Just before Christmas, I was lucky enough to go to Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities in the world, to embrace some festive joy. I have been to Edinburgh once before during Fringe, and have been dying to go back ever since. When my boyfriend and I were thinking about where to spend a couple of festive days before Christmas, my heart immediately went to Edinburgh.
We managed to get the trip for a really good price, opting for those early bird flights through Easyjet and spending weeks trailing the internet for the perfect accomodation meaning the trip was just over £200 each for four days, which I think is a bargain.
The hotel we chose was the New Town Guest House and was simply divine. The staff were wonderfully friendly and helpful, making the stay perfect. Breakfast is included in the price of the room and consists of a continental breakfast. It was quite freshing to not be offered the traditional ‘fry up’ that accompanies most B&Bs (and yes, you don’t have to choose it, but come on), opting instead for fresh fruit and cold meats. The hotel is a recently rennovated town house and you can really see the magic of its Victorian history peeking through.
The one thing I will say is that our room was tiny. We had chosen to book the small double room but I didn’t quite realise how small it was going to be. To put it in context, three sides of the bed were touching walls! However, as we weren’t planning on spending much time actually in the room it was perfect as it was incredibly cosy and I loved the view out the window each morning.
Like I say, the hotel was based in the New town which is such a lovely location and pretty central. However, we had managed to plan activities which were all in the old town, but this just meant we got to enjoy a lovely half an hour walk to various parts of the city. The one thing I will warn you is that Edinburgh involves a lot of up. Now, I know this shouldn’t be a shock, but having grown up in the notoriously flat Kent, my lungs certainly weren’t prepared. There was one part of the journey that marked the peak of the hill and everytime we reached it we did a little cheer, knowing we were going to be enjoying a lot of down hill. I only mention it because, if you are thinking of visiting and doing lots of walking around the city, it is something to bear in mind. I will say though, public transport in Edinburgh is marvellous.
On the first day we enjoyed an open top bus tour around the city. I really recommend this because I think it is the ideal way to get your bearing in a new location and gives you an idea of where you might like to visit. The tour buses tend to begin opposite Waverly train station, and the beauty of them is that most of them sel 24hr tickets. This meant we got to use ours the next day to get to the castle – avoiding another hill!
After that, we enjoyed a walk around the Christmas market. We went on a Thursday and it was the perfect level of bustling. We did try to go again on the Saturday and – my goodness – it would have been a headache. I love walking around Christmas market and we enjoyed many treats, including a Yorkshire Pudding wrap! It was utterly delicious but completely messy. We even completed the Christmas tree maze like absolute children – though we did slightly cheat as a little girl told us the word on the way in.
In the evening, we went to the Royal Botanical Gardens to enjoy their light show. This was something I discovered by chance when I was trying to work out what was near the hotel, and it was absolutely wonderful. We easily spent an hour and half in the gardens and each exhibit was simply breath taking. I would definitely recommend it!
The next day we went to the Castle and Edinburgh Dungeons, both of which I did when I was here last time. My one criticism of when I went to the Castle last time was how disorganised it was considering how busy it was. Well, this time I absolutely adored it! I’m not sure if it was because it was a lot quieter, or because our tour guide was so much more useful, but I enjoyed every moment.
The Dungeons were fantastic and I would thoroughly recommend them if you are looking for something that is equally interesting and hilarious. In the evening, I was spoilt to a night in the theatre, going to see a performance of A Christmas Carol which was marvellous. It was so hilarious and so sweet that it was the perfect addition to our festive trip.
The next day I think was my favourite day. Being absolutely huge Harry Potter nerds, I knew we had to do a Harry Potter tour. However, I couldn’t find a paid tour that did everything I wanted to visit, so I decided to design my own. And it was so much fun! Doing it ourselves meant that we could go at our own pace and enjoy every moment. I would definitely recommend it and would happily share our route if people are interested.
We also visited the Camera Obscura which I have to say that was a bit of a let down. Not a waste of time but one of those things that once you’ve done it, you’ve done it. I have to say though that the views we got from the top were stunning and almost worth the entire trip.
And there you have it – the highlights from our trip to Edinburgh. It was such a special trip and I know it will have a special place in my heart forever. Have you visited this magical city?