This time last year we were jumping on a plane to Edinburgh (as a surprise for Pete’s birthday). Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities. From my early visits as a child, I have always loved the charm and character of the city and couldn’t wait to introduce it to Pete.
Landing at Edinburgh airport, it’s easy to get into the city centre as there is a direct tram taking your straight to Princes Street – one of the main streets in the city. The public transport in Edinburgh is really great and I’d definitely recommend both their bus and tram systems.
We stayed in Haymarket, which is a 15 minute walk from the city and isn’t too far away from all the restaurants, bars and things to do. Our first day in Edinburgh was spent simply wandering and exploring. We browsed the shops on Princes Street and the surrounding streets, lined with high street favourites as well as enticing independents and perfect spots to grab a bite to eat.
When visiting Edinburgh, The Royal Mile is not to be missed. At the bottom of the Royal Mile is the Scottish parliament building which is free to have a look around to get a behind the scenes taste of Scottish politics. The architecture of the building is really interesting so it’s definitely worth popping in. The parliament building is next to the Dynamic Earth science centre, so if science and museums are your thing, then it’s worth a visit.
The Royal Mile, as it’s name suggests is a mile long straight road through the heart of Edinburgh which leads to Edinburgh castle, which is perched on top of an old, extinct (you’ll be pleased to know), volcano. Along the Royal Mile are a series of shops where you can pick up tartan, try out a dram of whiskey or pick up some Scottish shortbread. Each time I visit Edinburgh I pay a visit to the fudge shop on the Royal Mile where you can watch a fresh batch of fudge being produced on the marble table – they even let you have a taster!
At the top of the hill is Edinburgh Castle which has beautiful views looking out across Scotland. The historic castle is beautiful and full of interesting features which you could easily spend a day admiring and exploring. Don’t forget to venture off the Royal Mile onto one of the winding cobbled streets. Grassmarket is definitely worth a visit with great views looking up at the castle as seen in the featured image at the top of this post.
Other sites to see and things to do in Edinburgh include the National Museum of Scotland & National Scottish (Art) Gallery, both of which are free entry unless you would like to see a special exhibition. The museum is home to a range of interesting displays where you can learn all Natural Science, World Cultures and Scottish History and Archaeology. When we visited there was also a special exhibition on the history of video games through time with hands-on, interactive displays where you had the opportunity to play.
Eating and drinking. While we were in Edinburgh we ate at Zizzi’s, Jamie’s Italian and Prezzo, but there are plenty of independent places you can try. You might even be brave enough to go for the traditional haggis. If you’re looking for somewhere to stop for a coffee and a cake then I’d definitely check out Lovecrumbs near Grassmarket. Check out my blog post all about it here.
If cocktails are your thing, Edinburgh has plenty of great places to stop for a drink (or two). Our two favourite drink spots in Edinburgh from our last visit were: Sygn Cocktail and Dining; which has a range of cocktail concoctions, starting from as little as £5, and Element bar which is a beautiful spot in the heart of the city.
If you are thinking of visiting Edinburgh, it’s a great city to visit at any time of year, just make sure you wrap up warm in the winter months. If music is your thing then pay a visit during the Fringe festival or for the Edinburgh Tattoo. You can get a sense of the real Scotland with some traditional bagpipes, loads of great street performers and gigs in the local pubs and bars.
What are your favourite spots in Edinburgh? Leave a comment below!