After a long stressful year in college, I couldn’t wait to go to Edinburgh and visit my friend Jacqui.
Edinburgh is a beautiful city, surrounded by hills with a medieval feel. It’s a bit like Belfast, minus the sectarian murals. It’s also quite small and the airport seems tiny in comparison to Dublin.
The first thing I did was wander into Princes’ St Gardens and up the hill beside the castle.
Just beside the castle, is the Parish church of St. Cuthbert which has an old kirkyard or graveyard beside it.
The graveyard has old graves and tombs, some with bizarre inscriptions. There was also a cute wedding complete with pink balloons and tutu bridesmaid skirts taking place but I didn’t want to go too close!
Naturally, I hit Prince’s St which is the Scottish equivalent of Oxford St. It was a lovely sunny day and I’d arrived just in time for the H&M sale.
I also came on holidays without a pair of walking shoes so I bought these cute snakeskin plimsolls for £15 and a floral dress for £7. #bargain
H&M is so cheap in the UK and I spent ages browsing. I have a €5 off voucher from recycling clothes through H&M so may spend that soon.
H&M has some great swimwear and I’m loving this a-line baby blue skirt which also comes in a lovely burgundy red.
I later found the red one in a charity shop back in Dublin.
Word to the wise, you now have to pay for plastic bags in shops in the UK.
I was lured into the giant stuffy Primark and spent ages trying stuff before buying fake septum rings, a Star Wars t-shirt and high-waisted shorts.
I ended up bringing the shorts back as they just didn’t fit right, however.
The fake septum ring was not a good idea either as it was very loose and I kept feeling like I would inhale it!
Southbridge is where most of the charity shops are located, the British Heart Foundation shop is particularly good.
On my second day, I headed up Arthur’s Seat, an ancient extinct volcano overlooking the city.
Here’s the beauty of Edinburgh, everywhere you go there’s something you can climb to look out over the city.
Some places such as the Scots Monument and the observatory at Calton Hill charge a fee of £5 for “the best view of Edinburgh” but if you ask me the best view is from Arthur’s Seat and will cost nothing except perspiration!
Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill are conveniently close to the city, so close, in fact, you can walk to both. Arthur’s Seat is quite a long climb but it doesn’t get tough till near the end.
I was distracted by a pheasant (or a grouse?!) and many other photo ops on the way up! If you’ve ever climbed Croagh Patrick, Arthur’s Seat is certainly easier.
The views from the top are breathtaking, from the city to the sea.
The weather was great (although I suspect not as good as in Ireland, I managed to go away during the heatwave).
The hot weather at home meant I foolishly brought almost all summery clothing with me and I was not prepared for the chilly evenings in the north!
Also climbing + dresses is not advised. The wind and gravity were conspiring against my wardrobe choices on Arthur’s Seat.
At Calton Hill, it was even harder to climb up the monument without compromising myself!
The monument is dedicated to the Scottish military and navy who died in the Napoleonic wars.
I returned to the city past Holyrood Palace, the Scottish Parliament and the Royal Mile.
The Royal Mile is full of touristy shops, with slogans such as “Thistle do” and souvenirs ranging from sporrans to whiskey flavour condoms!
I sampled an Irn-Bru on my journey.
This was not the only Scottish delicacy I tasted. I also had chip shop sauce which is sort of a brown sauce but with vinegar, delicious with fish and chips.
I mistook this for maple syrup at my friend’s house… Oh and I had some “porage” also.
But no haggis or deep-fried Mars Bar. 😦 Jacqui told me “Haggis is like black pudding..but more sheepy.”…yum
My third day was spent exploring the Scottish National Gallery which has an amazing collection.
It is free to the public although they encourage making a donation. It also has seats and wifi if you get tired.
I particularly liked the Scottish painters and the Painting as Spectacle exhibition. The gallery is in the city centre and opens every day.
After two low key nights, we went to the Three Sisters for a night out. Cue too much pre-drinking, some vague memories of dancing and arguments with a taxi driver. I had fun is all I know 😉
After resting my head on fluffy pillows for hours and cooking a pizza in the microwave (don’t ask) I was ready to face the outside world again!
I had intended to do the castle and visit Stockbridge on my last day but I was really tired and just stayed in the city centre..window shopping of course. 🙂
I loved Edinburgh and can’t wait to go there again. If you’re visiting bring a rucksack as it’s much easier to have when climbing and some sensible shoes.
Also, bring a jacket for the evenings and some climbing-appropriate clothing!
It’s a very affordable city, the buses are the easiest way to get around and a day ticket for the bus is only £4.
Big thank you to my hostess Jacqui, I don’t think I laughed so much in months, it was the perfect tonic for a frazzled Master’s student.
If you’re Insta-obsessed, then check out Sarah’s Five Instagrammable Places in Edinburgh – she’s a photographer so she knows what she’s talking about!
I’m delighted to have been nominated for the Irish Blog Awards again and will have a festival fashion post up soon.