A Weekend in Edinburgh

10:51 AM

I fell in love with Edinburgh the moment I met it, even when I was sleep deprived and jittery on shit coffee. Going to Edinburgh was fate; I had just met someone who happened to be from the city and told me what to do while I was there. How was this fate? I met him three days before I left.

Edinburgh, by bus, is a little over eight hours from London, but by plane it’s an hour and a half, and honestly, it’s probably cheaper. I believe my overnight bus was about a hundred quid round trip, but it included a bed and wifi. We got in early in the morning, around 6 am, and the city is quiet. The only thing open was a Costa Coffee, but we watched the sunrise over the castle and enjoyed cappuccinos.

My friends and I opted for an Air B&B (which was about two miles outside the city) but there are plenty of hostels and hotels inside the city center – the city is pretty small and you can get around by walking or taking the bus.

I only spent three days in Edinburgh but I loved every moment. After we got in, we did the Royal Mile, a street that leads to the Edinburgh Castle. If it’s your first time in the city, do the castle. It has a great view of the city and a good summary of the history. The Royal Mile is cute and has lots of souvenir shops where you can grab pins, postcards, and kilts. Prepare to hide in the shops if it’s raining (and let’s face it, it’s always raining) and pick up a few things!

Explore the old city by wandering down Victoria Street, which is lined with colorful shops. I ate at Hula here, which is known for it’s avocado toast and acai bowls. There are plenty of boutiques on this curved street and it’s great to explore! Honestly, explore all of Old Town because it’s so cute. It’s dark, quaint, and full of character.

Another street, if you want more commercial shops, is Princes Street, which has souvenir shops and things like Primark. This is across the bridge and near Calton Hill.

Calton Hill offers a great view of the city! Edinburgh should be renamed ‘Views’ – there are so many hills with great photo opportunities! On top of the hill are the National Monument, Nelson Monument, Dugald Stewart Monument, the old Royal High School, the Robert Burns Monument, the Political Martyrs' Monument and the City Observatory, I went at sunset and loved it! Bring a bottle of wine and a picnic and enjoy the view.

My other favorite view was Arthur’s Seat. I had dreamed about hiking Arthur’s Seat ever since seeing the movie One Day. It’s in Holyrood Park, a short walk from the castle (ok maybe thirty minutes and it’s near the only Pret in the city). Finding the trail was difficult and it’s behind a residential neighborhood. The hike itself is easy – it’s just a hill. Like Calton Hill, bring some food and wine and enjoy the view! Roll around in the tall grass and do this at sunset. My friend told me he did it drunk at sunrise and that it was the best thing ever – try this too. I can’t wait to get back to the city to do this hike – it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

My second day in Edinburgh I did a Highlands tour. It went to Sterling, a quant town with a castle, a lake (loch), and a whiskey distillery. I’d recommend doing one that went further into the highlands – we didn’t get to see much of them. But it’s still worth it!

I wish I had longer to explore the city. I didn’t get to make it to the Scottish National Gallery or National Portrait Gallery, or the Royal Botanic Garden. The Camera Obscura is supposed to great as well.

There are so many things to do in the city, and lots of coffee shops to check out, like Peter’s Yard, my friend’s favorite. Speaking of food, don’t try haggis – it’s chopped up sheep bits. Get some fish and chips get a Scottish breakfast, and have some afternoon tea while you’re at it. There’s loads of good food in the city and so many cute local places.

I can’t wait to hopefully go back to Edinburgh in the summer. If you’re planning to go anytime soon, pack a raincoat and umbrella, some rain boots, and bundle up because it’s cold! Get a hotel in the city center and get ready to embrace the rain and the views.

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