As a birthday present, my boyfriend planned a four-day break for us in Edinburgh. This was my first-time visiting Scotland, and honestly it was a stunning city in this country to visit. I am going to be detailing the activities we did each day and what we enjoyed about them.
Day 1: Evening Arrival into Edinburgh
My boyfriend and I boarded the 16:00 pm LNER train from King’s Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley, and we arrived here at 20:20 pm. Google maps provided us with the fastest route to where we would be staying for three nights, although not the best route when you have two suitcases and two backpacks with you. Although I loved the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, I did not love the unexpected hills, especially with the luggage and the steep staircases we had to go up to get to our accommodation. Still, once we learnt the best routes, we avoided the hills as much as we could, because we can be quite lazy!
Finally arriving at our accommodation and tackling the huge spiral staircase to get to our room, we ordered food and then went to bed early, ready for our busy day tomorrow.
Day 2: Edinburgh Castle, Mary King’s Close, The Writer’s Museum and The Ghost Bus Tours
Pre-booking our tickets online, we headed to Edinburgh castle at 9:30 which was the time slot we booked for. You are able to visit the castle grounds and see the views from the side, as well as the outside of the castle itself, for free, which are both spectacular to look at. I do think it is worth buying a ticket and going beyond this free-zone because there are so many activities to do here. The views are even more spectacular as you can go to different heights, but, with an audio-guide that you can hire once inside, there are also many interesting rooms to go see. There’s even a small chapel and museums that you can enter for free. You can honestly spend a lot of time here, so it is worth buying a ticket and seeing it for yourself!
The photo below is of the castle itself, which can be seen for free!
photo by Leyla Mehmet
You can purchase tickets here or just purchase them on the day.
Mary King’s Close:
We also booked our tour-slot in advance, but these tickets can be purchased at the counter as well. Mary King’s Close was a one-hour guided tour down below where old streets have been kept in their original state, as these streets exist below government offices. The guide we had was very interesting, and it was great to not only learn the history of the streets and the people who lived in the closes, but also to see the streets themselves. I would definitely recommend going to this tour yourself if you are interested in history and seeing these preserved streets and rooms.
You can purchase tickets here.
The Writer’s Museum:
The Writer’s Museum is close both to the castle and Mary King’s Close. It is free to visit (yay!), and is dedicated to the Scottish writers Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson, so check this museum out if you’re interested in or admire the works of any of these!
The Ghost Bus Tours:
In the evening, my boyfriend booked for us to go on a ghost bus tour as a surprise for me, even though he knows I hate anything associated with the paranormal. His excuse was that online reviews said it was a comedy and not scary at all. After a long and tiring, but fun day walking around everywhere, it was nice to just sit down on the bus, so I couldn’t be too annoyed with him and he was lucky that I could see the funny side! Surprisingly (or maybe not), the bus tour did talk about some rumoured ghosts of Edinburgh, but did do this in a comedic way, and it was actually quite an interesting tour and a nice way to explore in general, so my boyfriend was let off.
You can book a tour here.
Day 3: Camera Obscura, Monkey Barrel Comedy Club, and just general wondering around!
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions:
Camera Obscura is very close to Edinburgh Castle and is such a weird but wonderful place to visit. We bought the tickets at the place itself, but there are always deals on at Groupon and other places so I’d check them out too if you’re booking in advance!
There are four floors of illusions and fun things to do, including a mirror maze. There are many fun photo opportunities also that actually show the illusions, and I have attached one below:
photo by Leyla Mehmet
Floor five offers a space where you can observe beautiful views of the city. It is also where you watch the camera obscura 15-minute show you have been booked in for, where a member of staff shows you the actual camera obscura that allows you to see real-time views of people, including those at the castle grounds! It was pretty cool.
Check it out if you like unusual things to do, and you can find more information here.
Monkey Barrel Comedy:
My boyfriend found this place online which was recommended for comedy fans, so we decided to book tickets for ‘The Big Show’ which they do every Saturday evening, but there are lots more shows offered here which can be found on their website.
I have to say, I genuinely didn’t stop laughing other than when there were intervals, and that’s not me being overdramatic. We sat on the front row, but there was a row even closer to the stage in the middle for the unlucky people who arrived last and literally got so joked about by the host. Now you’re probably wondering why we sat here when we knew we’d probably get called out, but that was because these seats had tables and a candle on them which were very cosy and comfortable. Funnily enough, we did get spoken to by the host, but he was actually nice to us, only asking us about general stuff like where we were from, so we were very relieved. The host himself was absolutely hilarious, as were the four comedy acts we got to see.
Basically, if you want a nice way to spend an evening and you like comedy, go here you will not be disappointed!
For more information, visit their website. photo by Leyla Mehmet
Day 4: Maison De Moggy Cat Café, Greyfriars Bobby Statue, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and then the return back to London
Maison De Moggy Cat Café:
Booking the first slot of the day, 10:30 am, we headed to this cat café. This café must be booked in advance as it gets busy, especially during weekends. I had always wanted to go to a cat café so we thought it would be something nice and chill to do on our last day. It was lovely to spend time with really cute cats, although my boyfriend was disappointed that they didn’t want to play with him, whilst I found this hilarious.
To book, visit this website.
Greyfriars Bobby Statue:
Now, this will obviously very brief given that we were just visiting a statue, I thought I would say a little about it. This statue is dedicated to a dog who guarded his owner’s grave for fourteen years, once again re-iterating that dogs are just amazing creatures. When visiting the statue, you are supposed to touch his nose for good luck, and I definitely need this so obviously I did. I even had to go on my tiptoes to reach the statue, so either I’m too short or the statue is too high!
You can see me struggling to reach it below:
photo by Leyla Mehmet
The Palace of Holyroodhouse:
Unlike the castle, you cannot visit the grounds of the palace unless you have purchased a ticket. The ticket is actually worth it, with the palace itself being stunning and this beauty only mirrored in the inside. Audioguides are free here and they are vital to building an understanding of each room and place and why these are significant not just historically, but even in terms of modern day. The modern-day significance comes from how the Queen still visits the palace and holds events here too. The parts I liked the most was the history connected to Mary, Queen of Scots. You can even enter the room where King James l and Vl was born.
We purchased the tickets at the palace itself, but you can also purchase them online here.
My photo of the palace is shown below:
photo by Leyla Mehmet
Returning back to London:
We boarded the 17:00 LNER service back to London King’s Cross, arriving back at around 21:40. The train journey was annoying in terms of having a group of four adults playing Uno, and one of these constantly shouting for the entirety of the journey whilst I muttered sarcastic comments in response to the words she shouted.
Overall, I had such a wonderful time in Edinburgh as it is such a beautiful and historical city that, if you haven’t visited yet, should definitely be a place you plan to go to!