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What To Do In Edinburgh, The Scottish Capital

Who goes out of the house and say: I’m going to Edinburgh? Me! I do think kind of thing, after all…why not, right? To be honest, the decision to go to Scotland was totally random, i didn’t know anybody who had gone there before, and everything I knew about Scotland was what I have learnt in super educational movies, like Baby the pig and documentaries about the Loch Ness monster.

What happened was that I got a super cheap flight to London, but i have been there before and I was not up to spend another full week there again, so we (mom and I) started to look after places to go. Ireland sounded too much well-traveled, so we decided to make an expedition to Scotland instead.

We arrived without knowing what to expect, the plan was to visit one big city and the Highlands. The two biggest cities in Scotland are Edinburgh, the capital of the country as well as the historical and cultural capital and Glasgow, the economic capital. Of course that if you have time it’s worth to visit both, but if not, Edinburgh is better.

 

What to do in Edinburgh

What to do

 

Although it’s a capital, Edinburgh is not as big city as Paris and London for example, the historic side of the city is away from the new part of the city and the touristic points are basically all divided in two avenues, the Royal Mile and Prince’s Street. The first one links the oldest touristic points, goes from the Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood and the Arthur’s Seat. The second is a shopping avenue, full of stores like H&M, Forever21and the dear of the foreigners without money: Primark.

Edinburgh has 4 high spots where you can have a more perifpheral view of the city. One of them is the Edinburgh Castle terrace, in the end of the Royal Mile, other spot is the Calton Hill where you can find some of the famous monuments, including Nelson Monument, a small tower tha yo can climb to have a 360º view of Edinburgh, the price for climbing the tower is £5. Close to the Calton Hill, you find the Arthur’s Seat, the highest hill of the city, or if you prefer something more central, you can try climbing the Scott Monument in the Prince’s Street close to te central station, the price to climb its 287 step is £4.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

I won’t lie, it’s not a city you have the necessity to spend more than 3 days in it. But it is a beautiful city. The good thing is that Edinburgh seems to be out of tourist’s route still, so it is not so crowded, full of people everywhere in the best “Oxford Street on Black Fridays” style like many capitals. Besides, it is so easy to move around in the city that in the second day you already feel like home. I’m an annoying kind of person, it takes me around 3 days to get used to city, until there i get distrustful about everything.

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The architecture of the city is also very interesting, great part of the buildings are made of grayish stones, many has towers like castles. Through the streets you can find small alleys very dark giving way to other streets, worth an investigative movie. Then you stop and think about all the stories that could have come out of each of those dark alleys.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Through the Royal Mile you can find lots of shops selling souvenirs, men’s skirts (kilt) are everywhere, and if you are into this kind of stuff, they come in many different colors, to fulfill any taste. Following the scotch tradition, every man earns a kilt when he reaches the age of 18. The color of the kilt varies accordingly to the family.

For those who like Whisky, ou are after a good presente for their papa, as it was my case, you feel kind of lost in with all those options! And you are thinking about buying one, my tip is, please get one that you won’t find back home. I mean, what’s the point in making all your way to Scotland just to buy something you would find right in the corner.

 

What to eat

 

In Scotland you can’t miss the unique opportunity of trying the typical dish, called Haggis, it’s basically sheep’s stomach stuffed with sheep’s pluck (what an opportunity!), the idea sounds nasty in the beginning, but you know what? It’s not that bad! I bought Edinburghmine in a fair in Prince’s Street Garden. It’s a heavy dish very spicy, good for the winter.

Now, in case you are going to Edinburgh interests in the liquids, nothing stops you of taking the The Scotch Whisky Experience. Tours varies from £15 to £36, there you learn about the science behind the Whisky, get to know some behavior and curiosities related to the drink and in the end you will be presented with some Whiskies from different parts of Scotland for tasting.

 

How to get there

 

Edinburgh has its own international airport, it’s possible to get there directly. In case you are in Europe already, you can try one of the low cost companies operating in the area, like Ryanair.  Going from London, the flight leaves the Stansted airport in London and takes around one hour and a half until Edinburgh

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There is also the possibility of going by train. In London, all trains with destination Edinburgh, leave from the King’s Cross station or Euston station. There are two companies operating in this route, Virgin Trains East Coast (the one i picked) and Cross Country. It takes around 4 hours and 20 minutes to get to Edinburgh

In Edinburgh, all trains arrive at the Waverley Staton that is the central station of the city. Some trains, those whose destination is the city of Aberdeen, in the north od Scotland, also make a stop at the Haymarket Station, but it is always good to chck, in doubt the best to do is to get out in the Waverley Station, as the distance between these two station is something around 15 minutes by walk.

If you live in Europe or has a European credit card, you can buy your tickets directly from the official site of these companies, but if it is not your case, you will only be able to buy the tickets from “outsourced” sites, I bought mine on Rail Europe, the price of the ticket is a little bit higher then on the oficial one, but nothing exorbitant.

