As you may recall from this post, I recently ventured up to Scotland to attend the Edinburgh Book Festival and while I did a wrap up of the festival (read it here), I never did a wrap up of my actual trip and thus today, I am rectifying that!
I ended up having a lovely time in Edinburgh, but it definitely went by far too quick and we didn’t get anywhere near enough stuff done so I will simply have to go again at some point.
The Loch Ness
On our very first day in Scotland, we decided that we would take the opportunity to visit the Scottish Highlands. Of course, the highlands are vast and expansive so we couldn’t fit it all in in one day. Thus we decided that we would do the highlight and head out to visit the Loch Ness and try and spot Nessie.
This meant that I ended up driving three and a half hours away from Edinburgh to visit this beautiful natural spot – but it was definitely worth it! We ended up having lunch in this small little cafe near the loch and it was incredibly tasty – I could not recommend the place enough.
Unfortunately though, lunch took a little longer than expected so in the end we only really got a small chance to have a look at a small portion of the Loch Ness before we had to head back to the car and head back to Edinburgh. But, as mentioned above, it was still definitely worth it.
The Real Mary King's Close
One of the things that we absolutely had to do while we were in Edinburgh was to go on a ghost walk. As one of the most haunted cities in the world, it would have been a true shame to have visited and not gone on a tour.
After a recommendation to go to The Real Mary King’s Close, we decided to give the tour a try and were very glad we did. The tour itself was absolutely fascinating, from start to finish. The tour takes you down to where Mary King’s close used to be – which is now underground because they ended up building Edinburgh on top of it.
The guide then takes you through the real history of the close. What residents used to live there and what happened during different periods of history. It was really interesting to hear about all of these diffferent people and how they used to live their lives but the best thing about this tour was walking into one of the rooms that was still intact from when it was first built – over 400 years ago. It was both fascinating and terrifying.
We were then told about the resident ghost and how people leave toys for her as she is a young ghost, left all on her own. It was incredible seeing that there is a whole wall full of toys and other relics in the room from where other visitors have left her things. It definitely brought the whole thing to life.
So I would also, definitely recommend this tour if it’s something you’re interested in!
The Endinburgh Dungeons
This is a tourist attraction that hadn’t been on our original plan but something that we ended up adding when we thought we had enough time for it. What I found most fascinating was that I have been to the London Dungeons and the York Dungeons before so I was able to see how different – or similar – the three attractions are.
All in all, the Edinburgh Dungeons are very similar to the others but also had some new things in that I hadn’t seen before which was quite interesting.
Another attraction that I enjoyed and would definitely recommend!
The Elephant House
As a lover of Harry Potter, it was also a must that while in the city, we had to visit The Elephant House. It was a truly unique experience being able to see so many fans writing messages on the walls and the merchandise for the shop was really cool too.
Sadly we didn’t have time to eat but maybe next time!
It wouldn’t be a holiday without some shopping, right? We ended up going to a few Harry Potter shops, a Disney shop, Blackwell’s (obviously), Sketchers, an american style sweetshop, the Works and an independent shop.
It was great to have a little look around these places and buy some new things – including some gifts for family. There are some fab shops in Edinburgh!
I absolutely loved Edinburgh even though we didn’t manage to do a lot of the things I wanted to do – like the castle and Arthur’s seat – so I am positive that I will be heading back again at some point. I would also definitely recommend it as a city to visit! The only advice I will say is that if you’re not the biggest fan of crowds, try not to go during the book festival and the fringe!