TRAVEL: A Weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland
Updated: Jun 9, 2019
Scotland has been on my travel bucket list for years now and I finally had the opportunity to cross it off. I spent a weekend in Scotland--two nights in Edinburgh and a day in Glasgow. I'm not too sure what I was expecting Scotland to look like but I can definitely say I didn't expect the country to be as immaculate as it is. The city of Edinburgh alone, took my breath away! Here's some of the gems I came across in Edinburgh:
I. St. Andrew Square:
Located in New Town, Edinburgh, St. Andrew Square is close in proximity to Waverley Train Station & Edinburgh's Coach Bus Station. I travelled to Edinburgh via Coach from Manchester, England. This was the first location I came across upon exiting the bus station. St Andrew Square is located on the East end of George Street and you can find multiple pubs, restaurants and shops here. In the middle of the center you can also find the Melville Monument. It is a great place to lounge/take in the city on a nice day.
II. Scott Monument:
Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. It is one of the largest monuments dedicated to a writer in the world. This monument is located on E. Princes Street Gardens and can be seen from various parts of the city. Tourists are able to enter the monument where they can learn more about Sir Walter Scott and see Scotland from up high.
Note: There is a small fee to enter the monument.
III. Thomas J. Walls Coffee:
Thomas J. Walls is a coffeeshop located in Old Town, Edinburgh. The shop was once an Optician Shop. What's unique about this coffeeshop is that there are still traces of the original interior structure of the building despite the major business transformation. If you look closely, you can still see the sign on the building reads "Thomas J. Walls Opticians." The breakfast sandwiches are quite nice here but I would advise you to stay away from the iced coffee. If you are ever in the area I encourage you to visit.
One of Edinburgh's many gems.
Thomas J. Walls Interior...
IV. Greyfriars Kirkyard:
Greyfriars Kirkyard is a famous burial ground in Edinburgh surrounding the Greyfriars Kirk (church). Greyfriars kirk plays a symbolic role in the history of Scotland. The Kirk is an active parish and within the church there is a small museum where you can learn more about the history and significance of Greyfriars. This Kirkyard is a big tourist spot and is a 3 minute walk from Thomas J. Walls.
V. The Elephant House--> "Birthplace of Harry Potter" :
Whether or not you are a Harry Potter Fan, The Elephant House is a must see. Not only is the coffee here amazing, but the cafe is famous for the place where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books! It is said that Rowling and other authors would come to this cafe for inspiration and to write over coffee and treats. The cafe first opened in 1995. It tends to be very crowded as many tourists visit to see the shop's elephant collection and pictures of JK Rowling at the cafe. They serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
VI. The Royal Mile:
The Royal Mile is located in Old Town, Edinburgh. It is the heart of Edinburgh and one of the most visited streets in the city. You will find a number of restaurants, pubs, attractions, and shops along the Mile.
The Edinburgh Castle, The Scottish Parliament, The Scotch Whiskey Experience, Camera Obscura, Holyrood Palace and St. Giles' Cathedral etc are popular destinations along the mile.
Pic #3: Cannonball Restaurant & Bar. 4: Palace of Holyrood 5: Scottish Parliament
VII. Holyrood Park + Arthur's Seat + St. Anthony's Chapel:
Holyrood Park is another great place to sit and relax on a nice day. The Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace is located here and it is open to the public for tours. You can also take a hike and appreciate nature and all the beauty the city has to offer. I took an unplanned hike to see the St. Anthony's Chapel Ruins. When I got to the top I witnessed a lovely view of the city. This was my first time hiking and although I wasn't wearing appropriate attire for a hike (Skinny Jeans), I am glad I went and I would encourage others to do the same.
I wasn't able to continue the trail to Arthur's Seat (the highest peak on the hill), so I am looking forward to accomplishing that on my next trip!
Views from St. Anthony's Chapel Ruins:
VIII. Edinburgh Castle:
Edinburgh's Castle is located at the end of the Royal Mile. The castle can be seen all over the city of Edinburgh as it dominates the skyline. The castle was built on an extinct volcano called Castle Rock. Tourists can take a tour in Edinburgh Castle with the purchase of a ticket. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take the tour because I ran out of time. However, the next time I am in Edinburgh this will be the first thing on my list.
Views of the city from Edinburgh Castle:
IX. The National Monument & Calton Hill:
I recommend going to the National Monument + Calton Hill in the evening when the sun is about to set. During the summer time the sun doesn't set until very late (9:00-9:30pm -ish). The Monument is right next to Calton Hill and you can get a great view of the sunset from this location.
X. Scottish National Portrait Gallery:
The Portrait Gallery is quite lovely and is another location check out if you have the time. Take a look at the art and learn about the history of Scotland and various Scottish creatives.
XI. Royal Bank of Scotland:
I did some research before coming to Scotland and I read that tourists should visit the Royal Bank of Scotland. I was confused as to why but upon arrival I quickly realized. The interior design of the bank is amazing and the bank is quite massive.
XII. Other Hidden Gems in Edinburgh:
--> Chessels Court:
--> Victoria Street:
--> Dunbar's Close Gardens:
--> More Gems:
Roaming around Edinburgh was so much fun! I really enjoyed my time there and can't wait to visit again! There's so much to do and so much to see! Have you ever been to Scotland? If so, what part? Have you been to Edinburgh? If so, What was your favorite thing about the city? If you've never been are you planning on it? I strongly recommend that you put it on your list! Sound off in the comments section below.
Scotland is such a beautiful but underrated country that is often overlooked. Stay tuned for my blog post on my trip to Glasgow.