Because my base for the past couple of years has been Newcastle upon Tyne, a city in the northernmost corner of England, it doesn’t take long to get to Scotland and Edinburgh. About 1,5 hours by train from Newcastle along a breathtaking coastline and you step off the train in the Scottish capital 🙂 Edinburgh is a gorgeous city with so much to offer, but here, in no particular order, are the top 5 things to see!
1: Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat is a 250 meter high hilltop right outside of Edinburgh city centre that offers amazing panoramic views of the city in every direction. The hike up to the top is easy enough that anyone can do it, but will still make you break a sweat if you want to change up the city break and get some fresh air and exercise! Don’t forget decent walking shoes!
2: Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a historic and iconic fortress on Castle Rock (Game Of Thrones reference anyone?), probably most famously lived in by Mary Queen of Scots, but was home to Kings and Queens of Scotland for many many centuries before. If you visit the castle today you can visit the National Scottish War Museum, the Mons Meg canon, The Great Hall, one of the oldest remaining religious structures in Scotland St.Margaret’s Chapel and much more. It’s a really lovely way to see some Scottish History as well as centuries of different architecture!
3: The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is the nickname of a street that runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace and is approximately one Scots mile long. Walking along it will bring you past countless shops selling Tartan patterned clothes and souvenirs, some traditional pubs selling haggis of course, and more often than not buskers dressed in traditional Scottish Highland dress (Kilts and so on) playing bagpipes. It’s an absolute must-see if you’re in Edinburgh!
4: Edinburgh Old Town
The Royal Mile is part of a bigger area called the Old Town of Edinburgh, named so because of the preservation of so many medieval street plans and buildings. Edinburgh Old Town differs from old towns in other European countries however, because the transition from Old town to the more modern part of the city isn’t very clear. This is because the New Town area is built in a 1700s Georgian architecture style and blends in with the old town in certain areas. The areas of Old Town and New Town have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1995.
5: Calton Hill
Carlton Hill isn’t quite as high as Arthur’s Hill, but the view of Edinburgh is just as beautiful. What sets Calton Hill apart is probably the many monuments and beautiful memorials that scatters the hillside. Wonderful for a stroll or a picnic or a photo session, and offers a great alternative view of Edinburgh Castle!
Harry Potter Fan Bonus
If you, like me, have a soft spot for Harry Potter then you should definitely make sure to pop by The Elephant House, the café that J.K. Rowling wrote much of the first few Harry Potter books. Her usual table in the café has a wonderful view towards Edinburgh Castle as well, so it’s well worth a visist!
I know there are many many other things to see in Edinburgh (a Zoo, the Edinburgh Dungeons and some wonderful national museums just to mention a few) but these are some of my favourite things to see in Edinburgh when I go. What are some of your favorite Edinburgh places? Xxx