Your Guide to a Day Trip to: Edinburgh

I am kick starting this new series with one of the most popular and requested cities in the United Kingdom: Edinburgh. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, set on a famous hill and I interestingly relatively recently learnt, also a dormant volcano. I went to the city last summer and literally stayed for just 24 hours, but fit quite a lot in. It's quite unusual for a city centre and compared to many, compact in size, but there is still plenty of exciting things to pick from. 

1. Walk the streets. The Old Town has such an eclectic mix of architecture, from medieval style buildings, to those with gothic remnants. It also has plenty of gardens and greenery mixed in between the buildings. I was pleasantly surprised to see many of the original features protected. 

2. See Edinburgh Castle. Sat upon a hill, at the top of the central road, the castle looms over the entire city. You have to pay to go inside, but the outside is beautiful in itself. It has some beautiful gardens surrounding. You can also walk down the steep staircase to the side and see the outcrop of rock supporting the building, from the below vantage point. 

3. Hike Arthur’s Seat. Probably one of the most famous aspects of the city is this hill that sits in the background. It reminds me very much of Cairo in Egypt, where there is a great phenomena, with a bustling city in the background. The hill is beautiful. We didn't get the chance the walk up it this time as when I looked, it said it takes an hour. Since then, I've spoken to friends and they've said it's much quicker. We've also learnt there is a car park at the base, so if you are short on time, use it! It has sweeping views of both the city and Calton Hill, topped with monuments and memorials.

4. Visit Holyrood Palace. Honestly, I loved how beautiful the palace was. We only saw it from the outside but I was so tempted to go inside. Unfortunately, there was only one hour until closing so it wasn't worth the money but gorgeous. We also went during a sporting event, so there were lots of police and security around at the time. 

5. Listen to the bagpipes. It goes without saying that the fundamental, most vital activity to tick off your list whilst in the Scottish capital is a bagpiper. We saw 3 whilst we were there, each with their own style and sound. It was so lovely to see and hear them live. 

6. Stroll around the Scottish National Gallery. It's free to attend but with current Covid-19 restrictions, it still requires pre-booking to ensure numbers can be facilitated. We booked as we approached the entrance so I don't think there will be any issues regardless. 

7. Buy tickets for Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. This is the one thing we booked in advance and paid for. I loved every second of it and it was so unique. With 6 floors of experiences, the rooftop terrace is the highest viewpoint in the city, giving 360 degree views. 

8. Drive to Portobello Beach. Without a doubt, this was one of my highlights on my way out of the city. The beach was quiet, peaceful and refreshing. The sand was soft and proper sand, so it made for a lovely short visit. 

9. Witness Scottish Parliament. The buildings have a mixture of older and newer designs. It doesn't feel like the Parliament I'm used to in London, but there is a lot of security around. 

10. Eat! Don't forget to grab a meal at one of the many incredible and independent restaurants and cafes. There are so many to choose from, but be aware that you should research and pre-book, as they are pretty full the majority of the time, especially weekends and bank holidays. 

I enjoyed doing all of these and more. If you have a little more time, there are a few more activities you could fit in that we didn't get to do on our last trip, but hopefully one day we will be able to go back. 

11. Explore Dynamic Earth. This was the one thing I was devastated not to be able to do. It goes through a series of rooms, in a timeline experience through space and time to learn how the forces of nature shaped Earth over millions of years. The building looked so interesting and I was desperate for the toilet, so I quickly nipped inside. It's so modern inside and I got a sneak peak of the first part of the tour. I will be doing this next time! 

12. Watch a show at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. I would have loved to do this but of course, 24 hours wasn't long enough. I would also love to go to the premier for the film festival one day. 

13. Scare yourself with Edinburgh Dungeon. I've been to the dungeons in York multiple times so it's not something that particularly appeals to me, but if you haven't done it, it's certainly an experience. 

14. Escape in National Museum Scotland. Another free attraction in the city and great for when the weather is poor. It has historical events, as well as modern explorations of technology too. 

15. Book a Hobby Tour. As we were walking around there were quite a few unique experiences I was interested in. There is a Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh Gin Distillery and Chocolatier Tour, all near the castle. The former was the one I tried to convince Luke to do, but apparently he doesn't like whisky and of course, I wanted to do the chocolate one. They're a little niche and individualised so pick something you enjoy! The list is almost endless and there are lots of options to choose from.