If you are thinking of taking a city break to somewhere scenic, friendly and reasonably priced then Edinburgh could be the place for you.
I recently took a trip to this wonderful medieval city and was in awe of all it had to offer. It is much more than a stag and hen hot spot, it is a fantastic friendly city which has an impressive history, beautiful scenery (I mean that castle WOW), bustling streets, brilliant restaurants, quaint bars and great shopping!
So here is everything you need to know about what I got up to on my Valentines break away to Edinburgh.
How to get there
I travelled to Edinburgh with Ryanair, who I am sure you know run regular trips to Edinburgh with deals as low as €25 return!! Keep an eye on the Ryanair website for the best deals.
I flew out friday evening at 6.30pm and arrived in Edinburgh at 7.45pm. This meant there was plenty of time to go to the hotel, freshen up and get a whole nights entertainment in.
Where to stay
I stayed at Motel 1, Edinburgh Royal – See HERE. It is a really cool hotel with tartan decor, friendly staff and a really chilled out vibe. The best thing about this hotel is it’s location. Less than 10 mins walk to the castle and the Royal Mile it is perfect for anyone that wants easy access to all the main hot spots. Plus, the bus from the airport drops you right outside the front door – IDEAL!
On the Saturday morning I got up early with a mission to see Edinburgh Castle in all it’s glory. Because the queue into the castle was very long and the weather was freezing I popped on my phone and bought the fast track tickets which meant I was able to go straight to the top of the line to collect the tickets – Happy Days! The castle is even more beautiful inside than it is from it’s external view. As I knew I wouldn’t have the patience for going around reading all the history myself I opted to wait for the guided tour (leaves every 30mins). The tour guide brought us through the castle grounds stopping outside all the buildings to giving us some background history on each. The tour was short and snappy (compared to some) and left you with plenty of time to further explore any of the buildings that were of particular interest to you. The building which I chose to investigate more was that of the Palace which houses the Scottish Crown Jewels – certainly worth a viewing.
Get your Edinburgh Castle tickets in advance – HERE
The Royal Mile is the name given to the many streets which link the Old Town and lead the way to the Castle entrance. It is an area which is teamed with people, street performers, souvenir shops, fooderies and bars. A great place to just wander around and soak up the atmosphere.
With a strong dislike of whiskey, I was slightly apprehensive about a trip to the highly rated Scotch Whiskey Experience. However, having visited, I can gladly report it well exceeded my expectations. The interactive tour is far from traditional and aims to educate as well as entertain. The finale requires you to choose your own scotch whiskey to sample and although at the end of the tour I was not by no means a new found whiskey lover I now have a much greater appreciation for it’s art form.
The real beauty of the city is in the views that are all around you. Just wandering through the cobbled streets and taking in the medieval architecture is enough to see you through a whole day of exploring.
It is important to note that if you plan on exploring the streets and taking in the scenery then dressing appropriately is a must. Because I visited in February it was extremely cold (in my opinion) so if you intend on going then, pack comfy footwear and lot’s of layers. I chose to wear comfy dungarees for a Saturday spent meandering through the cobbled streets exploring.
Note: I regrettably packed heels for the trip (Cobbles + Heels = Disaster) there was no need to pack these as ankle boots are perfect for nights out (one less item to pack in your hand luggage)!
What would a weekend break away be without some over indulging, eh? On the Saturday night we visited a gorgeous Thai restaurant called Thai Orchid. It was walking distance from the hotel and the food was really tasty and authentic.
On the Sunday I was treated to a Valentines lunch at Angels with Bagpipes. Also walking distance from the hotel (sensing a pattern?) this restaurant was a real treat with the menu featuring different takes on traditional dishes.
The Old Town is awash with quirky bars to suit all tastes. We visited some old style bars specialising in local beers which were lovely places to just sit back and relax in. We also visited the famous Frankensteins which is a very popular late bar with a brilliant DJ’s and excellent party atmosphere (Frankenstein himself even makes an appearance).
If you plan on watching some sport on your break away then it is worth booking a table at Sportsters where you can be served some finger food at your own personal TV booth. We caught the Ireland V France 6 nations game here on the Saturday and it had a great atmosphere. Oh and you guessed it, it was 2 min walk from the Hotel.
Princes street is the main shopping street (think of it as the Grafton Street of Edinburgh) and was directly across from our Hotel – too easy! All the top highstreet stores have a spot on this busy street so there is plenty to choose from.
So without boring you to death with every detail, I hope this description of some of the main highlights of the trip has given you a better insight into what Edinburgh has to offer. As you can imagine this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to see and do in this inviting destination.