Itching to see something other than British culture? Go for a weekend in Edinburgh!
My best friend came over on a tourist visa recently and wanted to travel outside of England. If you have a UK visa, you can visit Edinburgh. Edinburgh is in Scotland, one of the four countries that make up the UK. Traveling outside of the UK will require that you get a Schengen visa, so if you want to see more without having to spend more, get on a train or flight to Edinburgh. We had a fabulous time despite spending only a weekend there. If you are looking to do a weekend in Edinburgh, here are some ideas of what to do and see.
Hop On-Hop Off bus
With little time and so many to see, I suggest getting on an Edinburgh Hop On – Hop Off bus. Yes, it is VERY touristy, but in a place like Edinburgh, you will want to explore as much as you can. The magnificent Scottish capital can be explored through a practical and informational bus tour. It is valid for 24 hours from use, and you can choose to hop on and hop off whenever you want to within that time period. There are 14 great locations that showcase the best of what Edinburgh has to offer.
Tip: You can also buy fast track tickets to the sights from the bus marshalls from Stop 1 – Waverley bridge. We got into Edinburgh castle without having to queue for hours by doing this.
What’s a trip without trying out the local cuisine? When in Edinburgh, try the Haggis and the Cullen Skink! These rich dishes will have you rolling to your hotel, so make sure to indulge slowly and sparingly. Otherwise, be prepared for a proper food coma!
Tip: We went to Whiski Bar and Restaurant on the high street. It is a beautiful multi award-winning whisky bar and Scottish restaurant on the Royal Mile. They have delicious food, great atmosphere, and over 300 Scotch malt whiskies. We went there for our first meal in Scotland and it did not disappoint.
Speaking of whisky, there is no better place to do that in Europe. Scotland is known for its scotch, and there are several whiskey tours available in the Edinburgh. If you’d rather not do a tour, you can walk into any pub and sample local whiskeys there. This is also a good idea to bring back as a gift. I brought one home for my husband and he really appreciated it.
Explore Edinburgh streets
If you don’t like guided tours (I’m not a big fan, myself!) and just want to explore, there is so much to see just by walking and getting lost. Start from Grassmarket and have a drink in one of the traditional pubs there, then walk towards Upper Bow and Victoria Steet to see the beautiful architecture and the lovely row of colourful shops. From there you can head to Lawnmarket and High Street to see more beautiful architecture. A few blocks away, you are greeted with more modern buildings and you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere in the University of Edinburgh. There’s so much to see, and it is hard not to be in awe with every corner you take a turn into.
Watch a comedy show
Known for some of the best comedians in the UK, you should get your funny bone tickled in one of Edinburgh’s local comedy shows. We were lucky to be there before the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so we were able to see a lot of the best acts that the town had to offer. Don’t worry, comedy is a permanent all-year attraction in Edinburgh, so ask around for the best spots for the evening and they’ll be able to point you to one.
Hike up Arthur’s Seat
Outdoorsy or looking for a physical challenge? Check out Arthur’s seat – you will be rewarded with on of the best vantage points of Edinburgh for a pleasant hike. Arthur’s Seat looms over the city, and has different hikes for different skill sets. The hike can take you to a premium selfie spot, over looking the entire city, including Edinburgh Castle, Old Town and the New Town.
Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh Castle
Last but not the least, visit the awe-inspiring Edinburgh Castle. You can enjoy an hour or so of learning about the history of Scotland, seeing the crown jewels, and getting the goosebumps from standing in the tiny room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to King James I of England. The Castle Rock is cloaked in history and mystery, and it is a definite must-do when you are in Edinburgh. As the icing on the cake, a treat yourself to a lovely dining experience and dine like royalty in Edinburgh Castle’s tea room. How many people can say that they have had afternoon tea in an actual castle that has been there since the Bronze age?!
A weekend in Edinburgh is a short amount of time, but it is a great destination for culture and history without having to go too far from home. We enjoyed ourselves a lot and will definitely be coming back for more soon!