It’s not often the capital city is my favourite destination in a country but Scotland was definitely an exception.
I loved Edinburgh from the moment I got there and if I had to choose a city to live in the UK, this would be it.
The best part of visiting was simply walking around the place and stopping into a pub here and there to get a break from the chill.
We visited not long after the referendum last year and there was traces of YES signs around the place.
In regards to some of the best known sites around Edinburgh, below are a few things to check out.
For the best views
A relatively easy paced hike, climbing Arthur’s Seat offers panoramic views of the city. What really amazed me is that it is so close to the centre of Edinburgh, perhaps no more than a couple kilometre’s walk at most!
I quite enjoyed the atmosphere up top Calton Hill, where you can find the National Monument which is a dedication to Scottish sailors and soldiers who died during the Napoleonic wars.
There were people walking their dogs and kids running around. Like Arthur’s Seat you can get 360 degree views of the ocean and the city.
You can pay a few pounds to climb the top of the Scott Monument, which is the largest dedication to a writer (Sir Walter Scott) in the world and one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings.
The view from up here is lovely but the walk up is pretty tight and the top level is also so don’t do it if you fear heights/enclosed spaces.
They give you a little certificate saying you completed the climb too.
For the history
Over a million people visit Edinburgh Castle each year, which is probably most recognisable for being in the background of the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
This site has been in some kind of use since approximately 2nd century AD and has been the location of royal residence to military barracks.
With a rich history including its role in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, a guided tour is recommended to get the most out of a visit here.
Views of Edinburgh from outside Edinburgh Castle
The story of Greyfriar Bobby’s is a well known one – apparently the terrier remained by his owner’s grave after he passed away every day for 14 years.
He has a statue dedication in the city and his own gravestone in the nearby cemetery.
Not too far from Greyfriar Bobby is the Elephant House.
If you find it strange that there’s a continuous group of people lurking in front of this café it is all to do with the fact J.K. Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter here, which is pretty cool.
For the stomach
When in Scotland it would be ridiculous not to at least try some whisky, which I can safely say I did and won’t be doing again.
Most bars will have the option to try a few at once from different areas of the country which results in a variety of tastes from the smooth to the insanely peaty/smoky.
Following our whisky tasting my friends and I decided to go the whole way and give haggis a go too.
The nicest way to describe it is a mixture of all a sheep’s innards so naturally the thought isn’t too appealing.
Mine came served inside chicken so it wasn’t that bad as long as you don’t think too hard about what it actually is.
Haggis also falls into the tried it once, never again category alongside whisky for me.
For dessert we had cranachan which is largely made of creme but also has raspberries and a bit of oats (it has whisky too of course).
It was overly sweet for my liking but if you have a sweet tooth you might want to give it a try.
Afterwards we did a pub crawl along the Royal Mile, the main street in the old part of town. It was good fun and there was some funky places along the way, some with great live music.
I’m not sure exactly where I snapped this photo but I love this travel quote and it was right outside one bar during the night.
If you find yourself in Edinburgh I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, I can’t wait to visit again!