed me one of Scotland's oldest pubs and there was even a little unexpected discovery inside!

 

We hopped back in the car and took a scenic drive around Arthur's Seat. Rowan stopped the car at a brilliant vantage point and we got out to admire Edinburgh's magnificent cityscape (and even enjoyed a wee dram of Kinloch Anderson whisky from a quaich). As we drove, Rowan always had fun wee stories about Edinburgh to tell me. Soon we came to Edinburgh's Old Town and I found it a novelty to get the chance to admire streets like Victoria Street from the comfort of Red Rocket whereas I'm usually squeezing past groups of tourists huddled outside the Harry Potter shop. 



The next stop on our tour was non-other than my favourite place in Edinburgh, Dean Village. We spent the next wee while wandering around the area and I naturally took plenty photos. Next, Rowan drove through some of the most scenic spots New Town has to offer and then we finished our tour down at Leith. Before lunch we popped into Kinloch Anderson, a renowned Scottish clothing and textiles company since 1868. I particularly enjoyed their heritage museum, which showcased their history and the range of tartans they were commissioned to design, including Irn Bru and Edinburgh Zoo's pandas tartan!



As if that amazing tour wasn't enough, I got to cross something off my Edinburgh Bucket List - visiting Roseleaf! Believe me, I was not disappointed. I had their Skip the Beat wrap and it was honestly one of the best meals I've had in a while. 

Overall, I couldn't have hoped for a better day! It was so fun getting to see different parts of Edinburgh and Rowan was such a brilliant tour guide! Read on to find out a little more about Mini Mack Tours and Rowan!

An Interview with Rowan from Mini Mack Tours:


1. What inspired you to start Mini Mack Tours and do you have any advice for aspiring business owners?

My brother Andy used to own and operate a cycling tour company with his business partner Keith in Florence, Italy.  The tours were fantastic!  They ran one day cycling tours in the heart of Chianti where up to 35 tourists would come on tour each day…wine, sun, great food and cycling, what’s not to like?  I actually helped the guys out for a couple of years as a tour guide too.  Once Andy and I were back in Edinburgh, my brother noted that tourism was really booming and we should do something cool and a bit different to showcase our town to the incoming visitors.  We didn’t want to do cycling tours as our weather and roads aren’t the best, so we thought a Mini would be fun….great for getting down a lot of the back roads and it’s a quintessential British vehicle!  We have been running for nearly 3 years now and the time has gone by so quickly!  My advice for any aspiring business owners is believe in what you are doing and stick with it no matter how rough it gets.  My bro and I have gone through a lot of lows in our business careers, but the highs more than make up for it!

2. I love the fun names you gave your Mini Coopers (Red Rocket and Blue Thunder) is there a story behind that?

Not really :)  The guy who does our stickers for the car is a great graphic artist and just in conversation I mentioned the names ‘red rocket’ and ‘blue thunder’ just as a laugh.  The next day he designed two motifs which are now placed on the rear of each car.  I like them, it’s a bit of fun.  Apparently ‘red rocket’ in America means a dog's phallus.  We didn’t know this before hand….so when our US customers come on tour, some of them have a wee snigger :)

3. What is your favourite part about your job?

Many things! The fact that I/we are our own boss, the freedom to go anywhere each day, the places we visit, but the most favourite aspect for me is the people we meet. We have taken people on tour from all continents and all walks of life. Titans of industry, Professors, Finance CEO’s, Firefighters, Singers, Professional Athletes…..you name it, we have had them on tour. It may sound corny, but it’s like taking our friends on a small trip of the city as it’s pretty intimate when you are together in the Mini and 99.9% of our clientele have been super cool.  Some of our customers have brought as gifts and even offered to let us stay at their house if we are ever in their area (we haven’t done that yet….maybe we should they might get a shock:). On some tours we have taken our guests to our parents house (if they have a keen interest in residential architecture) as it’s a typical Georgian townhouse which has beautiful interior architecture….it’s all about giving our visitors a great local experience so that they have a nice lasting memory of visiting Edinburgh.

4. If you had to choose your favourite spot in Edinburgh, where would you choose and why? 

It has to be Dr. Neils Garden in Duddingston Village.  It’s also known as the Secret Garden as it’s tucked away behind Duddingston Kirk, right beside a beautiful loch where the locals used to ice skate on 200 years ago. Arthurs Seat over looks the garden and in the distance you can see the tops of the Pentland Hills.  There is a spot in the garden where during the summer (if there is a bit of sun), it’s a stunning spot…..always quiet and you could be anywhere in Scotland because you certainly wouldn’t think you are in the city centre of Edinburgh.

5. If you had a whole day off, how would you spend it?

As we are touring Edinburgh all the time…..I would be happy getting some nice food, going to the cinema and maybe have a couple of drinks.  My partner and I are expecting a wee girl in May so having a whole day off in the short term will be limited, so I’ll make the most of it while I can :)

 

Lastly, I just want to say a massive thanks to Rowan and Mini Mack Tours for such a fun Edinburgh adventure and for collaborating with me for this blog post!

Bye for now x

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