Travelling to Edinburgh can be a really interesting experience especially if you arrive into the city by train! I arrived in Edinburgh by train via Glasgow and the journey was all farm lands or “Scottish lowlands” that covered with beautiful greens and white lambs making it a relaxing and comfortable journey. Upon arriving Edinburgh, I was impressed and captivated by all the unique medieval castles of the middle ages, displaying the supreme architecture skills in the medieval period.
Edinburgh is a inspiring capital of Scotland, where centuries of history in conjuncture to a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. There are plenty to do in Edinburgh and as you discover the stunning scenery, striking architecture and fine food, you may also visit the beautiful coastline and countryside in the nearby Lothians.
From a city that houses many UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the world’s festival capital, Scotland has become a world-class visitor attractions. Edinburgh & The Lothians should be high on your bucket list if you are into how a city host it’s past, present and future! 🙂
Now, I am going to share how you can do your own walking tour around the city and capture the main attractions within your toe tips! haha
1) Breakfast at The Baked Potato Shop
Starting in the morning, have your breakfast and get some fuel charged before a long day of walking! Yea, serious walking! Edinburgh is not a flat piece of land and when you are using a map, between point A to B may seems like a 5 minutes walk… but you may realise later the actual time to walk maybe 15 minutes because you need to climb a mountain! haha Besides, you are doing a WALKING tour right? You wanna see more… this is the way to do Edinburgh! I’m sure you can conquer Edinburgh by foot! 🙂
Baked Potato Shop: Good choice of fillings, large portion of potato and the samosas are delicious! 🙂 Perhaps because I am a potato lover, I was very fascinated with a potato specialty take away cafe! 🙂 Need I say more? Come visit this shop, especially if you are also a potato lover! 🙂
2) Visit Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh castle, maginificent castle sitting on top of a volcano! Yes, it may not look like it but don’t worry it is a dormant volcano! haha… imagine the castle was build during Medieval period, so the odds of you getting an eruption is pretty low I should say! 🙂
Great views, great atmosphere, great history. You must purchase your tickets on-line in advance to skip the ticket line. Audio guides are available as well. Try to come between 9:30am to 10am and head straight for the crown jewels first! 🙂
3) Get “Refreshment” At The Scotch Whisky Experience
This is an interesting place that entertains and yet educational!There are a few tour packages that go from the basic one to more extensive tasting experiences. I didn’t take up the extensive one cos I am not really a Whisky drinker, but for amateur like me, the basic one is good enough! 🙂
It begins with a fun barrel ride through a demonstration of the various process in manufacturing the whisky.
There was also an explanation of where the various regions of scotch whisky and how various scotch whisky is distilled.
The guide Hannah was very knowledgeable and have a GREAT passion for scotch whisky!
You get to taste samples from some of the regions, then you can tour the largest collection of scotch in the world. There are 4 main regions of producing Scotch Whisky in Scotland, the single malt whisky mainly the
- Speyside – Fruity & Delicate (my number 1 favourite)
- Islands (Islay & Skye) – Peaty & Maritime (4th favourite)
- Highlands – Smooth & Floral (my 2nd favourite)
- Lowlands – Light & Fresh (my 3rd favourite)
- Blend – not single malt but blending all 4 into 1
I know the hardcore whisky drinker may not like my ranking, in fact I like blend as well! haha But Speyside single malt is still my personal favourite! 🙂 I would really say this is really an amazing experience! 🙂
Hannah also pointed out to me the most expensive scotch whisky in the world – Macallan 1946 – $460,000 haha I will be rich if they decided to give me one! 🙂
4) Stroll and Shop Along Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is one of the most famous streets in the world. It is in the Old Town and the historic heart of the city. It also guards the secrets to Scotland ‘s past (inclusive the horror and cruel history of Edinburgh and it’s haunted underground vault).
The Royal Mile boasts Edinburgh Castle at the very top and the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom. Somehow in between the 2 iconic places of Edinburgh.
This is a nice strip of road! You can wander down and do your window shopping, popping down alleys for coffee, some snacks, drinking in a pub or eating in a theme restaurant. A friendly jolly area you truly will enjoy. 🙂
Remember to also check out the St Giles Cathedral! It’s a nice photo opportunity! 🙂
5) Lunch at David Bann Restaurant
Sometimes it is good to find an upscale restaurant with many nice local traditional options and indulged in it! 🙂 The food was full of flavor and artistically prepared and absolutely divine. Which was excellent for me! Unfortunately, in my opinion, the service was just okay and I personally don’t think it matches with it’s price!
