Many of you may know that I travelled up to Scotland to spend a couple of days with Charlotte. The adventure started in Edinburgh, which is one of my favourite places and actually a place that Charlotte had never been! We Stayed at the Old Town Chambers 5* Serviced Apartments which you can read about here.
All in all, we had around 32 hours in the city to explore all the old cobbled streets and soak in all the history. After checking-in to Old Town Chambers which was conveniently located just off The Royal Mile, we went for a wander. The Royal Mile is a long street (a mile long, obviously) which connects Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. Along the mile, there’s over 250 little closes and alleys leading down from the mile on each side. More on that later as we actually went on a walking tour to find out lots of Royal Mile secrets.
The first stop was The Grey Friar’s Bobby Statue, potentially the most well loved and celebrated dog in Scotland. Just around the corner was a graveyard. Quite a strange stop on our little walk but I remembered that this was home to Tom Riddle’s grave. Okay, so not the real he-who-should-not-be-named but we presume this is where JK Rowling got the name from. The Elephant Cafe where she started to write the Harry Potter books is just around the corner.
We also checked out Grassmarket Square where I have never been before. There was some lovely little boutique shops, little pubs and restaurants and a brilliant view of Edinburgh Castle. In the middle of the square was an art installation in an abandoned container which we both loved. In hindsight, we should have explored the area a little better as there was certainly some brilliant food places in the area. I guess that’s an excuse for another trip, right?
A lot of our trip was spent just wandering up and down the Royal Mile but there is so much to explore and discover. Right at the bottom of the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace. We didn’t actually go inside of Holyrood House but next time it’s on the list. It was really beautiful from the outside and the Scottish Parliament Building and Our Dynamic Earth (also on my list for next time) are both located opposite the palace. If you’re feeling brave/silly you could always walk up to Arthur’s Seat or alternatively admire from the bottom like we did.
At 4pm, we were booked into The Real Mary King’s Close where I’d convinced Charlotte it was most certainly haunted. In fact, it gave us a great insight to how everyone lived in the 15th century with tales of the closes’ famous residents. It was completely fascinating and I’m gutted I can’t remember my tour guides name as she was brilliant. It’s quite an eerie place but certainly, a must visit in my books and we learnt so much!
Ironically, we spent so much time in the apartment getting ready and researching where to go out for dinner. Everywhere we wanted to visit had stopped serving food (It was about 8.30pm!). We ended up in good ol’ Pizza Express. What a fail but we did manage to find a place called Tiger-Lily for cocktails which were incredible and I’m going to talk about more in my Food/Cocktails round-up!
After a lovely brunch at Badger & Co over in the Princess Street area, we spent the morning exploring some shops. Along Princess Street is your typical high street stores with a big Primark and a huge department store called Jenners which is actually a House of Fraser. Along George Street is your more higher-end high street stores which I didn’t even know where there! I was pretty excited to find an Anthropologie and Space:NK. So dreamy!
We had pre-booked tickets for The Hidden Secrets of The Royal Mile Walking Tour* from AttractionTix. Our tour also included tickets to Edinburgh Castle at the end. We had previously had been wandering up and down the Royal Mile but on the tour, we got to find out so much information behind the history of the famous mile. As I mentioned before there are so many different closes and alleys leading off The Royal Mile on each side. We got to learn about a lot of different stories and why some of them had the names they did. They are usually after the richest occupant. The Royal Mile used to be a very densely populated area as there was actually a wall built around to protect from any intrusions.
The tour continued up to Edinburgh Castle, which I’ve never actually been in before. Our tour guide came in the castle with us and she talked us through some of the history of the castle and grounds. Apparently, at one point, There was a resident lion in the dungeon! The tour lasted about two and a half hours which was just right as we were getting a bit cold towards the end.
Our last stop before heading over to Glasgow was The Elephant House. I mentioned earlier that this cafe is where JK Rowling had started writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I’ve always wanted to go inside and grab a bite but it does tend to get busy. Luckily, we managed to get a seat! Hurrah! I’d recommend visiting if you are a Harry Potter fan like myself and Charlotte. There’s not really a lot to see but surprisingly the toilets are pretty interesting . It seems that Harry Potter fans from all over the world have visited and basically turned it into a shrine.
I think we managed to do quite well for a day and a half in Edinburgh. I also used the trip to play around with my new GoPro, a few of my photos are from that camera. I’m still getting to grips with it, Let me know if you like that style. Stay tuned to hear more about the second part of my trip in Glasgow. I’m also going to be doing a big round-up of where I ate in Scotland! I’d love to hear if you’ve been to Edinburgh, have you visited any of these places?