Edinburgh in the summer is such a joy to see. Groups of people hanging out in the Meadows, every square inch of grass in the Princes St Gardens is occupied, the swell of bagpipes from the old town floats down through the hazy sun and the whole city has a festival atmosphere.
Visiting Edinburgh was always high on our trip list. Filled with history, amazing gothic architecture, rugged landscapes and maybe the world’s most interesting accent – what’s not to love? We also had an ear full of advice from our Scottish-now-Aussie friend Linzi, with threats not to return without trying Tattie Scones, IRN-BRU and visiting her lovely mum. All now accomplished!
Catching the east coast train up from London Kings Cross, we arrived in Edinburgh a comfortable 4 hours later. Getting a bus is a lot cheaper than the train, but can take much longer, and lacks the amazing views along the east coast. Book well in advance for the best price, this was one of the only things we booked before we left Australia.
The sun was shining on us for our four days in the city, allowing us to enjoy Edinburgh at its very best.
Apparently, this is absolutely unheard of weather in Edinburgh and we were intent on making the most of it.
We instantly fell in love with the winding cobbled streets of the old town, the incessant sound of bagpipes almost everywhere you go and tourist shops full of tartan and whiskey. Wandering the city’s streets we soon became happily lost amongst the little alleyways and hidden squares.
Our Edinburgh Top Picks
There’s so much more to see and do in the city, we’ve just had a taste of what’s on offer!
Chill out here in the sun, bring a frisbee, picnic blanket, wine, charcoal bbq or card game and enjoy the late setting of the summer sun (we imagine it’s pretty beautiful under snow too!)
- Old Town
Explore the cobbled streets, listen to a tune on the bagpipes, try a dram of whiskey and get kitted out in tartan til your heart’s content. Be prepared to walk up and down some steep hills.
- Calton Hill
Venture here if you’re after a good uphill walk, magnificent views over the city and some interesting hilltop monuments.
- Dean village
A picture perfect village, complete with yellow houses and babbling brook.
- Princes St Gardens
Stroll through the centre of the city, chill out on the lawn with the rest of the populace admiring the gardens.
- Arthur’s Seat
Fancy a hike in the middle of the city? Then this is walk is a must. Be rewarded with outstanding views over Edinburgh or relax in the extensive parkland to escape the city.
- Edinburgh Castle
It’s hard to miss this integral part of Edinburgh’s skyline, you could definitely walk around here for a few hours.
- Palace of Holyrood House
Love the Royal Family? Yes, us too. The Palace is the Queen’s official residence when visiting Edinburgh, why wouldn’t you want to check it out?!
- Edinburgh Fringe
If you’re lucky enough to be in Edinburgh during the festival don’t miss it, OR plan ahead and get to Edinburgh specifically for it!
3 Essential Edinburgh Travel Tips
1. Walk and use buses to get around
Edinburgh is best seen on foot, but it also has a great bus network that gets you across and around town cheaply and quickly. Make sure you have some spare change on hand because you need exact amount to buy a ticket from the driver – no change given. You can hire bikes if you like, but fair warning, this place is hilly.
2. Get high at night
No, not like that! We mean literally. Edinburgh has some amazing viewpoints such as Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill that make for great sunset viewing. You can also climb the iconic Scott’s Monument for a small fee, but check the opening times first because we just missed that last entry.
3. Ditch the Google maps
Edinburgh is honestly one of the best cities to just wander and get lost in. There is so much to discover around every corner. It’s not really that big either and the layout is rather easy to get the hang of so you will find your way back to where you need to be eventually.
Our favourite Edinburgh memories
RELAX in the sun in the Meadows.
EXPLORE the pretty scenery around Dean Village.
SOAK up the sound of bagpipes in the Old Town.
SIP on an Irn Bru – we quickly became addicted to this delicious creamy orange drink.
PUFF your way up either Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill for beautiful views over the city.
We loved our time in Edinburgh so much we’re contemplating moving there! Our impression may be slightly swayed by the freaking perfect weather we had, but it’s hard to come here and not fall under its charm.
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