In my previous job I used to work regardless if it was weekend or bank holiday and now every time a have a spare moment, I prefer to do something new or visit a place I’ve never been before. We knew a bank holiday is coming so we decided to go to Edinburgh, which was a first for me but not Cristi who visited several times before.
Edinburgh impressed me since the moment I’ve got off the train with its old massive buildings around the train station. The Old Town center has a special flair to it. Another thing that amazed me was the roads that were on top of each other, and buildings that have entries to both. You enter on the ground floor and exit on the fifth. This might not be the something extraordinary, but it is the first time I saw it and it was pretty impressive.
One thing that you cannot miss is the Edinburgh Castle. Whether or not you decide to enter is your choice, but there are plenty photo opportunities from the outside as well. If you plan on visiting more historical places across Scotland, check out the Explorer Pass for several days or for a longer period you might consider the Historic Scotland Membership.
The Royal Mile
Have a walk along the Royal Mile, the main street in Edinburgh, which stretches from the Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Along this you can find the Camera Obscura, St Giles Cathedral, Real Mary King’s Close and the Scottish Parliament. Besides these attractions, the Royal Mile is also full of souvenir shops left and right, from small trinkets to wool mills and whisky (spelt without an ‘e’ – whiskey is Irish or American).
The National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland is also worth a visit if you have time to spare, containing collections about natural history, scientific and industrial technology, archaeology and decorative arts of multiple countries.
Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat
Past the Palace of Holyroodhouse you can find Holyrood Park, with it’s highest point being Arthur’s Seat. If you plan on tackling Arthur’s Seat, allow several hours. It might not be a regular walk in the park (pun intended), but the view from the top is definitely worth it. While there, you can check out the St. Anthony’s Chapel Ruins as well.
And since you probably built up an appetite by now, make sure to try haggis, their national dish, made out of lungs, heart and liver of a sheep, mixed with onion and oatmeal, stuffed into a sheep’s stomach bag. It doesn’t sound great, I know, but it is delicious.
For dinner, stop by at the Outsider on George IV bridge. It is usually packed on weekends so make sure to reserve a table. If possible ask to be by the window – since the windows are towards the castle – especially appealing when dark and the castle is lit up.
Our accommodation was north-east of the center. The last morning we had breakfast at Serrano & Manchego, a Spanish restaurant upon which we stumbled while walking around the neighborhood. Now this might not be the typical Scottish pub/restaurant, but the food is great, so if you are in the area, make sure to give this one a try – you will not be disappointed.
- Don’t miss Edinburgh Castle – even if you decide not to venture inside
- Walk on the Royal Mile which has everything – attractions, restaurants, pubs, souvenir shops
- Take a bottle of water with you while you hike to Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat
- Eat haggis, the Scottish national dish
- Bring an umbrella with you
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