I will be completely honest here and tell you that Edinburgh is my new love… There’s just something so magical and beautiful about this city that it’s hard not to fall in love! I personally could spend days walking around and soaking it all in…
If you want a little bit more to do than just walking, however, here are a few suggestions:
Visit the Edinburgh castle
Exploring the castle is pretty cool. There are a few museums inside, including the Scottish National War museum. If you’re there at one o’clock you can hear the One o’clock Gun get fired. It’s been fired every day since 1861 except for Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day. You can see where prisoners of war were kept, and even a cemetery for soldiers’ dogs. And of course you can’t miss seeing the Scottish Crown Jewels!
And you have to go both during the day and at night. Sure you can’t walk inside the grounds at night, but just walk up to it. It’s gorgeous!
This impressive monument is in the Princess Street Gardens and was made to honor Sir Walter Scott. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world! You can climb the 287 steps to the top to see some amazing views of the city. Luckily, it’s broken up by four levels, so you don’t have to do all 287 steps at once. On the first level there is a room with information and pictures of Scott.
When we went we were privileged enough to see the poppy display commemorating the Soldiers who lost their lives in the first World War. It was a moving display.
I freely admit that I am a big wuss. But I thought this might be fun. It turns out I was right. There are 11 actors that take you through 1000 years of Scottish history in approximately 80 minutes. The actors and the sets were really great and there were two underground rides. Besides almost peeing my pants, I also learned quite a bit. So I highly recommend it.
Day trip to Loch Ness
If you want to venture out a bit, you can take a day trip north to Loch Ness and look for the infamous Loch Ness Monster. There are several tour groups that make the trip so it isn’t difficult to do. The trip up there is pretty impressive just on its own. The Scottish highlands are beautiful and made up many mountain ranges and lakes (lochs).
Loch Ness, the largest loch in Scotland in terms of volume, was actually the reason we decided to add Scotland to our European vacation. I knew it was a long shot, but I wanted to be able to say I looked for Nessie! We took the cruise that travels over the loch for about an hour and were able to get an explanation on the high tech sonar equipment they use to see live images of what’s underneath the water. Although, sadly, we didn’t get to see Nessie, the trip was still a lot of fun.
If you want to see some more impressive views of the city, head over to Calton Hill. This was another great place to just walk around and explore. There’s the Nelson Monument that was built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson who died at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. You can climb to the top (yes, more stairs) and get some great panoramic shots of the city. There’s also the National Monument which was dubbed “Edinburgh’s Shame” because it was never finished. I don’t think it’s a shame at all though, and locals have come to love it just the way it is. It was originally meant to be a recreation of the Parthenon in Athens, but they ran out of money. We had fun climbing up and around it and definitely enjoyed the views.
Oh my gosh! The cookies! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I think they must put crack in these cookies because ever since I had some, I’ve been addicted. Luckily, I’ve been able to find Walker’s shortbread cookies here in Miami. Actually, you know what? Don’t eat them. More for me! 😉
Have you been to Edinburgh? What was your favorite thing to do?