Sunday 5 January 2020

Travel Diaries - Edinburgh

Hello again and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a magical new year and are ready for the year 2020. I thought I would kick off the new year with a brand new Travel Diaries post as they're my favourite posts to write and I know you all love them - so without further or do here is my Edinburgh Travel Diaries.

So over the Christmas period I was lucky enough to visit Edinburgh twice, first trip was just a day trip with my Dad who was visiting from Singapore and the second time was for New Year with my boyfriend, I did different bits and pieces on both trips so will be speaking about both trips! I've been to Edinburgh before and it is such a gorgeous place and even more magical around Christmas with the markets and Hogamany celebrations. But there is also so much to do generally in Edinburgh from venturing round the castle and learning about the history to whisky distilry experiences for those who are fond of their whisky to being scared out your skin and learning about the gory history of Edinburgh in The Dungeons - so there is something for everyone, and it is such a relaxed place aside from all the touristy bits and pieces to see and do. My last trip will have been my third time to Edinburgh and there is still so much I want to see and do, like the zoo which I've heard is amazing and I am very keen on trying out the very famous pub crawl through Edinburgh - summer plans maybe? But my trips to Edinburgh were amazing and I am excited to share the bits and pieces we ended up doing and hopefully this may help you if you have a trip planned or are thinking of booking a trip.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a must see when in Edinburgh, its the main tourist hotspot with people travelling from all around the world to see and explore the castle. You can just go up to see it for free but to go inside you need to buy a ticket, and I would advise buying online before to save a little bit of money - online tickets are £17.50 and there are discounts if you live in Scotland, and I think tickets on the day are around £20. The castle is absolutely beautiful inside and it has amazing views of the city which is an amazing opportunity for some cute instas - just saying. But there is so much rich history and culture and it is so interesting, even for those who aren't that interested in history, they have so many different ways of informing you rather than reading off hundreds of boards - which I personally loved. It can take a while to get around everything but if you had a brief wander around you could do it in a morning/afternoon. I would also look out for events they may have on in the castle at certain points in the year, as I know when we went in early December they had a projection show and they had various events on in the summer, so definitely keep your eye out!

BAR RECOMMENDATION - If you've finished walking round the castle and fancy somewhere to stop and have a relaxed drink, there is a bar just down the way from the castle called Kirks. It as beautiful views as it over looks the gardens/where the Christmas markets are, the staff are amazing and the beer they have is amazing. It's only small but an amazing little spot we found which I'd recommend to anyone.

Edinburgh Dungeons

The dungeons are an amazing attraction to go to, they have a few scattered across the country and its great fun whilst learning so much about the places dark and kind of gory history. Edinburgh dungeons was by far the best one I've visited! The actors were amazing and there was so many features I've never seen before including a boat ride and a drop tower. The actors are so fun and interactive and really made you feel like your in the time your being told about, and the funny thing is you learn so much without even knowing or trying. My favourite part of the Edinburgh Dungeons was learning about the story of Sawney Bean and his family, a group of killer cannibals who killed over 5000 over number of years. The actors in this area was amazing, scary in some parts but amazing none the less, and me and Oliver found ourselves googling after we left as we was so intrigued to learn more about Sawney Bean which I think proves the point of learning without even knowing. But all of the attraction was amazing and I would definitely recommend trying to make time for it in your trip.

TOP TIP - If your travelling into Edinburgh by train you can grab yourself 2-4-1 tickets for the dungeons - all you need to do is pop in the train station you travelled from and the date into a vouchers website and you get e-mailed a link. You do need to print it BUT if you show the link on your phone to one of the staff they give you an e-mail to send your link to and they print it for you which I thought was fab. I will link the website below!

Edinburgh Dungeons 2-4-1 Voucher

Camera Obscura and Illusions Museum

Another popular tourist spot is the Obscura attraction, it is just before the entrance to the castle. It's main feature is the camera obscura, which is what I can only describe as a massive camera/projection of the city simply using light. It's very clever and worth a visit, but there is also 3 or 4 floors of illusions and there lots of interactive stuff to do as well. Tickets aren't that expensive either and if your a student make sure you bring your ID as you can get them a little cheaper. They do also accept UNiDAYs too which is good as I find with attractions and such they can be quite funny with those sorts of student ID's! It is a fun thing to do for a few hours and would recommend a trip if you have time but it can get very busy so best to go earlier in the morning or wait until the evening. The queues seemed to be ridiculously long around mid-day.

