When my sister picked Edinburgh, Scotland for her study abroad location, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. After a somewhat confusing experience making our way to the bus, we eventually found ourselves being dropped off in the middle of Waverley Bridge, which connects Old Town and New Town. I believe it was at that moment I may have fallen in love.
We stayed in Old Town, which I would absolutely whole-heartedly advise again and again. In fact, I would go so far as suggesting our hotel, the Apex Grassmarket Hotel. Our view was surreal and if I went back, I would happily picnic on our personal patio every night.
For our first night, we ate pizza at Civerino’s. We then walked the streets of Old Town and ventured into New Town briefly for Hoot the Redeemer. It’s well hidden, so be mindful of where you’re going. We headed back early to rest up for our night trip.
For our second day, we opted to venture outside of Edinburgh. I read about Rabbie’s day trips from another blog. After scouring reviews, I decided it was simply the best (and it was). We took the one day trip to Alnwick Castle. However, I would happily go back and do other tours in a heartbeat. Scotland has so much beauty to offer. This particular tour had both Scotland and England. Below is a bridge that connects the two.
After a brief stop in Kelso, we spent three hours at Alnwick Castle. It’s been featured in Harry Potter, so clearly that was the driving factor for our visit. However, it is full of history and movie making secrets too! We finished our day driving along the Northumberland Coastline. Next time, though, I’d opt to go to the Highlands.
For our third and final day, we started by venturing to Calton Hill. This was a fairly easy staircase with stunning views of the city. There is a small cafe up there, a free art museum and plenty of people scattered across the hill relaxing, working out or playing with their dogs. We noticed that there were people on Arthur’s Seat and decided that that would be our next destination. Of course, we weren’t quite aware of how drastically different the climb was from Calton Hill. Arthur’s Seat is about 800 feet, but certain parts of the trail can be a bit unsteady and quite dirty.
Once Maia was done with her class, she showed us her campus and we had dinner at Bread Meats Bread. We then spent the rest of the evening in Old Town, including walking around to see the Elephant House cafe and Greyfriars Kirkyard. (Enter more Harry Potter references.)
As much as I looked forward to going to London, I hated leaving Edinburgh. I felt like there was so much more to see and do… The city itself is a stunning juxtaposition of both “old” and “new”. For every bustling modern store along Princes Street, it was balanced with an equally charming, but medieval structure nearby. I also can’t fail to mention how wonderful the people we encountered were.
Edinburgh is beyond charming. What an amazing choice, Maia.
Be sure to share your favorite things to do in Edinburgh in the comments section below!