I am so much in love with Edinburgh, especially the Old town, that I want to fly back right now. No wonder it is the birthplace of Harry Potter, this place has all that it takes to write such magical stories. This city is beautiful and breathtaking, you will really enjoy walking down the streets. The Edinburgh Castle is a beauty, it attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year, this was the only thing that could stop me from shopping! As I got down from the Tram on Princess Street, I first saw all the amazing brands lined up infront of me and a few ice-cream parlours as well, I was sure that “this is it, this is my plan for the day” but it only took me a second to change my mind after turning my back towards the shops as I saw this amazingly magical Castle. This was back in summers 2018, I had the best 3 days of 2018 in Edinburgh.
Did you know: “The pronunciation of the country’s name is Edin-ber-aa and not Edin-burg.”
Earlier I wasn’t excited about my stay in the city but later I was regretting that I had only two and a half days here. You should have atleast 3 days in Edinburgh. I will be discussing a lot of things in this article which will make your trip amazingly smooth and easy to plan.
I have so much information to give that I am splitting this post into two parts. The second part will be out soon…
Things you will read here:
- Public Transport in Edinburgh
- Magical Things to do in Edinburgh
Public Transport in Edinburgh
The city is well connected by Buses, Railways, Cabs, and Trams. You can get a bus pass and enjoy unlimited rides for 24hrs, just make sure to get on the same company’s bus everytime. Lothian Bus is easily available on most of the routes. I used it for my tour. You can buy the pass or a single ticket from the bus driver on your first ride, keep the slip safe. It is a good idea to carry change for the tickets, many drivers don’t have it. A single ticket costs a flat price for every ride, 1.70 Pounds. Bus stands have display boards that provide an estimated arrival time of the buses. You can get all the route information from Google.
Even Trams is a good option, if you haven’t taken a ride on Trams yet then you must sit in it once. You can easily buy the ticket from the ticket booth at the Tram station. Definitely carry change with you.
The good thing is that the Trams or the buses provide free wifi.
Fun things to do in Edinburgh
1. Get down at Princess street
Use a Tram or a bus to reach the Princess street, if you are a shopaholic like me then you will be glad to see the back to back brand shops in front of you. You will find many brands here like Topshop, Primark, Mango, Dune and many many more. You can easily spend hours and hours of shopping here and will also find some cafes, restaurants and a few ice-cream parlours.
I would recommend you to taste the Chocolate ice-cream once from Thorntons. I really liked it. It costs approx 2.5 Pounds.
Dune is a good option to shop from and the prices are also good(similar rates in London) as compared to other countries. Do not forget to take your VAT refund after shopping. Read more Travel tips to save more.
The Princess Street Garden is right infront of the shops, adorned with beautiful flowers and with a view of the Castle. You can spend some quality time sitting here and appreciating all the beauty around you.
To enhance the beauty of the Garden and the entire vicinity there is a famous monument inside the Garden, called the “Scott Monument”. It is a Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, this is the second biggest monument in the world which is dedicated to a writer. It looked haunted to me at first sight but it actually isn’t. This really adds to the beauty of the entire street and makes it look amazing. You can climb up to this monument to observe a good view of the city. The ticket for an adult to the top is 8 Pounds. You can read more about the Scott monument here. I didn’t go up because I knew a better place to cherish the amazing city view. Keep reading to know about it.
The shops continue towards the back of the lane as well. Infront of this street is also the Edinburgh Castle, when you start moving towards the back of the street(opposite direction of the Castle) you will notice that at the far end the road meets a waterbody. The road seems curved and gives you a beautiful view.
Once you are done shopping, walk up to the mesmerizing Castle. I am sure it must be a big distraction for you while shopping.
2. Visit the Edinburgh Castle
Start walking from the Princess street towards the Castle, you have to keep walking along the garden and turn(almost infront of Topshop) along with it. You might catch a traditionally dressed Scottish musician playing his bagpipe. I was lucky enough to enjoy his music.
The road is steep towards the Castle so if you are with someone who has trouble climbing the road then you can take a cab to the Castle. The area infront of the entrance of the Castle is a part of the Royal Mile. The Castle remains open till 6 pm but the last entry is advised till 4 or 4:30 as you will take time to climb the Castle, enjoy the view and come back down till 6pm. Again, if you or your partner has a problem climbing up then need not worry, you can ask the staff for help and they will provide you a car with a driver to reach the top and back. The entire visit takes approx 2 hours.
