Edinburgh — A Weekend in Scotland
Edinburgh – the hilly, compact capital of Scotland – is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. Scottish people called it Auld Reekie, Edina, Athens of the North and Britain’s Other Eye.
Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town is UNESCO listed, and its elegant Georgian New Town has great gardens and neoclassical buildings. Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park with sweeping views, and Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials.
1st Day — Exploring the city
The Hotel offer spa & gym: a perfect way to wake up, refresh your body and empty your mind. The facilities are very high quality, with varied equipment, and offer massage packages too.
Afterwards, continued your day with a full Scottish breakfast in a nice traditional café right in front of the Hotel (about £7). A full Scottish breakfast is like a typical English breakfast with the only difference being Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish of mixed meat.
They offer a tours in different languages: English, Spanish, German and others. I highly recommend you get this free tour, especially if is your first time in Edinburgh. You got to know so much information about the city, exploring the main streets like the Royal Mile, see glimpses of the city’s history, castles and hear some crazy, funny stories 🙂
The Tour Guide I was with was called Naomi, she was absolutely amazing! She was funny, smiley and… Scottish from Edinburgh so, whats better than a local guide! If you decide to get the tour, ask for Naomi. You’ll definitely have a fun tour.
They offer some other Tour, below the most relevant:
After the tour I had the chance to meet a local student who’s been living in Edinburgh for 3 years. We spent the rest of the day walking all around the city exploring some beautiful places and hills:
- The Old Town,
- The area of the Dynamic Hearth
- Calton New Cemetery
- The clubbing area, hill of Arthur Seat and
- Calton Hill where we stayed until the sunset, the view there is just amazing!
Although there are other places you must go if you have more time!
– Underground streets of Mary King’s Close
– Have a picnic at Lauriston Castle
– The New Town
– The Palace of Holyrood
– The Secret of the Millennium Clocktower
– A stroll around the Meadows
– Have Scottish afternoon tea at Hotel Balmoral
– If you are in Edinburgh in summer time go see a Free Performance at the Fringe Festival
– Royal Botanic Garden
– Taste some Vintage Scotch Whiskey Blends in old pubs
2nd Day — The Castle
One of Edinburgh’s highlights is its beautiful castle – which has an interesting long history.
Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock on which the castle sits since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), and there has been a royal castle on it since at least the 12th century. The site continued to be a royal residence until 1633, after which its residential role declined. By the 17th century, it was mainly used as military barracks. As one of the country’s most important strongholds, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745. It became recognised as an important part of Scotland’s national heritage from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out on it since then.
Today Edinburgh Castle is run and administered by Historic Scotland, an executive agency of the Scottish Government, although the Army remains responsible for some areas, like the military museums.
The price to visit the castle is about £17 if you buy before, at the door it’s around £20 or more. My advice is to buy in advance so you will just skip the queue once inside.
If you decided to NOT get a guide for the castle (even if SANDESMAN offer a guided tour for £10) get the audio guide at the entrance for £3.50, and just lose yourself in the stories of this massive historical place.
Personally, I think the castle is a must see! It’s a great place to stroll around and take some nice photos. If you don’t think you’ll have another opportunity to visit Edinburgh, I highly recommend to not miss the castle.
Check here tickets price: EdinburghCastle
Duration: about 2,5h/3h long
A nice, cheap place to eat is: Mosque Kitchen for big fresh food.
Spent the rest of the day walking around the city, going to Lauriston Castle and down in the canal at Dean Village where enjoy a nice view.
When finally is time to go… back at the airport buy some Tax-Free Scottish Whiskey.
You can use AirLink bus number 100 to reach the airport: they run 24/7 and have a different colour ( light blue). There are bus stop all around the city, just make sure is the route to the airport.
That’s all for Edinburgh! If you think I am missing some links and suggestions of other places, or experiences and tour, leave a comment below.
Enjoy the Scottish Whiskey on the way back home 🙂