Weekend Trip To Edinburgh

Weekend Trip To Edinburgh

A Weekend Trip to Edinburgh

James and I wanted to visit each country in the U.K., so it was only natural that a trip to Scotland was necessary. Some cheap flights later and a weekend trip to Edinburgh was arranged.

Bristol Airport

Transportation to Bristol International Airport

On a warm day in early December, we hopped on a train to Bristol Temple Meades station. In that hour the weather changed drastically from Exeter to Bristol. The short wait for the Airport Flyer was a very cold one and we had to bundle up in our winter gear while waiting. We were dreading the cold in Edinburgh.

P.S. The airport flyer costs £7, but if you buy your train ticket on Trainline to Bristol Airport (XPB train code) instead of Bristol Temple Meades the bus is included in the fee!

Cancelled Flight

Whenever we start a trip, I always say to James ”things are going well” before our trip starts and it drives him crazy. He thinks I’ll jinx everything, well low and behold the one time I didn’t say it our flight was cancelled.  I’m convinced that it’s a good luck charm so I say it on all trips now!  Anyway, the flight was canceled due to the immense fog in Bristol, however Easy Jet offered to put us on the next flight which was only an hour later.

Edinburgh Airport to City Center

Now fast forward an hour, and we were in Scotland! Since we’re always looking to be cheap, we avoided the Airlink bus which was about €6 for a single ride into the city center and took the public transport. The Lothian bus #35, calls at stop F at the airport and it was only €1.60 for a single ride.

 

Eating in Edinburgh

By the time we made it to the city center it was about 6 pm, and we decided our first stop would be to a Tesco to get some food for the following day for our Highlands Tour with the Highland Experience Company. We managed to score a bag of oats, a loaf of bread, peanut butter, 6 bags of crisps, and two ready meals for about €5. Clearly we learned how to shop cheaply as a Uni Student.

During our day exploring Edinburgh we came across an Indian Restaurant while walking to King Arthur’s Seat (keep reading). The Indian Restaurant offered a lunch buffet from 12-2:30pm for €6.99. Obviously James and I were all about it, but in hindsight eating a ton of Indian Food before hiking was probably a mistake.

Accommodations

After our grocery shopping we went to our hostel to check in, eat and rest up for the tour. We stayed at “The Hostel” which we found on Booking. The hostel itself wasn’t terrible, but it was undergoing some renovations. They offered free wifi, lockers, a kitchen, a nice lounge area. The only negative experience we had in our hostel was really the guests. Many people checked in past midnight and didn’t care that others were sleeping. They would turn on the lights and chat with their friends. James and I learned we are not hostel people – we’ll get us a nice B&B instead.

 

Exploring Edinburgh

Our second day in Scotland was spent exploring Edinburgh since the first day was spent in the Highlands. Fun fact Edinburgh is not pronounced the way it looks, its more along the lines of “eh-den-bruh”, I still don’t know why.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral

When in Europe you’re bound to see a ton of cool Churches. This Cathedral was quite near our hostel and free so we went in for a quick look.

Edinburgh inside of church

Dean Village

Just beyond the Cathedral is Dean Village, made for an instagrammer’s dreams. Look how adorable this village is!

Princes St

Princes St is part of the newer city area in Edinburgh. Across Princes St. sits Edinburgh Castle atop volcanic rock.The land between the castle and the street naturally forms a valley and was used for as a park. We spent our early morning strolling through the park and taking in the views of the Castle. It is rumored that the Edinburgh Castle is the inspiration for Hogwarts in Rowling’s books.

Edinburgh Edinburgh Park

Edinburgh Edinburgh Castle on top of volcanic rock

Christmas Market

Europe in December calls for a Christmas Market and Edinburgh was no exception. All the stalls were adorned with lights and bustling with people. I think Edinburgh’s Christmas market is probably my favorite thus far.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

National Gallery of Scotland

The National Gallery of Scotland is free and we decided to spend some time exploring it. I would be lying if I said James and I were connoisseurs in art. When we go to a museum we spend maybe 30 minutes looking at paintings and sculptures. We definitely don’t sit and discuss art unless it makes us giggle. James came across a painting from a time period before the Renaissance that looked like a lady was performing oral sex, so we giggled.

Edinburgh Castle

Our next stop was to hike up the hill to Edinburgh Castle. It was swarmed with tourists on the outside so I could only imagine how many were inside. It cost €12 to enter and we weren’t dying to see the inside so we looked on from the outside.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Fun Fact: When you're at the castle and look behind you you can actually see King Arthur's Seat off in the distance!

Edinburgh King Arthurs Seat

Grass Market

The Grass Market is just below Edinburgh Castle, filled with a variety of shops, restaurants and live music. We saw a gentleman photographing his 3 fluffy white dogs – clearly we were excited to see dog models!

Edinburgh Grassmarket

Victoria Street

Yet another Harry Potter Inspiration that I needed to see was Victoria Street. Supposedly it inspired Rowling’s Diagon Alley. I personally think Gandy Street in Exeter is more believable but I guess we’ll never know unless Rowling confirms it herself.

