Getting Mud in the Face in Edinburgh

We went to Edinburgh for a proper Scottish wedding with kilts and highland dances! We decided to spend a couple of days sightseeing afterwards. I must admit that my expectations were fairly low – I had expected rain, greyness and a less than exciting British town. however I was pleasantly surprised – it was a lovely place, really pretty, with loads of history, good food, and it felt really safe.

The Old Town revolves around the Royal Mile – the long cobbled street leading up to the famous Edinburgh castle. The castle is an imposing structure which can be seen all over the city.

You can also walk right up to it for views over the city, and you can also tour around the castle (£18.50 each). We decided not to as we were short on time and also it was expensive! There is meant to be a canon fired from the castle at 1pm every day, but we didn’t hear it during our stay.

We spent time wandering around the old town and enjoying the sights. JK Rowling wrote some of the Harry Potter books here. If you google you can easily find info about the cafe where she wrote the books, the street which was apparently the inspiration for Diagon Alley, and JK Rowling’s hand-prints cast into the pavement on the walk of fame. We of course dutifully went round all these sights, but overall just being there was fascinating.

We visited the statue of Greyfriars Bobby – the dog who faithfully sat on his masters grave for 14 years until he died himself. Such a heart warming story.

We wandered down to the bottom end of the Royal Mile and saw Hollyrood House, the Royal Residence in Edinburgh. You can tour this (£15 each) and there is a gift shop selling all manner of royal memorabilia.

Opposite here is the Scottish Parliament. You can take a tour if you book in advance. If you are not that organised there are 10 minute tours which entails a quick explanation of the Parliament and the (very modern) architecture of the building and then you can look around yourself. We did this and it was just right – I really just wanted a look inside the chamber. (Tours are free)

After this we did the obligatory ascent up Arthur’s Seat, a massive extinct volcano looming over Edinburgh. This was quite a climb for me, as I’m quite lazy! But also the weather wasn’t great – rain and wind. When we got to the top the wind was so strong it was blowing mud in our faces, so if you wipe your face your hand comes off covered in brown mud – lovely! We made it to the top through sheer stubbonness, but I sheltered behind a rock from the wind. My husband climbed to the highest point, up to the mile-marker on top of the rock, and he said it was so windy his coat was blowing off even though it was zipped up! The wind was literally lifting it up over his face! Time to go back down I thought… the views were lovely though.

Overall Edinburgh was a real delight and totally unexpected, and it was lovely to get the train there and not have to fly!

next post: Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh.

previous post: 48 hours in Geneva, Switzerland

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