TOP TIP - When your looking at going to any attraction or tourist spot, make sure you check sites such as GROUPON or WOWCHER or even EXPEDIA to see if there are any offers you can grab before you pay full prices at the door. Even if you save a couple of quid its better than nothing.

Edinburgh Old Town and Royal Mile and Grassmarket

Edinburgh as a whole is so traditionally English, if you know what I mean, cobbled streets and victorian buildings. A few places I would definitely recommend having a wander around is the Old Town, Royal Mile and Grass Market - full of pubs, quirky little stores and amazing traditional restaurants. A gorgeous street called Victoria Street is full of Harry Potter stores, so if like me and you're a massive Harry Potter nerd you'll love looking in these little stores and its said that this street was one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley as J.K.Rowling wrote some of the books in Edinburgh. Which swiftly brings me to The Elephant House cafe which is round the corner from Victoria Street, where J K Rowling actually wrote some of the Harry Potter books, and you can pop in and grab a drink or some brekkie. But one of the quirky parts of the cafe is the toilets where fans from all over the globe have doodled and wrote messages - it really is amazing. But  these parts of Edinburgh are amazing for grabbing drinks in traditional pubs and finding quirky, independent stores.

TOP TIP - If you fancy visiting some of the oldest pubs in Edinburgh - head to Grassmarket, there are so many pubs including ones over 100 years old, then you can follow onto Victoria Street and then proceed to The Old Town. Best thing about Edinburgh is most things are within walking distance so you don't have to worry about transport.

Christmas Markets

The Christmas Markets are simply beautiful, and a definite stop if your over there around the Christmas period. They run a lot longer than most markets I've been to, from mid November to early January, and there is so much to do and see. Everything from stalls selling delicious food and quirky products from all around the globe. There is a lot of bars which is a great opportunity to have a drink or two or ten in the Christmas atmosphere, and amazing rides and shows. It really does have a bit of everything for whatever you prefer to do. The thing I love about the Edinburgh Christmas Markets is that even if it is really busy you don't really feel it as it is laid out so well, compared to Manchester Markets where it is absolute chaos. I would safely say Edinburgh Markets are by far my favourite out of all the Christmas Markets I've been to. Also another part of the markets I would definitely recommend going to is the outdoor bars next to Edinburgh Waverley Mall, one is called Thor's I think but I'm not sure what the other is called but they're right next to each other. But they are basically massive tee-pees where you can drink and grab local food and they have live singers on. It is such a great atmosphere and just a fab place to stop off for a drink and enjoy an amazing atmosphere. A must do for sure!


The main reason we came for our last trip was to go the Hogmanay New Year celebrations and it was incredible. There is a street party and a main gig in the gardens where Rudimental and Mark Ronson was playing and it was such fun! There is a Main Street Party where they have bars, live acts, street performers and music playing and it is just an amazing atmosphere. Everyone is happy, drunk and just living their best life. After a few drinks and a boogy we headed into the main gig in the gardens, just to let you know you need separate tickets for both the street party and the gig. Fortunately my dad very kindly bought ours for us, but I think for both of us to do both part it was around £200ish. It is expensive but definitely worth it as there is so much going on, but you are able to buy one or the other so you don't have to do both. Rudimental and Mark Ronson were class and I did get very merry, had a boogy and saw the New Year in with amazing company. The one and only complaint I had, and its so silly, is that the only beer they was selling on the official bars were BREWDOG, and I just was not happy with that. But besides that, haha, it was an amazing night and would recommend to anyone to do it! Apologies for the lack of decent pictures from the Hogamany, wine and that, hehe.

And this concludes my first Travel Diaries of 2020! Short and sweet, but I hope you've enjoyed it and its maybe helped out if your planning on taking a trip up to Edinburgh soon. I have so many travels planned for this year so be sure to keep your eye out as I absolutely love writing these and sharing a few snaps I get from each place.

Let me know if you've got any travel plans this year!

Thank for reading and I will see you on the next one...

Amy Shipley


Prod UA said...
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Prod UA said...

Thanks for this post!
I really wish I had found it earlier as I had so little time to carry out decent research… travel Edinburgh by car