Hi guys! Happy Tuesday! I’m here with another Take me Back post, this week I’ll be talking about my time spent in Edinburgh, Scotland. I hope you enjoyed Glasgow, and continue to enjoy this series! 🙂
We arrived in Edinburgh via train on Sunday, June 9. It was a short walk from the station (Haymarket) to our hotel (Leonardo Royal Hotel), which was great. We had a bit of a walk to central station from our hotel in Glasgow, but we did it. The first thing we noted about our new hotel room… it had windows!
I’m telling you, I’ve never had that experience before.
Anyways, since we got in at 8 we just laid low and rested.
On Monday June 10 our hop on/hop off tour started so we were up for that, but first, food! There was a little cafe called MILK that we went to every morning. It was really cute and the food was really good; I’d definitely recommend it!
The morning was warm and the sun was out so that was a good sign. Walking the streets of Edinburgh you just feel like your walking in an old town and it’s quite beautiful. The moment we spotted the Edinburgh Castle was a shocked and awe-inspiring moment. Edinburgh was definitely one of my favourite cities!
Now, this hop on/hop off bus was incredible. There were 3 different buses we could take with our tour (it all depends on the type of ticket you buy, we got the Grand 48 so we had access to three buses over the course of 48 hours). We hopped on and there just felt like there were so many places we wanted to go. In the end we decided to get off at the National Museum of Scotland.
Okay, so I know last week I said we could spend all day at the Riverside Museum… no I was wrong about that. This museum we could spend all day in. It was huge, and there was so much to see I think it might be impossible to see it all in day. I’m really happy about what we did see though. This is also a museum that is free to enter and runs on donations.
We hit the hands on part of the museum, and if there’s anything I love more, it’s hands on and being able to touch things. They had this exhibit for fashion through the ages, and I was able to create a dress and have it walk the catwalk. It was a lot of fun.
There was another room filled with transportation and I used strength to make a hot air balloon fly. I did a lot of other testing and touching, but I can’t remember it all. Those two I can remember well because I took photos and videos.
After walking around the museum… and when I say around we only walked around one half and didn’t even make it to the third floor… yes it’s that huge.
We walked to one grab a quick bite to eat. We grabbed a lot of sandwiches at Pret A Manger throughout our trip, great place. I’ve only ever seen them in the UK, and when I was in Chicago they have them there; I’d love to have them here, they have some really good sandwiches!
Once we picked up food we located the bus stop for the Blue hop on/hop off bus which would take us to the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. I have to say we were so blown away by this garden. It was huge, and green, and just perfect for a lovely walk in the park. The actual greenhouse costs 7 £ so we just walked around it. Because it was so beautiful we decided to eat our sandwiches in the park.
This is where we planned the rest of our day, which involved the Royal family’s Yacht: The Royal Yacht Britannia. The bus takes you right to the yacht that is parked right next to a mall. This costs roughly 16.50 £, we got a discount with our hop on ticket. It is so worth the money though! We got an audio guide that took you room to room, sometimes there was more than one point of interest in a room, throughout the yacht. Walking around a yacht that the royal family has used is just incredible. We literally went from top to bottom seeing where the royals stayed all the way to where the crew spent their time, where they slept. We saw the kitchens (that they still use for the cafe), the laundry room, the medic room and everything in between. I couldn’t recommend it more! I’m so glad we got in right before they closed because I don’t think we would have gone back to do it.
We then went to the mall to kill some time and of course we went to the Waterstones. Again, I bought nothing, self control is strong still.
We got back on the bus and pretty much rode it to the end. We went to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. The food was better than Glasgow, and we got a free Sundae thanks to our hop on bus ticket. That was a lovely way to end the day. Since the hop on buses were no longer running as it was well after 6 at this point, we had to walk all the way back to our hotel, which was actually not as bad as it sounds. It just got really chilly, but still a really good day.
Tuesday June 11 we woke up and headed to our new favourite cafe, MILK. The day started out sunny, but started to turn cloudy and cold. The weather didn’t rise above 15C degrees and that was a bit of a bummer to have to constantly be wearing a coat, my friend pulled out gloves, so you know it’s chilly.
We hopped on our hop on bus and it took us to the Edinburgh Castle. This costs roughly 17 £, again we got a discount through the bus (I’m telling you, not only do these buses give you perks they really help with traveling around the city; I wouldn’t do it any other way).
