The moment I saw this fairy tale town, I fell in love with it! Edinburgh is where the past and the present coincide. Each part of the city has a different character. Walking through it feels like flipping through the pages of a crazy book. There is so much to do and see here, that it might get overwhelming. This blog will help you create the perfect Edinburgh itinerary.
Walking through the pebbled streets of old town on Royal mile, maneuvering the narrow alleyways of old town and exploring two historical castles, is bound to take you back in time. While on the other hand, you will be amazed to see the parliament, representing the new era architecture, and modern Georgian mansions of the new town. Edinburgh also offers great party scenes, pub crawls, whiskey tastings and ghostly tours to give you a holistic experience. This beautiful and colorful capital has something to offer for every taste bud.
Edinburgh is well connected to the rest of the world via both air and train network. While flying is the fastest way to reach, high speed trains will get you to the Scottish Capital from London in 4 and a half hours. You can also choose to drive to Edinburg from London to enjoy the beautiful British countryside and visit some of the amazing castles on your way.
THINGS TO DO & SEE
Edinburgh castle has a rustic charm and gives a fairy tale feel. The entry fee is 17 Euro but getting an explorer Pass is a huge saving and included with the ticket is FREE 30 min tour. This is a great way to know the history behind this proud mysterious castle. The stories behind hiding and reclaiming Scottish Crown Jewels, the room where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI and the Scottish war memorial will keep you awestruck. One of the main attraction is the Stone of Scone, which was originally at Scone Abbey and was the stone on which both Scottish and English kings were crowned for over 1,000 years. The tea room at the castle is also worth a visit as the tea selection is lovely and the cakes are delicious.
Stroll on Royal Mile
If fantasizing about time travelling and reliving the history is your thing, then this street is a must stop. It’s a mile long pebbled street stretched from Edinburgh castle to Palace of Holyroodhouse. And in between are all the medieval era buildings and colorful shops. One thing to look forward to is the abundance of street artists putting out variety of shows. My personal favorites were the bagpiper and statue artist with wings!
When the sun’s out, there is nothing more romantic or blissful than hiking the Arthur’s seat. Hike to this dormant volcano offers spectacular view of the city. There is a larger meadow right before the final ascent which is a perfect spot for picnic or kite flying. My husband surprised me with a beautiful picnic basket and cake to celebrate my birthday and I couldn’t be more elated. The day turned out to be perfectly sunny but the top part of the hike, which is mainly rock scramble, can be very slippery when raining. After the hike I was treated to a scrumptious meal in an all vegan David Bann Restaurant, which is very close to the park exit.
Shopping Frenzy on Princess street
Princess street is one of the popular destination for shopping and from this very street you get the spectacular view of the Edinburgh Castle in all its glory! The royal garden, parallel to the princess street, is great for a stroll or a summer picnic whilst surrounded by beautiful flowers and a great castle view in backdrop.
Magical Victoria Street
For all the magical folks out there, J. K Rowling wrote Harry potter right here in Edinburgh. Victoria Street is the real inspiration behind the famous Diagon Alley. Go wander in real life Diagon alley and get mesmerized by all the popping colors and traditional Scottish souvenirs shops. While you are here, don’t forget to try some traditional Scottish cuisine at Howies. The setting is romantic, the service is excellent and the food is delicious.
St. Giles’ Cathedral
This Gothic style cathedral stands in the middle of royal mile and can be seen from far with its mesmerizing crown shaped spire. The stained glasses and architecture are enticing . Its peaceful premise serves as a quiet retrieve away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city!
Since we are die-hard fans of Harry potter series, we had to take a day trip to this magical castle. The castle is at a 1.5 hours drive from Edinburg and that’s what we did. You can also book day tours of Alnwick from Edinburgh online. The castle was featured in harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone (Remember where Madam Hooch held the first flying lesson). The Robin Hood movie and lots of TV shows including Downtown Abbey were also shot here. They even host broomstick training (not Kidding!).
This massive beautiful castle was built in 1096 and the royal family still lives in some parts of the castle. There is beautiful garden at the back of the castle overlooking the lush green lands and it is perfect for a romantic picnic.
Holistic Whiskey Experience
Before heading on the distillery trail if you want to know your scotch and what comes from where, a visit to Scotch Whisky Experience is a must. A guided tour will take you through the scotch making process, the flavor profile and nosing techniques and give you details on which Scotland region produces what kind of Scotch.
- Walking is the best way to explore Edinburgh but you can also get a weekly pass from buses and trams.
- Don’t shy away from exploring local markets such as Grassmarket for food options. Their fresh cakes, cheeses and pies are to die for!
- Bar hopping pass is the best and cheap way to explore the pubs in the old town before diving in.
- All the castles listed above are included in the “explorer Pass” for 7 days which cost around 42 £ (link). Since we also visited Uqhart castle, Sterling castle and Elan donan castle, it was well worth the money. Apart from that, if you have the pass then you get to skip the huge ticket queues at each castle.