The trave lis a little bit tiring but it worths it. In the way between New Castle and Edinburgh you can have a glimpse of the North Sea.

Edinburgh

After buying your tickets you can print them directly from machines you find in the stations, normally your tiket wil be available 2 hours after the purchase, you will receive a serial number by email and that’s the number you will use on the machines. If you have some difficulties or distrust technology (like me, and yeah Im a 90’s kid) you can take the line where you normally buy tickets and ask the person working there to print your ticket. I printed mine in the St Pancras Station (in the back side of the station there is a cliche) besides the King’s Cross Station.

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Ricardo Rocha
    23 de fevereiro de 2017 at 18:09

    Great post and quite well summarised what Edinburgh is like! Well done in trying the haggis, I’ve lived in Scotland for 10 years and haven’t quite had the stomach to do it…

    • Reply
      Isadora
      23 de fevereiro de 2017 at 22:47

      Thank you so much Ricardo! 🙂 hahaha I feel you! I must admit it is not the best thing I ever tried!

  • Reply
    Jithin
    9 de março de 2017 at 13:58

    Amazing post. The pictures are really good. A lot of information from a single post, that is a great thing.

    • Reply
      Isadora
      9 de março de 2017 at 14:43

      thank you!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Flo
    18 de março de 2017 at 11:59

    Well done on trying the haggis! Eeeeeep! I have a few friends who studied in Edinburgh (a decade ago!) but loved the city – I’ve heard from many people that they love the slightly slower pace of life there. Looks like it is full of stunning architecture too!

  • Reply
    Emilia
    18 de março de 2017 at 13:27

    I love Edinburgh as well, I’ve been there once! I didn’t try haggis, though – you were brave :D. I t’s also nice that Highland tours are easily accessible from Edinburgh.

  • Reply
    Janine
    20 de março de 2017 at 00:11

    I love Edinburgh 🙂 When I was there I really took advantage of my time and saw the Royal Yacht Brittania, Holyrood House, and my favourite – Greyfriar’s bobby! I also had amazing haggis 🙂 Great post!

  • Reply
    Michelle Bell
    29 de março de 2017 at 13:31

    Cool! I don’t think I could try haggis. I know of a band called Haggis Rampant, however, and now it all makes sense. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Riley
    29 de março de 2017 at 13:44

    I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland. This is a great guide. I’ll have to keep it handy if I ever decide to go someday 🙂

  • Reply
    Jodi-Ann
    29 de março de 2017 at 13:49

    Edinburgh looks beautiful and haggis looks interesting lol. I hope one day i get the chance to visit. Great post, i really love the pictures!

  • Reply
    Natasha
    29 de março de 2017 at 17:05

    Haggis definitely is on my list! Ever since hearing about it, I’ve wanted to try it. Is it ALL spicy, or just the place that you purchased it? Europe is so beautiful in every country. I can’t wait until I cross them all off my list!

    • Reply
      Isadora
      29 de março de 2017 at 17:57

      hahahaha you definitely should try it!! I have asked some of my friend who ate it elsewhere and they said theirs were also spicy, I believe that they do it like so because as it is a cold region so spicy foods makes us feel warm, idk if it even make sense though hahahah

  • Reply
    Barbara
    30 de março de 2017 at 05:48

    Edinburgh seems like a fascinating city. I havent been there since I was 13. I think it’s time to go back.

  • Reply
    Samantha
    30 de março de 2017 at 14:48

    Even though I live in the UK I still haven’t visited Edinburgh which is super silly, but the trains are super expensive from London. I must change that now as I really want to see Edinburgh Castle and the Whiskey Experience you mentioned!

    • Reply
      Isadora
      30 de março de 2017 at 15:11

      You really should visit!! It is an amazing place, worth each penny!

  • Reply
    Marguerite
    30 de março de 2017 at 15:17

    I visited Edinburgh a couple of summers and felt like I didn’t have enough time in the city – but now that I’m based in Berlin it will be super easy to head over there again!

  • Reply
    Leslie
    30 de março de 2017 at 19:59

    Edinburgh is definitely a bucket list destination for me, I love how it seems a little less touristy and straight out of a fairytale with all the green color. Thanks for sharing your insights, I’ll be saving this guide for later!

    • Reply
      Isadora
      30 de março de 2017 at 23:34

      It definitely worth a visit! 😀

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    30 de março de 2017 at 20:33

    Glad to hear you enjoyed Edinburgh. It’s one of my favorite cities in Europe, even though it’s on the smaller side. Decided to also go on a whim when I was visiting London for business. Also enjoyed the haggis, particularly on pizza.

    • Reply
      Isadora
      30 de março de 2017 at 23:35

      waaait, haggis “on” pizza? This is new for me!! I should try next time I go there!!

  • Reply
    Meghan
    31 de março de 2017 at 07:43

    My friend just came back from Scotland and raved about Edinborough! It definitely looks like a fun city. I had no idea it was divided into a historic part and more modern city. Important to know before you go!

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