A weekend break was planned in December for the post Christmas blues and due to cheap (ish) Virgin Trains tickets and good hotel offers, I decided Edinburgh was a good new destination to explore for the weekend. From West Yorkshire, we changed at York and had a 3 hour journey to Scotland’s Capital. On arrival we stepped off into the gigantic Edinburgh Waverly Station – one of the UK’s biggest – and ascended a lift which took us out of the stations roof to a terrific view of Edinburgh. In true Scottish style, we were greeted with the sound of bagpipes, drizzly rain and cold temperatures.
Edinburgh is split in 2 halves – The Old Town & the New Town located on either side of the middle valley where the large train lines and station are. To get to the famous Royal Mile (the street that connects Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace) we was greeted with steps that seemed to go on forever. If I could give 1 tip about Edinburgh its be prepared for steep hills! The Museum of Edinburgh was the first stop to gain an insight into the Capital cities history. What starts as a very small few rooms keeps getting bigger & bigger as you venture upstairs to discover beautiful glassware & silver.
Wandering further down the Royal Mile, we were met with Holyrood Palace – The Queens Official Scottish Residence. No sign of the queen today, but Mo Farah was nearby running in the Great Edinburgh Cross Country along Arthurs Seat (Edinburgh’s Dormant Volcano!) Below is a conveniently placed Dynamic Earth, a unique attraction which explores the history of Planet Earth all the way from the Big Bang through 4D & 360 degree theatre’s & shows.
We then ventured to Edinburgh Dungeons which I had free entry to, due to having a Merlin Annual Pass! I have previously done London & Blackpool Dungeons over the past year so we knew what we were letting ourselves in for. I would describe the dungeons as a slightly scary walkthrough with very funny shows where historical characters are brought to life by talented actors. If you don’t visit The Dungeons attractions because you think its an extreme scare attraction and are easily scared, well visit because it is completely the opposite and is an experience all the family can enjoy.
Very hungry at this point, we went in search of food, the majority of Edinburgh was very quiet with it being the middle of January, but we managed to end up at the busiest place – the Omni Centre nearby our hotel which is a leisure complex with restaurants, bars & a cinema. We visited the least busiest place – Nandos, then relaxed in our hotel ready for a busy Sunday.
We started Sunday morning off with a look round the very quiet stores on Princes Street. After, looming over us all Saturday, we finally went to Edinburgh Castle for some uninterrupted views of the hills, the city and even out to sea. For lunch, we found a brilliant local Hog Roast café called Oink located on Victoria Street nearby the Castle. Simple but brilliant, they have few options and only sell Hog Roast Rolls but taste so good they don’t need to sell anything else! Free extras include haggis or stuffing, plus Apple, BBQ & Chilli. Being our first time to Scotland, it had to be haggis.
One of many free museums in Edinburgh – the National Museum of Scotland (the biggest) was next which has lots of exhibits from Scottish History, World Cultures, Art & Design and our favourite Natural World which features nearly every animal on the planet, this was fascinating and I could have spent all day in this exhibit alone which stretched its way up 3 floors. The recently refurbished modern side of the museum had 6 very large floors of Scottish history to the present day and there was still a section of the museum closed due to a refurbishment project creating lots more to see!
Some last minute shopping and souvenir buying was in order, plus a coffee & cake before boarding our 5.15pm train back to Yorkshire and arrived back home at 10.30pm. Lots packed into a short weekend break and we had covered all the main sights. Look forward to be back soon to explore more and visit attractions such as Camera Obscura, Edinburgh Zoo and see the Waterfront side of Scotland’s Capital.
Highlights – Not to be Missed!
- Views from Edinburgh Castle
- Edinburgh Dungeons
- National Museum of Scotland
- Oink Hog Roast!