This post is a little late, actually around a month late but better late than never right! For the August bank holiday my friend Jess and I met in Edinburgh for four days of relaxation, a little exploration and a lot of eating! Somewhat stupidly we didn’t realise it was Edinburgh Fringe Festival during this trip so the city was incredibly busy. However we managed to see and do a lot, avoiding the crowds whenever possible and still had an amazing time. What we saw of the festival was great and the general atmosphere in Edinburgh was amazing! There is so much to do in and around this city that rather than talk about it all, I though it best to roundup my favourite parts for you guys.
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1. Edinburgh Old Town Free Walking Tour
I don’t think there is a better way to learn about and see the best bits of a new city than a free walking tour, Edinburgh included. We joined the City Explores Free Tour and had a guy called Kenny as our guide. He was great, so funny and really knew his stuff. I learnt about Edinburgh’s history, Scotland’s history, J.K Rowling writing Harry Potter, Victoria Street which you can see in the picture above and loads more. It took about 2 hours and was easily my favourite part of the weekend. Definitely recommend doing.
While you’re in the old town there are a few other bits worth seeing too. The National Museum of Scotland was really interesting, specifically the Scottish exhibits. I actually joined a tour for this too, must have been feeling super touristy! If you’re a Harry Potter fan, the Elephant House is an obvious must. This is where J.K Rowling wrote The Philosopher’s Stone. The cakes are great, service not as great I have to say but they were busy. You have to queue for a table but it’s worth it for the novelty. The castle is pretty too though I didn’t actually go in. However, everyone who I met that did go in said it was worth the money.
2. Carlton Hill
If you’re short on time, Carlton hill is the best walk for an amazing view of Edinburgh, the sea and of Arthur’s Seat. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the top from the city centre. The picture above is of Arthur’s seat, part of an extinct volcano and potentially named after the legend of King Arthur. There are information points on Carlton hill that give the backstory to everything you can see from the top.
3. Edinburgh New Town
Edinburgh New Town is Georgian so not actually that new. If you do the walking tour Kenny will fill you in on it’s history. But basically, it is worth exploring too. You’ll see Scott Monument, pictured above, along with lots of big open spaces, squares and beautiful architecture. This is also the main shopping area of the city. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, the food in Vesta Restaurant and Bar was really great. It is a bit on the pricier side but the vegan pulled jackfruit tacos I had were definitley worth it. If you’re feeling fancy then The Dome is a really beautiful place to have a drink. I have to also mention that the Wagamamas in the New Town is the nicest one I have ever been to so if you’re feeling less fancy then that is always an option!
4. Loch Lomond and Doune Castle Day Trip
We decided to do a day trip to have the chance to explore the area surrounding Edinburgh. There are lots of different ones to choose from including Loch Ness, Inverness, Ben Nevis, the Highlands, Glasgow etc. But we went for one that went to Loch Lomond, The Trossachs and Doune Castle. The weather was hideous which is a shame but I still enjoyed the trip. We didn’t stop to see much of The Trossachs at all but the Loch Lomond cruise was fun as was wandering around Doune Castle. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or Outlander then you may recognise it! We stopped in a little village and had lunch in a very Scottish pub and overall the day was really nice.
Have any of you ever been to Edinburgh, if so where would you recomend going? Do you think I missed out on any important bits? Let me know!