I get asked fairly regularly to recommend itineraries or places to see when visiting Scotland, so I thought I’d put up a few posts with my recommendations, starting with Edinburgh itself. So! Without further ado..
A wee disclaimer: This is not a massive list because I usually write these for people who are here for a really short time! An itinerary for longer trips will come later.
EDINBURGH, PART ONE
Edinburgh is a compact city. Most of it is very walkable, but there is also an excellent bus and tram system. I’d recommend purchasing a day ticket if you are going to get lots of buses, but it’s actually not necessary if you’re not venturing too far out and have a car for the rest of your visit to Scotland.
Transport from the airport:
I recommend the tram, especially if you are staying centrally. They run every 8-12 minutes and it takes about 35 minutes to get into the city. It’s £5 one way, £8 return and there are machines so you can use a card, etc. Alternatively, if you are staying in Corstorphine, Murrayfield, etc, then take the Airport Bus (#100, bright blue and available right outside arrivals).
Places to stay:
Central hotels, with varying prices-
Apex Hotel (Chain, ****) – http://www.apexhotels.co.uk/en/hotels/edinburgh/
The Rutland (Boutique) – http://www.therutlandhotel.com/
Ibis South Bridge (Chain, ***) – http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-8484-ibis-edinburgh-centre-south-bridge/index.shtml
The Sheraton (Chain, ****, rooftop pool!) – http://www.sheratonedinburgh.co.uk/
And there are also budget spots-
Hostelworld is your best bet – http://www.hostelworld.com/hostels/Edinburgh
Also there are quite a few places in the Lochside area – Ibis Budget, Premier Inn.. which seems a bit far out on a map but is on the tram route so super easy (and quiet, cause it’s near business parks!)
There’s also an Easyhotel on Princes St.
It’s super quick to get into Edinburgh on a bus, if central prices put you off and you can find a good deal a bit further out. We have great B&Bs! Look in the Roseburn, Murrayfield, Corstorphine areas.
To Do/Itinerary ideas:
|Princes St/George St||The majority of our shopping is on or near Princes St and is known as Edinburgh’s ‘high street’ (in the UK this is what you’d call the main street for shopping etc – don’t confused with the actual High Street, that’s the Royal Mile.. sorry!). George St is one block up and a bit more upmarket.|
|Calton Hill||At the far end of Princes St you’ll reach St. James Shopping Centre on your left, cross over to the next corner, pass a Howie’s restaurant and an Apex hotel. Keep going towards the monuments you can see up ahead. Take the staircase, then turn right and walk up the hill. This is a free view out over Edinburgh/the craigs. Worth the short hike!|
|Scott Monument/Princes St Gardens||The Scott Monument is the dark gothic rocket-ship-looking thing on Princes St. You can go up for a view of Edinburgh for about £4. Small spiral staircases (just a warning in case you’re claustrophobic). The gardens are also nice for a wander/a good view from below the Castle.|
|Rose Street||In between Princes St and George St there is a pedestrianised street with small restaurants and bars.|
Royal Mile/Old Town
Walk along Princes St past the train station until you reach the Balmoral Hotel. Turn right and walk up South Bridge to the “Royal Mile”.
|Edinburgh Castle||A must. A bit steep at £16 a person, but also has excellent views out over Edinburgh.|
|Tartan Weaving Mill||Free and basic, a good way to see tartan being made, research tartans, try on tartans and get a “ye olde” style photo, buy tourist ‘tat’.|
|The Scotch Whisky Experience||A fun museum about whisky. And you get tasters, etc.|
|Grassmarket/nearby||Take George IV bridge and turn right onto Victoria St (my favourite street in Edinburgh), then at the bottom you’ll be on the Grassmarket. Pubs galore. There is also a great vintage/thrift shop called Armstrong’s that is worth visiting.|
|Holyrood Palace/Holyrood Park/Arthur’s Seat||At the bottom of the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace, where the Queen stays when she is in Edinburgh. You can book a tour. It is also at the entrance to the Holyrood Park (very pretty) and Arthur’s Seat (the large hill in the park, which is actually an extinct volcano! So is the Castle hill!). Not too tough a climb and a great view.|
That’s covering some of the more touristy stuff. My next post will cover a few other interesting spots and venture out of Edinburgh!