Take a trip to Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. If you have never visited this vibrant buzzy city then, what are you waiting for? I highly recommend a visit and here are a few ideas of what you can do when you get there.
Great Places to Visit
There are lots of fun attractions to entertain you when in Edinburgh, but if you are only there for a short amount of time then these are the must-dos.
Explore the history and see the 105mm Field Gun, fired every day at 1pm, excluding Sunday, Good Friday, and Christmas Day. This practice dates back to 1861 when the blast was used as a timekeeper for the ships in the Forth of Fife.
Edinburgh Castle is a wonderful place to visit with children, who will enjoy exploring all the nooks and crannies, such as the Military Prison, Prison of War exhibition, and lots more. There are also great places to eat and grab a hot drink. The views across the city are magnificent and make for a breathtaking photo op! For a first-time visitor to the city, I would say this is a must-see.
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The Royal Mile
This is the heart of the old town. Named thus as it has been the processional route for royalty for over 500 years. With Edinburgh Castle at the top and Holyrood at the base, The Royal Mile is a very fun and vibey place to walk up and down, full of shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants.
Watch the Bag-piping buskers, and explore the plethora of shops and there is an abundance of atmosphere to soak up. It is very touristy but lots of fun and a great place to find a souvenir of your trip. When you’ve walked The Mile, walk up and down the hilly side streets, such as Victoria Street which is one of the most photographed streets in the city!
With its steep hill set on a curve there are lots of colourful shopfronts which makes it a fab place for selfies. Close by is Grassmarket which is one of the oldest parts of the city. It has lots of independent pubs, shops, and restaurants and is a cool place to have a coffee or wee dram to keep you powered up. Grassmarket is steeped in history and doubled up as space for public executions, the last hanging occurred in 1784. There are lots of grisly history to discover. With a wealth of spooky ghost stories to learn about the city and the buildings within it all adds to the magic feel of the city.
Edinburgh is a great city for shopping too. You can find all the fav high street shops on Princes Street, which is the capital’s main shopping street. If you are looking for something more unusual, then it is well worth exploring the side roads as there are a ton of hidden independent gems. We visited
McKenzie Leather on St Mary’s Street. At Mackenzie Leather, you can have a handmade leather belt cut to size as you wait. Made with traditional artisanal traditions, the guys at Mackenzie's are busy crafting bags, belts, and wallets in the shop all by hand. It is very fun to watch and learn more about handcrafted leather goods.
We also visited a year-round Christmas Shop, on The Royal Mile, which was actually very busy in early September! You can get your Christmas fix all year in this Christmas emporium, there are decorations, nativities, giant wreaths, and more!
In my opinion Scottish food is one of the most delicious cuisines you will ever eat! The Scots pride themselves on good quality fresh produce. Sure, there is a lot of fast food for a quick pitstop but if you do your homework, you will experience some of the best restaurants The British Isles have to offer.
Scotland is a great place to eat top-quality meat and seafood. If you enjoy a good steak then I highly recommend Mckirdy’s Steakhouse, located at Morrison St, in the Haymarket district. McKirdy’s is run by a family that owns two local award-winning butcher shops. The steaks are cooked to absolute perfection!
There are lots of delicious side dishes as well. It is vital to book a table as it gets very busy and walk-ins may have to wait or be turned away. The restaurant has a great atmosphere, and the staff are all very friendly and informative. You can really see that they love what they do and put their heart and souls into the food. There are lots of gluten-free options and they are clearly listed on the menu.
Greyfriars Bobby was the dog who for 14 years guarded his masters grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is Bursting with Culture
Edinburgh is very rich in culture and if you are only in town for a couple of days, I would suggest a visit to The Museum of Scotland. Set over several floors, the museum has a lot of interesting displays to enjoy be sure to visit the rooftop and you will be met with stunning views of the city.
There is a lovely café to enjoy a coffee. Right across the road from the museum, you can visit the statue of Greyfriars Bobby. The statue honours Bobby, a loyal little dog that lived by his master’s grave for 14 years.
The tale goes that when his master died, he spent the rest of his life living by his master’s grave. Little Bobby himself is also buried very close by and his grave is lovingly tendered. The story is much loved by the locals and tourists line up to have their photo taken whilst touching Bobby’s nose. It is a heart-warming story of love and devotion that will bring a smile to young and old alike.
Where to Stay when in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has a vast number of hotels, B&Bs, and guesthouses to suit all needs and budgets. If you really want to experience something extra special, why not go all out and stay in a Castle? Melville Castle is situated approximately 5 miles out of Edinburgh and really makes your weekend stay extra special.
Set in 54 acres of beautiful woodland and gardens this is the perfect setting to get you in the Scots spirit. Said to be haunted by no other than Mary Queen of Scots herself! She gave her Italian ‘companion’ a residence here and the trees they both planted still line the driveway, some 450 years later.
Melville Castle is a magical place to stay and embodies the history, myths, and legends that make Edinburgh such an exciting place to visit. They make a fabulous Scottish breakfast, which will keep you powered up for hours. It is served with sausage, egg, haggis, mushroom, tomato, and Scots pancake.
The rooms are so beautifully decorated with period features and decoration. Our room had a wooden four-poster bed which made our stay feel extra luxurious. The grounds are beautiful with horses in the fields and loads of woodland to explore. It is also dog friendly so you can take your four-legged family member on fantastic rambles across the grounds. Melville Castle specialises in wedding receptions and honestly, it would be hard to beat for somewhere more romantic.
Melville Castle is an award-winning Hotel, Brasserie and Wedding Venue set in 54 acres of private estate, just outside of Edinburgh.
Dalkeith Country Park
A short drive from Melville Castle is Dalkeith Country Park, this is a beautiful park to spend some time outside. It has lots of fun for the kids such as pirate fort and the Go-ape Treetop adventure. There are several rambles that you can explore with different routes to suit in terms of length and track. Whilst on the trek you can lose yourself and forget that you are just a small distance from the city. Surrounded by Oak trees and ferns, Dalkeith Park provides a relaxing break in nature and exhilarating fresh Scottish air.
There is a great restaurant for a spot of lunch, also a café and gift shop so it really touches all bases in terms of catering for your visit. The facilities are impeccably kept, and you can spend the whole day exploring.
There are different routes you can ramble on with degrees of difficulty. Some routes will not be suitable if you had a pushchair for example, but you can safely get lost in the woods knowing that if you follow your coloured arrow, you can’t go wrong. This was a relaxing way to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature.
We chose the purple route, which was the mid-level one, a bit off the path but it took only about an hour to complete. Along the route, you pass streams and meadows, and beautiful tall pine trees, and we only encountered another person every now and then, mostly dog walkers.
Edinburgh Great Family Fun!
Edinburgh is fun for the whole family, there is definitely something for everyone, young and old. The kids will have a fab time in the Castle and will be captivated by all the myths, legends, and ghost stories that are tied up with this historic town. Older members of your party can enjoy the rich delicious delicacies, tasty whisky, and great restaurants moreover the Scots are the most friendly people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.
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