Edinburgh Victoria St

GreyFriars Kirkyard

Next stop was Greyfriars Kirkyard to continue our hunt for Harry Potter inspirations. There are gravestones that are rumored to be the name inspirations for Dumbledore and Voldermort. One of the gravestones literally reads “Tom Riddle”. Unfortunately, there were so many gravestones, we couldn’t find them.

I felt very uncomfortable asking a caretaker for the gravestone locations  and it seemed a bit disrespectful to the dead. Instead we left to find the Greyfriars Bobby Statue. It’s said if you rub his nose it’ll give you good luck – but please don’t! His nose is all varnished out from all the rubbing.

Edinburgh Greyfriars Bobby

Elephant Castle

Surprise, James and Michelle visited another Harry Potter Site. Rumored to the pub in which Rowling wrote many of the novels, Elephant Castle made our list of things to see.

Edinburgh The Elephant House

J.K. Rowling’s Hand Prints

Best for last – you can actually find J.K. Rowling’s hands on the streets of Edinburgh. In the City Chambers Quadrangle, there are certain notable hands. J.K. Rowling was awarded the Edinburgh Award so her hands are forever imprinted in gold on the street!

Edinburgh J.K. Rowling Hand prints

King Arthur’s Seat

It took us about 30 minutes to get from Edinburgh to the base of the mountain. There are two ways to get to the top – the left path consists of rock step pathway which was very steep and winding, whereas the right path consists of walking along the road in a very gradual but long and out of the way manner. We opted for the steep and winding path up, and the long and gradual path down.

It actually wasn’t terrible because we were going nice and slowly and it was quite windy so we didn’t break a sweat. As we got higher the wind got stronger and the rock steps became muddier and more dangerous.The top of the steps is the halfway point for the climb because it then turns into a walking a path along the side of the mountain. This part was probably the scariest, not because of the height but because of the narrowness of the path and strength of the wind. On two occasions the wind was so strong it knocked me over. Fortunately, it was blowing into the mountain rather than off.

Towards the end of the climb, you need to go up a hill and down a valley and up a final hill. When we were walking up the first hill the strength of the wind was super helpful and propelled me up the hill. However, immediately after that it started blowing me very quickly down into the valley so strongly that I dropped to the ground to maintain my balance. The very last hill was very rocky and was more rock climbing than hiking.

The view at the top though was well worth the trouble, 250.5 m high in the sky and you can see all of Edinburgh. It was breathtaking while simultaneously terrifying due to the strength of the wind. There was a “seat” like a monument that showed the height of Arthur’s Seat and I literally was clinging onto it while at the top so the wind didn’t blow me over. We didn’t spend too long at the top because it was starting to get dark, so after about 15 minutes we made our way down Arthur’s Seat, on the long and easy path. This path was far less eventful than the first, and it allowed us to glimpse the ocean.

Edinburgh King Arthurs Seat

Edinburgh View from King Arthurs Seat

The Royal Mile

You can’t go to Edinburgh without strolling through the shops on the Royal Mile. We spent about 15 minutes window shopping. Most of the shops are quite the same – selling plaid patterned cashmere scarves. James and I made sure to get our own scarves as souvenirs!

Edinburgh Royal Mile

Edinburgh Royal Mile

Our weekend trip to Edinburgh was a great adventure and I can’t wait to return for another trip! Have you ever been?

 

Total Cost: £210.08

Cost Breakdown

  • Transportation: £141.96
    • Train tickets Exeter to Bristol: £25.80 per person =  £51.60 total
    • Flights Bristol to Edinburgh: £41.98 per person = £83.96 total
    • Bus Ticket Edinburgh to City: £1.60 per person = £6.40 total
  • Accommodations: £48
    • Hostel: £16 per night total = £48
  • Food: £20.12
    • Grocery – £5
    • Lunch buffet – £7 per person = £14 total
    • Fudge – £1.12

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10 Comments

  1. January 2, 2017 / 3:44 PM

    Yeah, the fog can be pretty bad in the UK and play havoc with flights, so kudos to you for getting an alternative flight so soon after your first one was cancelled! Edinburgh is a great city, I agree. Such beautiful architecture and, yes, lots to enjoy if you’re a Harry Potter fan 🙂 More kudos to you for climbing up to windy Arthur’s Seat after an Indian lunchtime banquet!

    • January 2, 2017 / 5:10 PM

      I know we were so lucky and thankful that our flight situation worked out! And the climb was a little tough after the buffet but definitely worth it!

  2. January 5, 2017 / 10:44 AM

    I believe same like you that if you “things are going well” eventually everything will turn up just fine. The power of our thoughts is amazing truly. Basically we are creating the reality around us . I was lucky to find good weather when I went to Edinburgh, I hope I’ll go back one day 🙂

  3. January 9, 2017 / 9:55 AM

    The wind experience did sound a bit scary 🙂 you were brave to face it.
    The architecture is fantastic.

  4. Prerna_Malhan
    January 9, 2017 / 3:35 PM

    You packed in a lot in a single day, but the pictures have turned our amazingly well. I have my eyes set on Edinburgh and Scotland since a long time.

    • January 10, 2017 / 11:28 PM

      Thank you and if you can you should definitely visit! I would love to return and do an isle of sky trip from edinburgh

  5. January 17, 2017 / 5:50 AM

    Edenberd seems to be an amazing destination with so many things to do and visit. Seems worth all the trouble you had to bear.

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