Once you get in, you can get an audio guide tour, but we opted for a live guided tour that lasted 30 minutes. The Castle is like a mini village. You have different parts to it. There are also different levels, which we learned were for the different levels of hierarchy. The peasants and street people stayed to the bottom, the middle was military and the top was for royals. They still use the middle level for military and there’s a building that only military officials can enter. Our guide was great, and I swear I could listen to him talk all day.
After the tour you’re free to wander at your own pace. We stood in line to go into the oldest building, a very tiny chapel. They have a building dedicated to war soldiers who lost their lives in both World Wars. There was also a War Museum that you can walk through. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but you don’t realize how far you move around when you’re inside. It was huge and very interesting. It’s always interesting to see the war propaganda.
There’s a Writers Museum, for those who like to write. My friend and I are big into writing as much as we are into reading (although I haven’t written any fiction in quite some time) it was really cool to walk around and see the exhibits on the famous Scottish writers. The only one I really remember is Robert Lewis Stevenson, because I think he may be the most famous. He had a whole floor dedicated to him, mind you, the place wasn’t that big. It’s like a little hole in the wall, off to the side, you only know about it if you’re looking for it, and we were.
We then decided to hop on the Green hop on bus since we hadn’t gotten on that bus yet. We rode it all the way around. At this point it was starting to rain and we didn’t feel like getting off in the rain. We rode it all the way to final stop where we looked for something to eat for dinner. It was only after 4 but when you’re traveling, and you get up early, you wanna eat early. We spent some time trying to find the Patisserie Valerie in Edinburgh. We finally did locate it; this location had a dinner menu, but I just opted for pancakes because there’s nothing wrong with pancakes for dinner.
That pretty much concludes the second day as it rained the rest of the day.
From there we rode our hop on bus one last time through. Our train wasn’t until 5 so we had a lot of time to kill, so we went and looked for bookstores in the area. Our first stop was Waterstones. This one had 3 floors and we were both in heaven. I had the hardest time choosing between a Stephen King book to add to my collection and The Chalk Man that was on my TBR. In the end after many debates, walking around the store with both, having my friend help me decide I went with The Chalk Man… thank goodness I did 1) I love the UK cover over the US cover 2) I had something to read because I ran out of the reading material that I brought 😂
We then went to a smaller bookstore that was geared towards religious books. From there walked to a few other bookstores, one called Main Point Books which was a cute little shop and the other was Edinburgh Books which had room after room of books, my gosh you could spend so much time in them. We both held restraint with buying any books.
We then decided to stop and have lunch to hold us over until we got to our next destination. We went to this burrito place called Bar Burrito.
It was super tasty and I’m glad we went. We then stayed at Starbucks to kill more time… in which we learned later on we could have used that time to sort out our travels, hindsight is always 20/20 right?
We stayed at Starbucks until 3pm and decided to walk back to our hotel, we got our suitcases and walked to the train station in the rain… not fun.
This is where we learned that our train was cancelled. We’re told to go to Waverley station (the main train station in Edinburgh) and it’ll get sorted there. Ok. It’s a short 15 minute ride or so, we get there and we’re told there is a queue of people waiting for a bus that will take us southbound. Alright. We first of all can’t find this line and second no one seems to know about it. We do finally find it, and it’s already long.
We wait in this queue for just shy of 2 hours, some of it where no one is moving. That’s where we learn that the trains (only Virgin trains I add) haven’t been working since 10am that morning, so why hasn’t anyone been informed before they need to catch their train? Second, we were told it was a bus… when it comes to our turn to leave… it’s a taxicab that holds 5 people… and we’re being driven to Carlisle. We shared a car with two men who said that this happens quite frequently, dear lord!
Two hours later (roughly 9pm) and we’re in Carlisle… the most north city in England, only for the people working at the station to not know why we’re there, as no trains are coming through here either. My gosh, to sort out this dilemma!
My friend and I are trying to get to Leicester (to spend the night at her place before heading to Cardiff) and it’s just a hot mess trying to sort all of this out. I think 2 buses went to Birmingham, we ended up with our own taxi to drive us to Leicester… here’s a screenshot of that trip, it was close to a 4 hour trip, and the driver… had never been to Leicester before. I slept most of the way, and we got to her place at roughly 3am.
I literally just crashed once we got to her room. Talk about a crazy last day in Edinburgh. We said that if you don’t have at least one hiccup is it really a vacation? 😄
Up next is Cardiff, Wales.
Look out for my photo blog coming Friday!