I’m just back from a weekend trip to Edinburgh and had such a lovely time. It was so nice to get away for a break early in the year, a sure way to beat the January blues! Edinburgh is a great city to visit for a short trip, and you can pack quite a lot in in a few days. Here are my top five recommendations for things to do in Edinburgh.
This may be a bit of a no-brainer, but visiting Edinburgh Castle is an absolute must. There is so much to see, from the structure of the castle, the views from the walls, to the variety of rooms like the great hall, royal chambers and more. There is also a lot of interesting artefacts from Scottish soldiers through the centuries – maps, uniforms, weapons etc. I have an avid interest in history and for anyone who has similar interests I would recommend setting aside several hours to properly explore the castle. There is also a nice café where you can rest for a while from all of your exploring!
This was recommended to me by my brother before going, and although I had been to Edinburgh before I’d never heard of it. It’s basically an interactive house of fun, with different attractions on each floor (there are six in total). There’s electricity installations, 3D holograms, a ‘magical’ gallery, weird mirrors and plenty more. On the top floor is the Camera Obscura, which gives people a unique view of Edinburgh city. The Obscura only operates in daylight hours and we went there at about 5 in the evening so missed out on this, but you’re given a 10% discount when the Obscura isn’t running and there is still loads to see! I think we spent almost two hours there and it was so much fun. It’s on the Royal Mile and less than five minutes from the castle, so we did both on the Saturday of our trip, which was a great way to spend a day.
Explore the Old Town
The old town has some truly stunning buildings and streets in Edinburgh, and a lot of interesting shops. We spent a lot of our time on Victoria Street one day during our trip and checked out some really cool shops, including The Red Door Gallery, which had loads of brilliant prints – one of which we bought for our apartment! There is way more to see, such as St Giles’ Cathedral and museums are nearby this area as well, plus restaurants, cafés and pubs – so plenty of exploring to be done within the Old Town.
St Giles’ Cathedral
Now I am a notorious scaredy-cat (I actually refuse to watch horror films of any description), but I found the ghost tour quite enjoyable and interesting! We did the City of the Dead Double Dead tour, which took in Greyfriars Graveyard and South Bridge Vaults. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but there are a few jumpy moments, however this was largely due to our guide’s creepy storytelling and my own imagination. Again, the history of the city was one of the main things I took away from the tour – it’s a nice combination of fact and fright! Side note on Greyfriars Graveyard for Harry Potter fans: JK Rowling found inspiration for a lot of her characters’ names from headstones in this graveyard! I went on the hunt for some names and found a James Potter, Moody and Thomas Riddle, which I thought was really cool. Hashtag nerd 😉
Flodden Wall in Greyfriars Graveyard
Shopping on Princes Street
For anyone hoping to get some high-street shopping in on their break to Edinburgh, look no further than Princes Street. There are tonnes of stores to choose, from Primark, Topshop, H&M, Next, the list goes on. I didn’t do much shopping on my trip, but I did find the time to pop into Topshop and got a couple of nice new things – a flare-sleeved top and white shirt, solid pieces for my spring wardrobe I think
And that’s it folks! There are plenty of things to do while in Edinburgh, but I hope this little list will help those planning a trip to the lovely city.