There is a multi-level Souvenir shop called “Tartan Weaving Mill “that has Harry Potter merchandise and famous Scottish souvenirs like magnets, Tartan clothes and more, it is right outside the Castle. Make your way to this place after the Castle to explore some good stuff.
There are more fun things from the movie. On the opposite side of this shop is another experience that awaits you. It is the Scottish Whisky Experience, here you can buy some good Scottish whiskey in various sizes and under various budgets.
This part of the street is called the Castle Hill, along with the above-mentioned attractions there is another one called Camera Obscura. It is a family entertainment centre where you can enjoy camera obscura show, a world of illustrations, and rooftop views.
The rooftop has telescopes and binoculars installed with which you can enjoy the city view. The World of illustrations takes you through amazing optical illusions, mind you, anything seen there is not true.
There are a lot of things to do and the good thing is that your tickets will be valid for an entire day. You can re-enter the center multiple times and even visit the same part of the center again. The ticket price for an adult is 15 Pounds. You can know more about the tickets here.
3. Walk down the Royal Mile and unravel the Old Town
This is Old Town and there is a reason behind the street being called the Royal Mile. It is actually a combination of many connected streets which connects the Castle and the Holyrood Palace and it is a mile long. Back in times, the Royal family used to travel this stretch to reach either of the two destinations, hence the name.
The mile is divided into the following parts:
- Castle hill – The area infront of the Castle entrance as discussed above
- Lawn Market – This is one of the oldest parts of the Old Town. As you get down the hill, you will see a lot of shops and pubs.
This is the famous Gladstone’s land, one of the oldest buildings in Old Town. You can enjoy rare hand-painted Renaissance interiors inside the building. The entry ticket is 10 Pounds for an adult and 5 Pounds for a child.
You also get a chance to meet this amazing bird “Gryffindor”, I guess that’s the name. I was so mesmerized by her beauty that I didn’t pay much attention to her name. She is absolutely beautiful and you can hold her for as long as you want for just 5 Pounds.
You can read more about this place here. The below image is of the famous Tartan fabric. The interwoven strips are called setts. There are many things available which are made up of this fabric like scarfs, Kilts and more.
Such skirts are called Kilts, a cloth worn around the waist. Traditionally the Kilt is worn with a few more things like Sparrons, pins and more. Know more about Kilts.
- High Street
This is the next part where the St Giles Cathedral is located. This is a pretty church and has been the main place for worship for the past 900 years.
Most of the windows are covered with stained glasses that illustrate Bible stories. The church is beautiful from inside, you will really enjoy your time here.
Thristle chapel is another amazing part of this church.
- Canon Gate
This is the tail of the Royal Mile, you will notice many reminders of the history of Edinburgh like Bible land, st John’s cross and much more here. There is also a museum called “The People’s Story” which tells the stories of ordinary Edinburgers. Earlier, this museum was Canongate tolbooth which served as a Municipal building and was allso used for various other purposes.
As you proceed, you will notice a huge campus on your side, this means that you have reached the foot of the hill, it is the Scottish Parliament and right opposite to this is the Holyrood Palace. You can even buy a ticket for attending a debate or a public committee meeting in the Parliament. Read all about the Parliament here.
- Holyrood Palace:
This is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth, she spends one week in the residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies.
There are many state apartments, gardens, jewellery and romantic ruins for you to enjoy. The sad part is that the beauty of the Palace cannot be captured by your cameras as photography is not allowed inside. You can only do it within the grounds of Holyroodhouse.
Plan your visit according to the following details:
Once you finalize your dates then book the tickets for your trip. Official websites are always a good option to buy the tickets.
Check out the official website for more information.
To be continued…
I am sure you really want to visit the country soon after reading all the above. Next post will discuss more things to do in Edinburgh, Places to stay and much more. Stay tuned!
Like it? Save it for later…
Visiting London or other places in Europe? Don’t forget to read my recommendations and experiences through the following posts:
Top 4 Places for Breakfast Time in London