Edinburgh was the second city we visited during our UK trip last August 2016. It is the capital city of Scotland and we were fortunate enough to spend 2 full days at this beautiful and historic place. A popular annual event (every August) called the Edinburgh Military Tattoo was also celebrated when we were there. The reason why there were performances and events happening all over the city.
Coming from Belfast City, N. Ireland, we took a 1 hour plane ride with Easyjet to reach Edinburgh. We were supposed to arrive around 10 in the evening, but due to the delay, we reached the place around past 12 midnight. It was raining and freezing that time. We rode an airport bus going to the city center, then from there we took a cab going to our hotel. We had a bad experience during our first night, which is due to our stupidity, that’s why I don’t want to write about it (haha). But just an advise, if you don’t know where to go, please approach or ask somebody (trustworthy), and don’t always rely on Google maps (I bet you already have an idea. haha). Anyway, we arrived safely at the Beaverbank Place, which is the name of the accommodation we chose to stay. It is actually a student dorm, that’s why we really didn’t expect a lot from it. It is cheap, the room is small but clean, it got an ensuite bathroom, wifi is free, the staffs are helpful and the place is safe. It is just a 5 minute ride or 20 minute walk from the city center. Transportation is not a problem as there are bus stops within the area, and if you want to buy something, there are 2 grocery stores nearby. So this blog is becoming a hotel review (haha). I’ve already got a lot of introduction, so here’s what we did in Edinburgh.
This is the facade of Beaverbank Place and the entrance to the building.
The bed, small bathroom and the common kitchen .
We started our first official day by visiting the Edinburgh Castle. We bought our ticket online, on the day of our trip, because the weather that time was very unpredictable. We took a bus from our hotel, then we walked the steep and cobbled stone road leading to the castle. There were a lot of people when we visited, thus we have to fall in line when going to popular exhibitions. That’s also the reason why we were not able to take a lot of photos, since we capture mostly people. So on your visit, be sure to be there early, the castle is open around 9:30 am. We enjoyed walking on the grounds of the castle, and since this is situated at the top of a rock, the views are simply breathtaking.
There are various museums, attractions and exhibitions to go once you are inside. You can budget at least 4 to 5 hours if you want to see and appreciate everything. But if you have limited time, then you will just have to choose those that interest you the most (see pictures below for some that you should not miss). They also offer audio guide and tours of the castle, which is advisable if you want to learn more about its long and tragic history; the battles, uprisings and wars fought that time; events that took place here; and of course the lives and drama of the monarchies ruling this place centuries ago.
St. Margaret’s Chapel – the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh. This is one of the first attractions that you will see once you are inside the castle. Opposite the chapel you can see a famous cannon called the Mons Meg (sorry I don’t have a pic of it).
These are some of the exhibits we saw inside the Royal Palace. We wanted to take pictures of the crown jewels, but obviously, it’s prohibited.
Some parts of the Great Hall. I was looking for pictures of the whole place and I was surprised that we didn’t have any.
One o’clock gun – Fired everyday except Sundays at one o’clock. The first gun was fired in 1861 to provide an audible time signal for ships in the Port of Leith.
Prisoners of War Museum
There were 2 places to eat inside the castle. Since it rained on the day of our visit, we didn’t have any choice but to take our late lunch at one of the cafes called Red Coat Cafe. It was a self service type of eatery. The food was good and for me the price was reasonable. You can also opt to bring your own food, there are areas where you can eat, just be mindful of your trash of course.
We spent nearly 4 hours exploring the castle. I totally enjoyed it. There’s so much history and things to learn at this place, but there are some which I didn’t really absorbed, probably because I am not very familiar with the history of Scotland.
If you are in Edinburgh, a visit to this castle should not be missed. Our first day didn’t end here, but I will be ending this post and continue on Part 2 since this blog is already quite long (haha).