Pocket Damage for above dishes: SGD$150/- 🙂
It was a cold wet miserable day (well a norm for Edinburgh weather) haha Maybe because I was having my lunch there with a low mood, hence the reason why I felt lonely and neglected! haha Still, the food was great and worth trying! 🙂
6) Visit The Palace of Holyroodhouse
I must say I’m not really a fan of audio guides! HOWEVER, the audio tour of Scotland’s official residence of The Queen highlighted to me both the dramatic past of the palace and its important role today! It was really awesome! Unfortunately the palace forbid cameras inside and I can’t capture the images!
Well, you still can take photos of the amazing Palace Garden and Abbey Ruins. The staff are very helpful and informative. Palace with an interesting history, present and future! Try not to miss this out! 🙂
7) Do Some Exercise Before Dinner At Carton Hill
This may be the toughest part of the self walking tour of yours! haha Be prepared for a good hike up to the hill top! Keep telling yourself how amazing the view will be and how GREAT your photos will turn out to be! 🙂
Once you are at the top, you will enjoy a superb panoramic view of Edinburgh! 🙂 This little piece of Greece architecture at the top also brought back my memories of Athen’s Acropolis! haha Oh… how I miss Athens! 🙂
I should say, you won’t regret climbing up on Carton Hill! 🙂
8) Walk Past The Beauty Of Princes Street Gardens And Peak At The St Andrew Square
A small garden from the hustle and bustle of the city streets. Escape the busy Princess Street and dive into the quiet haven, and then back to Princess Street for more shopping and scrambling. Beautifully set in between the busy shopping street and the Edinburgh castle! 🙂
St Andrew Square is something that I randomly saw when I was heading to The Hendersons of Edinburgh! haha Nice stop for a good photo! 🙂
9) Dinner At Hendersons Of Edinburgh
oooohhh….. much better service than David Bann and cheaper (i think)
This restaurant has acquired a bistro, a bakery, a deli, a gallery and an international reputation for cutting edge vegetarian cuisine and all at affordable prices. It was first opened in 1962 (wow 52 years ago) and today it remain as vibrant and engaging environment packed with live music performances, laid back atmosphere. Set against the backdrop of Janet and Mac Gallery!
It was over here, my Scottish friend (whom I met in Russia) Sus Wallis introduced me to her friends (engaged – newly weds in 2 weeks from that time). Was a nice and enjoyable dinner, laughing it out at all the cultural differences! haha Was a very nice evening with the nice ambience of the restaurant serving 5 stars delicious food and accompanied by my amazing Scottish friends! A superb evening! 🙂
So, what were the cultural differences we were laughing about? Haha… For example: My hotel I was staying is situated at Cockburn Street, how do you pronounce that? I’m sure you will know… LOL Well, Scottish pronounce it as “Coubran”… always unique to English! 🙂
After dinner, the friendly waiter served us with the dessert menu, and my Scottish friends were asking me whether I would like to have some pudding? I was embarrassed and thought my menu was different… my heart was pounding because there wasn’t any pudding in my menu! I asked my friends politely “do they have mango pudding?” hahaha They burst out into laughter and later, they explained to me, pudding means dessert in Scotland! -_-!!!
The above was my “pudding”! haha 🙂
10) Complete Your Long Walking Tour With A Visit To The Horror Underground Vaults At Royal Mile
haha all the best to you if you signed up! 🙂
I booked this tour at the very last minute to the underground vaults in Edinburgh.I was contemplating whether I should go??? LOL Don’t forget I was traveling alone. haha… My horror guide, Dave was very interesting and knowledgeable, he perfect the experience by dressing up in his spooky black leather trench coat. haha
When I arrived there, probably I was a bit early… I literally thought I might be the only one at the very last tour of that evening (10pm to 11.30pm) OMG!!! It came to my relieve as about 5 more people joined in the tour at 10.15pm! Phew…
This tour takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I should say it’s definitely not suitable for people with nyctophobia or claustrophobia. haha Overall it was an interesting experience and I managed to gain valuable insight of the cruelty history of Edinburgh.
After the spooky tour, Dave bid goodbye and he wished me all the best especially I need to walk back to my hotel alone! 🙁 I took a photo with him and the photo came out to be something unusual…
He asked me to send to Mercat Tours as another photo evidence spiritual event! To be honest I freaked out a little… and after that I need to walked past these streets in order to get back to my hotel… 🙁
Wasn’t very fun afterall…
So, the next few days I decided to stick to more crowded areas! haha 🙂
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu