After a very long lockdown at home we decided to explore some new parts of the UK. Last month we rented a car and took a daytrip through some parts of Wales and at the beginning of this month we paid a visit to Edinburgh, Scotland.
My Preconceived Ideas vs Reality
I don’t know how you picture Scotland, before visiting it I thought of Kilts, Bagpipes and shortbread cookies (specifically EET-SUM-MOR). It had all of that and so much more! Since living in England I expected something similar to Manchester or London because Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland.
I walked out of the Waverly Train station and I was blown away. Edinburgh is a city, it’s busy, but it has something extra. There are monuments, lush green hills and a beautiful castle on a cliff. Of course, due to lockdown we weren’t able to go to all the places we would have liked to, but we made sure we saw as many places as possible in our short weekend.
We were very blessed with glorious sunshine weather, so the first thing we did after checking into our hotel was hike up Calton Hill. It’s not a difficult walk and it has stunning city views, you can see Arthur’s seat and check out some monuments, historical buildings and a cafe. I think you will be able to go into some of the buildings on Calton hill, but things were closed when we were there, and you had to pre book if you wanted something at the café.
On Saturday we decided to get a bus ticket on the Lothian bus service just so that we could see more places. We first headed out to Old Town Edinburgh where we checked out the Grassmarket and the Royal Mile. There were some pubs, cute cafes and some lovely little shops. At a certain part of the Grassmarket you can get a very nice view of the castle. Old Town has beautiful, historical buildings, with a few shops that make kilts. I saw some artists painting their customers and as you find in most parts of England, buskers! I love the different music you hear strolling through the streets from bagpipes to stunning vocals.
Some Royal Spots
We also walked to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the palace where the queen would stay on her visits to Edinburgh. We didn’t go in, but it looked spectacular from the outside. After that we hopped on the bus and headed to the harbour. Here you can find the queen’s yacht, “The Royal Yacht Britannia” I think you can buy tickets and get on board for some afternoon tea.
We discovered this island in a very unusual way, when booking our trip, we were looking at Airbnb’s. Not knowing Edinburgh, we went on Google Maps to get an idea of the area. Then we saw something different, there was an island, but it had a cemented pathway from the shore leading to it, it’s called Cramond Island. Please note that you can only walk to Cramond Island during low tide (tide available on Google). You can safely walk along a paved walkway, once you reach the island there aren’t clear open paths to walk on, you can find your way by just following in other people’s paths or maybe sticking to the edge of the island. We went to the highest point (top of the hill) and just looked out and had a mini sunset picnic.
On our way back to shore we met this elderly man; he was so friendly and just started talking to us. He told us the most interesting stories about how they set up that side of the land during world war II, he told us that the monument on Calton Hill is also called Edinburgh’s disgrace, showed us photos of how the sun’s position changes during the year, he told us who stays in the castle you can see from the beach and many more interesting stories. He seemed to think that he was talking too much, but I loved it.
The Rest of the Weekend
One thing I’ve always heard about in the UK is the foxes, I saw my first fox in Edinburgh. It was sunset and we saw two of them coming out, probably to find some food.
Sunday came way too quickly. We packed up and bought some street food and just had our lunch in the princes street gardens. You can see some beautiful buildings including the castle and the Scott monument.
I would love to go back and see some more spots, maybe even go into the castles. I hope you’ve enjoyed my Scotland story. Feel free to comment and let me know how you have experienced Edinburgh or what spots you would like to visit.
Keep safe lovely people, until next month xxx