I recently went on my first ever solo trip to Edinburgh… and survived!
Travelling on my own was a very daunting idea and was very close to cancelling the whole thing, but I pushed past the anxiety and still went and ended up having the best time. I wanna do a post about travelling on your own so keep your eyes peeled for that one soon.
Edinburgh is a gorgeous city and I would recommend a trip there to anyone and everyone, there is so much to see. In comparison to my closest city, London, it’s absolutely tiny which means that you can save some pennies and walk everywhere instead of getting the bus. I wanted to do a tourists guide here to show you some places you can go and to also show some of the hundreds of photos that I took.
Architecture. This is quite an old city in terms of the architecture because there was no skyscrapers or fancy modern buildings, instead there is loads of churches and monuments and just overall beautiful buildings. In particular is the Royal Mile which starts at the castle at the top of the hill and ends at the bottom at Holyrood Palace. There is loads of old shops to look in and street performers to marvel at so you easily spend half a day just walking around.
If you are wanting more up to date and modern shops then a 10 minute walk away is the new town which has all your typical clothing shops and cafes and restaurants, so there is really something for everyone here.
Edinburgh Castle. So this is an absolute must see. Not going to lie, it is a little bit pricey so you are looking at between 15 and 25 pounds for a ticket depending on age but I would say it is worth it and it takes up half a day to look around everything. Now I am not big into history but I still found it very interesting to go around all of the many museums and go and look at the crown jewels. They do tours as well if that is your sort of thing. I would highly recommend buying your tickets online to save a couple of pounds and to also go when it opens at 9.30 am because it’s a lot quieter. By midday it was packed and it was hard to move.
They also fire a cannon at 1pm everyday so just warning you about that because it scared me so much the first day. I am honestly not sure what the history is behind that though.
Botanical Gardens. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me and I spent hours in there! It’s about a mile walk from the castle so it’s further outside the city centre but it’s so worth it and it’s free. You did have to pay to go into the glasshouses which was around 10 pounds but by this time I was running out of money… As well as there being amazing plants and trees and flowers there was also a couple of free nature themed exhibitions which was a chance to get out of the sun. With there being so many seats around it was so nice to sit down and read my book for an hour.
In terms of the weather I have to say that be prepared for it to be all over the place. It was warmer than I was prepared for because it was start in the morning being rainy and grey but then throughout the day it was get really warm and the sun would come out but then half an hour later it would rain. So bring a coat! This obviously depends on when you go.
Princes park is located around the base of the castle and while it’s not as exotic as the botanical gardens, it’s a great place to sit and people watch or eat a picnic. Because it’s located right in the centre of the city it was nice sometimes to get a break from the crowds of people and sit down on the grass (when it wasn’t raining).
Victoria Street. If you aren’t a Potterhead then you may not have known that JK Rowling wrote the a lot of the books in Edinburgh and got a lot of her inspiration from places around the city. This street is not only beautifully colourful but it was supposed to be inspiration for Diagon Alley. There are Harry Potter themed things EVERYWHERE!
Here is a couple of other places where she actually sat and wrote some of the books and the school building that inspired Hogwarts! There is also a graveyard that has the names of many of the characters as well, just be prepared for there to be crowds of tourists around these places.
Art exhibitions. The Scottish National Gallery has free entry to the permanent collection but they also had a Bridget Riley exhibition which was around 10 pounds but, as a fan of her work, it was a must see. I know that paintings aren’t for everyone but if it’s raining then it’s a good place to walk around inside as most stuff is outside.
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. This is another museum that costs between 10 and 20 pounds for a ticket depending on age again. It’s definitely one for the kids as it’s so interactive but I’m basically a big kid so I loved it. On the roof top you can get some amazing views of the city and also a presentation about the camera obscura which is a mini history lesson effectively. It’s a fun place to spend a couple of hours!
Scottish Parliament. Located at the end of the Royal Mile is this stunning building that you can actually go in and learn more about Scottish politics if that is your cup of tea. It is not mine, I only went in to use the toilet. I also saw a group of kids outside who were striking for climate change and I spoke to them for a while because I truly admire what they were doing, so I definitely want to write a post about that sometime as well.
If you have made it to the end of this post then I applaud you because that was a lot to take in, I think.
There is still so much more that you could do including excursions outside the city and there were more things in the city but I didn’t quite have the budget for those. I would definitely recommend this city to anyone because it’s gorgeous and the people here are unbelievably friendly and everywhere you go people make you feel welcome. I stayed in a hostel but there’s loads of hotels around as well and there’s easy connection between the city centre and the airport if you were to fly in.
I could rant forever about this place but I think I best stop now :’)