Edinburgh – Scotland’s compact, hilly capital! Boasting medieval Old Town and Georgian-era New Town, there’s plenty to explore on foot. Be it Edinburgh’s looming Castle, overlooking the city or adventures underground, here are 5 things I loved about Edinburgh in Scotland…
Covid-tainted life and recent whisperings of 2022 potentially bringing more lockdowns (nOt AnOtHeR oNe) has me craving the feeling you get when exploring somewhere. My last ‘outside of England’ trip was to Edinburgh in Scotland and I actually haven’t shared these photos anywhere before…
It was a really special city break; so close to Christmas and exploring somewhere which felt truly magical at this time of year. I thought it’d be a nice idea to share a sort of photo journal blog post alongside 5 things I loved about Edinburgh:
- The architectural colour palette, because, of course there HAD to be some sort of design-related answer to this blog post’s topic. It probably helped that we visited over a particularly drizzly weekend and everywhere was looking thoroughly earthy pre-Hogmanay (the Scots word for the last day of the old year). Arches, stone, and spires. Edinburgh is worldly-recognised for its beautiful architecture and you don’t have to look too far to see why… Medieval characteristics are everywhere in the Old Town and the New Town is bursting with Georgian-era design. Think cobbled wynds and tenements! On a stroll down the Royal Mile and winding through the narrow Old Town alleys, you’ll see a mix of architectural styles, and, it’s clear to see why a certain wizarding-world author was so inspired by the cobbled alleys and passageways when writing Harry Potter.
- No permitted photos of this, I’m afraid, but the underground goings-on in Edinburgh are well-worth a tour. We opted for the Real Mary King’s Close tour down the Royal Mile – I made sure we avoided the London Dungeons-esque offerings elsewhere… Noooo thank you! This was SUCH an interesting tour and I absolutely loved the hidden history and the streets we’d been wandering around just moments before. Sharing the tales of Edinburgh’s only preserved 17th-century street, the Real Mary King’s Close team take you on a guided tour through a labyrinth of Old Town alleyways, in character with all sorts of stories to hear – people who lived, worked, and died here and all about the plague doctor…
- Scottish heritage. If you know anyone who’s been to Edinburgh before, chances are you’ve seen a holiday snap, posed outside of the castle. It’s a very impressive historic fortress, built atop an impressive 700 MILLION-year-old volcano (extinct, obvs) called Castle Rock – not to be confused with GoT’s Casterly Rock. The castle boasts loads of rooms to explore and plenty to learn about Edinburgh’s history, including the crucial War of Scottish Independence.
- OF COURSE, the Christmas markets are one of the 5 Things to love about Edinburgh during a certain time of year! I’m a sucker for perusing the stalls and picking up a cup of mulled cider whilst feeling thoroughly festive. It’s fair to say the Edinburgh markets were a big hit and lots of unique, high-quality Christmas presents were sourced here from small-business vendors for each of our recipients. There were a LOT of stalls when we visited and I’d class it as a great place to go especially for the Christmas markets, if my other reasons in this post aren’t enough to clinch it for you.
- The people. It’s always lovely to find people who are full of love for where they live. People from Edinburgh (and Scotland as a whole actually!) always seem to be really proud of where they’re from – in fact, they always seem to know it like the back of their hand which is very impressive considering all the windy little avenues and back-alleys. Maybe I’m just struck by this because not many people down south seem that enamoured by their hometowns! In particular, the team behind the underground tour were all super passionate about Edinburgh and it really added to the experience.
Quite the whistlestop tour of Edinburgh, these are just 5 things I personally loved. When I return, I’ve already got some more things in mind that I’ve been wanting to see;
- Ever a fan of a bracing walk, I’d would absolutely love to view the city from Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park
- Wander around the Camera Obscura World of Illusions (no less than 4 people told me this is a MUST in Edinburgh!)
- Explore all the wonderful little shops lining Victoria Street!
- And check out some of the finest places to try Scotch Whisky whilst attending Fringe festival – BIG comedy fan over here!
I said this was my last trip ‘outside of England’. Keen Graceful Blog readers (I see you!) will know I’m a devoted Cornwall fan. You can read about some of my trips on the blog, like some cool things to do in Porthtowan, dinner INSIDE the Eden Project, even a post on how I’d spend my perfect day… Happy reading!
Where to next? Have you been on a city break or perhaps ventured somewhere more recently than my pre-pandemic trip? I’d love to know where you recommend.