Three Contiki Chicks (the name I called our WhatsApp group) were reunited for a week of British sightseeing. The three of us (a Canadian, a Scot and a Me) all met six months prior in Italy on a Contiki trip. A turn of events and good timing…maybe fate…allowed us to hangout for a week. I’ve already blogged and made a post on our Isle of Skye trip which you can read here. However, the trip technically started in Edinburgh. We weren’t setting off for Skye until the following day which meant myself and Canadian friend Jen had about 24 hours to see Edinburgh.
I believe seeing a city can be done in a day. Along with a bit of research and key tourist photo stops you can definitely get the taste of the place. A local to take you around means less time is spent finding transport and places to eat. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my amazing dessert if it wasn’t for Nicola picking the restaurant!
So here it is my 24 hours in Edinburgh travel guide.
To start the day, we grabbed a coffee and hot chocolate and had a walk round Princes Street Gardens. Situated at the bottom of Edinburgh Castle the gardens are beautifully kept with plenty of colourful flowers. Greeted with sunshine in Edinburgh we timed our trip perfectly. After a wander round, we started the cobbled street incline and set off for the castle.
Edinburgh Castle opens at 9:30am and for us at 9:50 was a great time to join the mini queue. Around £17.00 for entry and there’s no limit of time spent walking around which means it’s great for quick visits and full day explorers. Edinburgh Castle overlooks the New Town and has some amazing views. It takes a little imagination to picture what it used to look like back in the 16th century but the sheer height and vass panoramic view made me think of the saying, “I’m the King of the castle and you’re the dirty wee rascal”. At One’oclock you can see the firing of the gun which happens daily. You can view the Scottish crown jewels, see the great hall and get an insight of life for the prisoners of war. A couple hours is a good estimate of time for quick visits.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to eat lunch. We arrived after lunch the first day and then left the next day around lunch time. Of course, that didn’t stop me having a look for next time. Glenha’s Café Sandwich Bar looked like a cosy place. A great place for a spot of lunch, a little more sightseeing, shopping and selfies is the Royal Mile which can be found in the Old Town. Here you can also find street acts and there’s plenty of side streets to venture down. Around this area you’ll find sites like Greyfriars Bobby Memorial, St Giles’ Cathedral and plenty more for photo opportunities.
Also, in the New Town, the Scott Monument is worth a look. One thing I didn’t realise is that you can go up by spiral staircase to the top of Scott Monument and see a view of Edinburgh, which I hope the 250+ steps are worth. That’s on the list to do next time!
As it was a Contiki reunion it made sense to dine in an Italian restaurant. Amarone was the choice and on further research I can confirm that they have still to branch out of Scotland. I hope they open shop in Manchester soon! You can fine Amarone in New Town which is just a stone’s throw away from Old Town. The food was mega and atmosphere relaxed, if you’re visiting Edinburgh and are craving Italian I recommend Amarone. Pollo Funghi e Pancetta and Chocolate Delice was what I ordered for all you foodies out there!
To end our evening in Edinburgh, we booked a walking tour with City Of The Dead Tours. A Haunted Graveyard Tour was what we opted for. £11 each and a very last-minute booking, I’d say we were very jammy. 15 minutes later we were waiting with everyone else to start the tour. In total I think the tour lasted about 1 hr 45 minutes. We walked around Old Town and learnt about all the witch hangings and where the term ‘kick the bucket’ comes from. We then headed to Greyfriars Graveyard. There we were told about the huge graves where thousands are buried, the grave robbers and how they did it, we also got to spend some time in a crypt which has a resident poltergeist inside, fun times. It was an enjoyable night full of spooky history, harry potter and scares!
‘Kick the bucket’ refers to the act they carried out when hanging. A person would be stood on a bucket with a noose around their neck. When it was time, someone would kick the bucket out of the way and the person would hang.
Harry Potter? Well a fun fact I learnt is that J K Rowling supposedly was inspired by some gravestones for her characters names in Harry Potter. Thomas Riddle and William McGonagall can be found at Greyfriars Graveyard.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh? Let me know in the comments below.
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