Let me start off by saying that I am absolutely smitten with Edinburgh. It was much calmer than London, with less cars, less people and just less chaos in general. It also has a really cohesive style of architecture, with almost no super modern buildings giving it a really historical feel, which I loved. It’s also the place that gave J.K Rowling a lot of her inspiration while writing Harry Potter, so how could I not love it?
Our train left London Euston around 1pm on Friday. It took about six hours to get up to Edinburgh Waverly station. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant ride since the air con wasn’t working and we were all dressed for the chill of Scotland.
We dropped our bags at the hostel and headed out in search of food. We found a pub. I had a steak and ale pie, though it was more of a puff pastry than a pie (still really good).
The next day we had a guided tour with our group. We started by going up the hill to see all the monuments (of which I apparently didn’t take any pictures). They were all done in a very greek style.
The tour passed by the Balmoral hotel, where J.K Rowling wrote the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The tour ended at the entrance to the Castle. We had a quick lunch break at a little cafe called the Scot. I had squash soup and a cheddar and herb scone that I forgot to take a picture of. Then we toured the castle.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking down the Royal mile stopping in every store that sold cashmere or shortbread. Then when the sun began to set we headed off in search of more Harry Potter sites.
We stopped briefly at the Elephant café where she wrote the early books before continuing on to Greyfriar’s Kirk (the cemetery where she found inspiration from the names of Tom Riddle, Mad-eye Moody, and McGonagal).
Then we found a pub for dinner after walking down Victoria street (which claims to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley). I had fish and chips. I also tried some whiskey (which we would call scotch in America), it wasn’t great. Actually, it was really bad.
We asked the bartender what to do next, since we were out of ideas and he gave us an itinerary to follow for the rest of the evening.
First, we went to the Three Sisters to catch the tail end of football game that no one seemed too excited about. Then, we went to City Café to get some milkshakes that were of the highest quality.
And we end the evening in a live music venue called Stramash! That was inside an old church. Sadly, there wasn’t any live music while we were there, but it still had a cool vibe.
The next day we headed to Arthur’s Seat in the 2 1/2 hours of free time we had before our train left. It was quite the hike, but we managed to do it in about 45 minutes and the views were well worth it.
Our train was severely delayed on the way home due to an incident on the tracks, so we ended up getting back to London around 90 minutes late.
Overall though, Edinburgh is now one of my all time favorite cities. It was beautiful and it wasn’t as overwhelming as some other cities.