With yesterday (Edinburgh Day 1) mostly spent moping around near our hotel in Edinburgh at a snails pace, today was all about taking much more in, with more gusto!
Day 2 in Edinburgh
We headed straight to the centre, where we’d seen a bus stop for tour buses. Luckily, David’s parents had been to Edinburgh recently and mentioned a great deal.
We bought the Royal Ticket, which gave us fast track entry to Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Yacht Britannia and Palace of Holyroodhouse – all of which that were on our itinerary! (And gave us a saving of 20%.)
But, you could also travel around Edinburgh on any of the 3 tour bus routes unlimited, for 48 hours. (Yes, I know tour buses can be a bit cringe, but they certainly get you round a new city quite easily!)
This ticket was £51 from the tour bus vendors or can be bought online. We thought this was worth it and so our first stop was Holyroodhouse…
Holyroodhouse / Holyrood Palace
Holyroodhouse, or Holyrood Palace, is an official residence of the Queen – she actually lives here for part of the year!
No surprises then that photography wasn’t allowed. Still, this was quite educational (if you don’t mind royalty) as past British monarchs, like Mary Queen of Scots, once called this home too.
Tours are compulsory through complimentary audio headsets. Holyroodhouse is located within Holyrood Park – where Arthur’s Seat can also be found.
We headed to Holyroodhouse at the start of the day because we planned to climb Arthur’s Seat straight after. Arthur’s Seat is a hill that rises above Edinburgh and gives stunning panoramic views. (Some call it a mountain, but I didn’t think it was that serious of a climb.) At around 250m tall we were expecting a steep incline nonetheless!
Luckily it was a mild day and the path to the top of Arthur’s Seat wasn’t too muddy. Saying this, it still wasn’t easy and I’d suggest taking some sensible walking shoes if you’re planning on doing this! We were both equally panting when we got to the top, which took us roughly 45 minutes. We spotted an easier route when we did get to the top, but we still felt quite accomplished.
There were a lot of other tourists doing this, so I would suggest if you want complete peace (and better pictures) to climb it at sunrise.
This was actually my favourite part of Edinburgh for the views and unique rock faces. It’s this reason why I now also want to see more of the Scottish countryside. Arthur’s Seat is definitely something not to be missed.
The Royal Mile
After a quicker climb down, it was walkable from here to The Royal Mile and then to Edinburgh Castle.
I wanted to share some pictures particularly of this part of the city, which was so picturesque.
These streets of the city were lined with independent bars, restaurants and shops. making a better selection than Princes Street for eating. We grabbed some light pub grub after our climb (a sharing platter including haggis!) and headed onto the castle.
We were both really looking forward to visiting the castle. Once inside there’s quite a few different rooms and parts to look round. There are audio tours here too, but at a price that we didn’t feel was necessary as there’s plenty of plaques and other information to read.
There’s a few exhibitions here too, like The National War Museum and The Stone of Destiny, so there’s a lot of history to take in. My favourite room was The Great Hall, mostly because it looked very Winterfell/Games of Thrones. (And I can’t wait for Season 7 !)
And of course, views looking down to the city from here are great too.
After the castle, we walked to the Greyfriar’s Bobby statue – a statue of a dog that supposedly waited by his owner’s grave for fourteen years. (Fourteen years!) The grave is found near here too.
Then, as I hadn’t had my whiskey of the day yet, me and David tried to find a whisky bar I’d seen whilst scrolling on Pinterest. But as we soon found out, this wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
Firstly, because of the layout of the blog post (the link behind the pin), we ended up at Bannerman’s Bar. Being a cavernous rock bar, it didn’t look like the ‘period interior’ of The Voodoo Rooms, the bar I’d accidentally mixed it up with.
So after dusting off one whisky here I dragged David over to where The Voodoo Rooms was meant to be. However, we couldn’t see The Voodoo Rooms and thought Cafe Royal looked good enough so we stopped to have a whisky here instead.
I had a Highlands Park and David, a known whisky-hater (if only to me!) felt he should have one too (being in Scotland and in a nice bar), so went for Dalmore.
After a few sips, he declared he still hates whisky and thinks it’s ‘disgusting’, and so I ended up drinking the rest of his. This was before having the ‘brilliant’ idea to go on The Star Flyer, at the Christmas market.
The Star Flyer
Yes, after 3 whisky’s (for me anyway) we thought it was a fitting time to go on the Star Flyer in the fairground of Edinburgh’s Christmas market.
Yes we knew it was high, but it wasn’t until we got onto the ride and started to be lifted up way above the crowds and streets of Edinburgh that we knew just how high it was.
Genuinely more scary than it looks and maybe a little dizzying. Not to mention David telling me whilst we were on it; “I can’t help but imagine how scary it would be if one of these seats detached.” Yep, thanks David .
Anyway, after this somewhat exhilarating experience me and David picked up some Mulled Wine, had something to eat and headed back to the hotel.
The next day was our last full day in Edinburgh, so we’d planned to go to The Royal Yacht Britannia and Mary King’s Close. Read my my final blog post on our visit to Edinburgh here or watch my Edinburgh vlog now on my YouTube channel.