I have just returned from two fun-filled days in Edinburgh with my best friends. As promised in my last post I absolutely need to share what we did with you guys as we had the best time! I think we got the balance between fun and seeing the real Edinburgh just right. Whether your away with your friends or your other half these activities are bound to keep you entertained! There is plenty on here for kids too (after all I am a big kid still!)
So let’s kick off our two fun-filled days in Edinburgh with…
The Royal Mile
Okay so this is essentially known as the touristy bit of Edinburgh but your a tourist, right? So go check out the Royal mile, it runs through the old town from the castle all the way down to Holyroodhouse Palace. It is full of gift shops selling all things Edinburgh so you are sure to find something to remind you of your trip. Some of the cashmere scarves are to die for but you can also get lambswool ones for a fraction of the price. Aside from shops, the Royal mile has some truly stunning old buildings like St Giles Cathedral. Also, don’t miss the little cobbled ‘closes’ and narrow stairways begging to be explored.
Chocolatarium Chocolate Tour
Everyone talks about the Whiskey experience but never mind that what about a chocolate tour?! We briefly nipped into Chocolataium to admire the many types of chocolate from around the world and have a shot of pure chocolate, yum! Unfortunately, we didn’t take the tour (three indecisive girls who had not long arrived!) but it has very good reviews and it is definitely on my list next time. The main highlight being making your own chocolate of course!
Hmmm, I have a confession… I didn’t go inside the castle! Therefore I can not fairly comment on it but a bit of research told me that opinions are divided if it’s worth the £17 entrance fee. I think this comes down to how interested in buildings and history you are. That said it is Scotland’s number one tourist attraction and is pretty impressive from outside. Maybe next time I visit I will check it out properly. When looking at historic attractions in Edinburgh and with limited time The Real Mary Kings close appealed more to us.
The Real Mary King’s Close
Hidden beneath the Royal Mile would you believe is a warren of buried closes that have been standing there since the 17th century. Who really lived there and how come it is buried? you simply must visit this attraction to find out! We really enjoyed our insight into underground Edinburgh. Is it scary? no… honestly I was really apprehensive but no need, it is well lit and I can confirm nothing jumps out ha ha! It is a bit eerie though. TOP TIP: book in advance as it can get busy, I booked through GetYourGuide easily prior to going.
Climb Jacobs Ladder
If you want to see Edinburgh from above a little then the climb up Jacobs ladder is well worth it. Over 140 steps are carved into the volcanic rock of Carlton hill to take you to the top. If this sounds too much of a stretch then alternatively if you stand at the east end of princess street you can see where to walk. Honestly though as long as you take your time and don’t have bad knees I think it is do-able for most, it has handrails all the way.
A View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill
At the top of Calton Hill you will be treated to a panoramic view of the city. You will find an Athenian acropolis also known as Edinburgh’s national monument, although unfinished it is now a popular landmark. There is also Nelsons and the Robert Burns monument to admire. Just to mention toilets are available up here and we also managed to get a drink and pastry from a small kiosk.
Afternoon tea at The Dome
Funny story… when our taxi pulled up at The Dome we were wowed by its grandeur and twinkling lights. Cooing through the taxi window initially we didn’t realise we had arrived! The Dome is a stunning building even from the outside and despite it being the beginning of November the Christmas decorations were out in full force. The Georgian tea room on the first floor was the perfect venue for a quintessential afternoon tea. High ceilings chandeliers and crisp white linen set the scene perfectly. An array of sandwiches, cute cakes and scones were served with a choice of loose leaf tea, coffee or champagne. Your two fun-filled days in Edinburgh simply must include a trip to The Dome, you won’t be disappointed!
Dining at One Square
There are many options available when dining in any city so how do you choose? Well, I can’t lie… I based going to this restaurant solely on the fact it had over 100 gins on offer including its very own. Located within the Sheraton hotel with views across the square and the castle in sight the restaurant is chicly decorated and made for a relaxing dining experience. The gin cocktails did not disappoint and honestly, the food was delicious. It is definitely worth checking out! lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and even gin tasting are all on offer. Kids are welcome too!
Camera obscura is the perfect place to escape the weather on your two fun-filled days in Edinburgh as it is bound to rain one at least of them! (yes it rained all weekend for us!) This interactive gallery of illusions, tricks and puzzles keep you entertained over its jam-packed five floors. Get lost in the mirror maze, try not to lose your balance in the vortex tunnel, and see yourself shrink! We had such a fun time in here… yes we were 3 adults with no kids but we weren’t the only ones! Also, you get a fantastic view of Edinburgh and the castle from the rooftop terrace.
Make sure you meander along this charming corner of the old town which is quite possibly the prettiest street in Edinburgh. The vibrant buildings housing independent shops make the perfect backdrop for a photo! Rumoured to be an inspiration for Diagon Alley with its cobbled streets and historic stone buildings, any Harry Potter fans will enjoy a mooch in shops like Museum Context and the Boy Wizard. If you’re a die-hard fan head to The Elephant Cafe on George IV bridge where Rowling hung out to write in the early days.
TigerLily for Cocktails
This bar and restaurant are seriously insta worthy if that is your thing! The first thing you see as you enter are some giant flower wings to pose in front of, haha! It’s stylish and opulent yet manages to maintain a welcoming feel. The cocktails were great, we even had a shared one served in a disco ball! On a Sunday night, it was still fairly busy, I imagine on Saturday’s it is one of the go-to places in the city.
If I had more time in Edinburgh…
These would be my picks if I had more time to enjoy the city.
I have visited the zoo previously and being an animal lover I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you have never seen a giant panda then it is worth going in to see them alone.
I knew my friends would not be up for a ‘hike’ so I daren’t suggest it ha ha! Arthur’s seat is a proper hill walk in the heart of the city. At the summit, you are treated to fabulous views in all directions. Definitely one for next time with the other half!
Where the queen resides when she visits Scotland some say this is more worth a peek inside than the castle. There are 14 historic state apartments, ruins of the 12th century Holyrood abbey and beautiful gardens to be explored.
Edinburgh is a great city and I think you wouldn’t struggle to fill a week here. But I can guarantee you if you follow in my footsteps you will have two fun-filled days in Edinburgh for sure like I did!
Have you been to Edinburgh? Anything else you would add to my list? If not then let me know if I have inspired you to go!
Rachael 🙂 x