I really don't know why I waited so long to visit Scotland. It is a long journey from south Wales to Scotland but if I can get a 24 hour flight to New Zealand then there is no excuse for not visiting a part of the UK that has so much to offer. It is filled with castles, beautiful lochs and mountains, whiskey and a rugged landscape. Martyn and I had wonderful time in Scotland and we are already planning our next visit for our honeymoon. My trip with Martyn included stops in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oban, Isle of Mull & Fort William and we travelled over 1000 miles throughout our holiday. The first port of call was Edinburgh and I've shared some of my favourite photos below (I took over 500+ throughout my trip) I'm pleased with how much we managed to cram into just 24 hours without feeling rushed.
We only had 24 hours in Edinburgh as we wanted to cram as much into our Scotland tour as we possibly could. After a mammoth 7-hour train journey from Newport to Edinburgh with CrossCountry we needed a hotel that was conveniently located so we opted for the Premiere Inn City Centre Royal Mile. It was only a few minutes walk from Waverley railway station and all the main sights, it was perfect for us. We dropped off our cases and headed straight up Calton Hill to take in the sights of the city. It was also easy for us to leave our bags there once we had checked out, do some sightseeing and pick them up again before getting our train to the next destination on our trip - Glasgow. The bed was comfy and the breakfast was tasty, not a cool apartment but it certainly did the job for one night.
See & Do
Calton Hill - The first thing we did we we arrived in Edinburgh was drop off our bags and head straight up Calton Hill. The panoramic views from Calton Hill were very impressive. We were able to
see major landmarks such as Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Palace and the Parliament, Leith and the Firth of Forth, Princes Street and the Royal Mile leading up towards the castle. Calton Hill is also home to lots of historic monuments including the National Monuments which was inspired by the Parthenon in Athens, the Nelson monument and the Dugald Stewart Monument.
Ghost tour - Edinburgh is known as one of the most haunted cities in Europe with a history of witchcraft, grave digging and the plague. There are lots of free tours in Edinburgh where you tip your guide the end and this one was the perfect way to get a feel for the city and its ghostly tales and rich but gruesome history. Who wouldn't want to spend their Saturday night lurking around a graveyard with a group of strangers?
Greyfriars Kirkyard - Greyfriars Kirkyard has been the resting place for some of Edinburgh’s most well-known residents since 1562 when Mary Queen of Scots granted the use of the former convent garden as a burial ground. Greyfriar’s is known for its grave robbers but also a faithful Skye terrier, Greyfriar’s Bobby, who watched over his master's grave for fourteen years after his death *sob*. The graveyard is full of hauntingly beautiful monuments but it has also served as inspiration for characters created by J.K. Rowling. Look out for the grave of Thomas Riddle (Thomas Ridell) - You-Know-Who! Visiting the graveyard was the highlight of my trip to Edinburgh, what does this say about me?...
Victoria Street - This narrow curved street with historic high-rise buildings has an air of Diagon Alley about it. There are lots of shops with pretty, colourful fronts, cafes and restaurants that wind their way down from the Royal Mile to Grassmarket. This was a great place to get a coffee and browse some independent book shops and boutiques.
The National Museum of Scotland - This really was an impressive building, the original Victorian museum is Grade 1 listed with a breathtaking central hall. Ten new galleries opened in 2016 to celebrate its 150th anniversary year and the varied exhibits suited Martyn and me perfectly. Martyn enjoyed the interactive exhibits focussed on science, communication, and transport (for a couple of train lovers it was exciting to see the two oldest railway locomotives in the world) and I loved the design and Scottish history galleries. VisitScotland has shared some highlights of the collection here but my favourite items were the Lewis Chessmen and panels designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The Food + Flea Market - Food + Flea is a 7 day a week street food market in the heart of Edinburgh, just off the Royal Mile. The market hosts a rotating roster of street food stalls and there is also a flea market on Saturdays and Sundays. I had a delicious honey chipotle buttermilk-fried chicken burger from the Buffalo Truck and it was a great place to escape the crowds of tourists and chain restaurants on the Royal Mile.
I would love to return to Edinburgh as there really is too much to explore in just one day. I was able to get a good overview and feel for the city but if I return I would love to visit the castle, climb Arthur's seat, experience the local nightlife and stroll around the tranquil Dean Village on the Waters of Leith.