At the beginning of the year I set myself a personal challenge and that was to be out of the country at least once a month. I was originally going to say out of the UK, but I knew that I wanted to head to Edinburgh so country had to do. Morocco was my January trip and for February I decided to book up a weekend in Edinburgh.
I quite liked the idea of going solo so I booked a train from London which only took 5 hours, booked a private room in a hostel about 25 mins from the castle and planned what to do over my weekend. I might have only been in the city for 2 days but those two days were amazing and I feel like I got a really good glimpse at the city (enough to know that I definitely want to go back again!)
Arriving at my hostel around 12.45 am in the early hours of Saturday morning did not make my 6 am alarm a nice experience, but I was determined to make the most out of my weekend, especially due to it being out of season a lot of attractions not being open very late.
Saturday morning started with a half hour walk from my hostel to the bottom of Arthur’s Seat followed by an interesting climb. It might have been cold, windy and a tough route but the views from the top of the dormant volcano over the city were well worth losing sleep over. Next stop was the Castle which was at one end of the Royal Mile. I initially had a wonder around on my own then joined a little tour and the guide showed us around all of the outside of the castle and giving us loads of information, definitely something I’d recommend.
Sadly the Crown Jewels were closed for maintenance work but I did see a lot of other interesting things including the old prison, the great hall, a chapel memorial for the Scottish people who died during the war, and the best bit was the day marked a special anniversary so there was a 21 gun salute in the castle accompanied by a marching band and the opportunity to see the canons go off.
Next off I actually went to get a tattoo done as an artist I had been following happened to be based in the city and had space to squeeze me in. After that I walked the whole Royal Mile and looked in the Museum of Childhood which much like it’s London counterpart is full of old toys, games and books from throughout the ages. Next up was the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions which was back up by the castle. The whole place is full of optical illusions and awesome light displays, a bit like parts of Ripley’s World and was definitely a highlight, plus the view of the city from the sixth floor was lovely.
Day one ended here after a nice dinner and a walk back to my hostel for an early night. I really wanted to do a walking ghost tour but I was knackered, my legs ached a lot (I did over 30,000 steps that day!) and I had quite a lot of shopping with me so I went back to watch TV in bed: rock and roll!
Sunday started off a little later with a trip to the Gin Distillery because this is exactly what you should do at 10 am on a Sunday morning. For just a tenner we got a really interesting talk all about the history of gin and how it’s made including a smell and look at all the things which make up gin. We were then shown the distillery where all of the Edinburgh Gin is made and it concluded with a lovely Gin and Tonic and a trip to the gift shop. I wanted to bring back more than I did but I knew I had to carry it around all day so I bought some for my dad (and i’ll have to just nick some of his!)
As today was pretty cold, wet and windy naturally a walk down the entire Royal Mile to the other end where Holyrood Palace was seemed like the best idea. The audio guide around the Palace and Gardens was really interesting and it was nice to see somewhere which is still used today! I took refuge in the cafe and had lunch here in the hope that the rain would stop (it didn’t!)
After the Palace my trip was pretty much concluded because I had to go and pick up supplies for the journey home and get my train but the whole weekend was absolutely amazing and definitely something I need to do again in the summer as I still need to do the Royal Britannia Yacht (their afternoon tea looks scrummy!), The Zoo, The Castle again to see the Crown Jewels, A Walking Ghost Tour and some of the Whisky Experiences because despite not liking whisky I think it will be interesting.