Hopefully this post is a case of better late than never.
Back at the end of March, over the Easter weekend, my friend and I took a trip up to Edinburgh. I’ve been to a fair few places on my travels so far but before heading up to Scotland for the weekend I’d never been to another country that makes up the United Kingdom, and my knowledge of Scotland was minimum at best. For me it was whisky and shortbread and the Loch Ness.
But there is so much more to Scotland, and so much more to Edinburgh; it’s an amazing city, so full of culture and history.
Our first stop was Edinburgh Castle, which felt like the centre of Edinburgh’s old town. There’s so much history within its walls and honestly just walking around for an hour you can learn so much about the past of both the castle and Edinburgh itself. Then from the Castle you can walk down the Royal Mile which takes you all through the Old Town of the city; a mixture of shops, restaurants, pubs it will take you past Tron Kirk and through Parliament Square as well as other tourist attractions. If you have the time just wander through the streets and side streets and see what wonders you can find.
If you’re feeling up to a hike, and even if you’re not, then definitely make the climb up to Arthur’s Seat. It’s a tough journey but when you get to the top the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel will be more than worth it, and it offers some spectacular views of Edinburgh as well.
It took my friend and I quite a while to get to the top, I needed to stop a couple of times for a break and we wandered off the path to explore other sights a couple of times, but the view when we got to the top was more than worth it. And when heading back down again, and seeing the people just starting off the journey was kind of fun as well, knowing how long they had to go before reaching the top (I’m a cruel person at times).
Now in my opinion going to Scotland and not seeing the highlands is not acceptable. We booked a day trip which took us to some of the best sight’s within Scotland’s beautiful highlands. We saw Glen Coe and Ben Nevis, saw the Loch Ness and took a boat ride around part of the famous Loch (sadly we didn’t catch a glimpse on the monster itself). There is so much more to the highlands than what we saw but we got a great taste as to what else Scotland has to offer.
Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)
- Take good walking shoes…There is a lot of walking if you want to experience the best of the best of Edinburgh and plenty of hills as well which brings me onto my second point…
- Take breaks…Don’t push yourself too much at the beginning of the day because by the time it gets to the late afternoon, no matter how comfy your shoes are, your feet will be killing you.
- Book ahead…If you want to skip the queues at Edinburgh Castle, if you want to go on a highland tour, and if you want to see many of the other attractions Edinburgh has to offer see if you can pre-book tickets. It will skip you past the queues and ensure you actually get what you want.
Like with every holiday I’ve been on take a day or an afternoon to just wander around the city. Some of the best experiences I’ve had while travelling have come from when me and my friend, or me and my sister have had nothing else to do and just wandered around the city. We saw what we could find and ended up doing something we wouldn’t have planned on a whim. Planning is good don’t get me wrong but there’s a lot to be said for some spontaneity as well.