Love at first sight!
It’s pretty much how I would describe my first ever glance at the beauty of Edinburgh. The gloomy weather didn’t beat the unique landscape of the historical city. As soon as I came out of the train station, the first thing I did was to take out my camera and started taking photos! I didn’t mind the drizzle and the 2 degrees weather. After all, it was my first time to travel for leisure alone – might as well make the most of it, rain or shine!
So how did I get to Edinburgh?
I arrived at Edinburgh from London via Caledonian Sleeper. This is an overnight train that takes you to Waverley Railway station. At the time of writing, there’s only one time slot from London Euston (23:50) to Edinburgh (7:24). I opted for the standard class and paid £80.00. I booked very late but I think you can get a cheaper rate if you book in advance. Detailed information is found on their website: https://www.sleeper.scot
Upon arriving at the station, I saw this and made me so excited to begin my two-day journey!
If you’re like me who only had 2 days, I suggest that you book an accommodation that’s near Waverley station because it means you’re near the popular spots. I stayed at The Place Hotel which I highly recommend. DO NOTE however that they don’t have elevators but they will offer help to carry your things. I stayed at the 3rd floor which is not too bad.
Getting around Edinburgh
While the city is a walkable area, it is also very convenient to use public transportation (to save time!). I purchased a day ticket for each day as it’s much cheaper. I only paid £4.00 per day for unlimited bus rides. For more info, visit https://www.lothianbuses.com/tickets/
There are different bus routes but the Lothian buses are the ones you will need the most to go around the key areas in Edinburgh.
And now, let the journey begins!
Here are the places I’ve been to in Edinburgh within two days. I didn’t go inside any museums because I felt that I’ve enough in London.
I used google maps to find out how to get from A to B. You can also download the routes if you won’t have internet connection during your travel.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Opening times: 9AM-6PM
Purchase your ticket online to avoid the queue. You can print your own tickets at the dedicated booths before the main entrance.
2. Princes Gardens
Ticket: Free entrance (public park)
I wasn’t able to further explore this area because it was getting so cold, plus the drizzles. I think the best time to visit this garden is during spring or summer when you get better lighting. But here’s a peek of what I’ve seen
3. The Royal Mile
Each time I think of Edinburgh, this is what get into my mind first (and probably what most of your research will tell you). The theme gives a feeling of gothic/medieval kind of ambiance, topped with men fully dressed in scottish outfit playing saxophone.
4. St. Giles Cathedral
Being the second city I went to in Europe that, I was so fascinated by St. Giles Cathedral. The ceiling is nice and the color gives a little modern touch to it. Entrance is free but if you’d like to take photos inside, you need to pay £1 or 2 (I can’t remember but definitely either of these amount)
5. Victoria Street
If you fancy owning a genuine scottish tweed, Victoria Street is the place to find variety of them! It’s a bit pricey but there are cheaper options however the catch is, it’s not made in Scotland, rather in China. So the decision is yours to make!
There’s also lots of restaurants within the area. Of course if you prefer to go to the famous Elephant House where JK Rowling and many writers spend time writing or getting inspiration for their novels, go 🙂 I didn’t manage to go there instead I ate at the Maison Bleue which is right at the center of Victoria Street. The place is very nice and cozy.
Right at the downhill curvy Victoria Street leads you to the Grassmarket where you can buy locally-made accessories, cheese, macaroons and a lot more.
6. Calton Hill
I feel that the gloomy winter season added charm (or creepiness if you want) to this place. The misty ambiance made me remember the old English films! It’s a little bit steep but very easy to climb.
7. Circus Lane
A residential area, this place is so picturesque! I feel that this is one of the off-beaten track in Edinburgh. Love the cobblestones that match the houses
8. Stockbridge Market
Food market! I did regret not having enough cash left because some stores only accept cash. You can find delicious chocolates, jams, cheeses, and other local delicacies.
**From Circus Lane to Stockbridge Market, you will see lots of clothing shops (local brands) and cafes. My eyes feasted to the beauty of this area. Not so much tourists too I would say (or maybe because I was visiting in the coldest time of the year)
9. Dean Village
Similar to the Circus Lane, this is a residential area with lots of beautiful and picturesque houses. I had a long walk from Stockbridge Market to Dean Village. I came to the point of giving up and just go back to my hotel because it was getting so cold, gloomy (and eerie!). But I’m glad I pushed through as I was rewarded with these views.
BUT… your journey will start with this eerie views. Imagine I was walking alone in the area – cool and breezy! And on the side, I hear gushing river
10. City-center Shopping
Near the Waverley Station, there are lots of familiar international shops you can browse from (plus of course, Primark). What I enjoyed about shopping in Scotland is that there are lots of local brands with unique offerings – from traditional, vintage to modern styles.
Sorry, I got no photos to show you here. By this time, my camera was already inside my bag as my hands was pretty busy looking for great finds! 🙂
Getting back to London:
I took the Virgin train from Waverley to London Kings Cross station. The journey took me 4 hours and 43 minutes, the good news is that the seat is very comfortable so I was able to sleep and rest the whole time. I paid £17.00 for the return ticket.
Other places I wanted to see or do but wasn’t able to, primarily because of time constraint:
- Scotch Whisky experience
- Camera Obscura Edinburgh
- Arthur’s seat (I was told the view at the hilltop is amazing but I dare not to go because the weather was not on my side, sub-zero!)
- Glasgow (an hour from Edinburgh)
- Ghost bus tour (night): I would definitely try this when I come back with my husband! Interesting to know the dark side of the history
- Some museums like the Portrait Gallery and National Museum of Scotland
Up to the time of writing, it’s still surreal to think that I have been to Scotland. A place that I’ve always wanted to see and discover. Definitely worth a weekend trip but if you have more time, I think adding one more day or two would bring you to interesting finds! 🙂
You can also check out my Edinburgh higlights on my IG stories.