City Trip : 3 days in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, charming little city, which I was excited to visit … and particularly during the holiday season. This city has everything to charm you, from its architecture to the food, by its museums and Harry Potter.

Let me bring back to those 3 days in Edinburgh …

I choose to stay in a hostel I can recommend even more : Code Hostel. I loved the experience there since this is a private box where your bed is with a shelf and outlets, closed by a curtain. In that way, in your dorm, no one can see you and vice versa. You get a big locker where you can leave your important belongings. The bathroom, with 2 showers, 1 toilet and 2 sinks, is shared for 2 dorms. Breakfast is served every morning. Everything was super clean and spacious. The staff was super friendly. Go to check there website here.

Day 1 : Old Town

It is the heart of the city, with its castle and its paved streets. Walk around the Royal Mile, this big street from Edinburgh Castle for 1,5 km. You will get all along the street cafes, bars and souvenir shops. Also, think about wandering in the closes, which are tiny paths that lead into an interior court away from the noisy main street.

Royal Mile

Go down to Victoria Street, a colorful street … For Instagram lovers, this is a nice spot ! Down the street, you will come across Grassmarket. A small market stands here every Saturday. But I was disappointed because it was really tiny, only few stands and no charm.

victoria street
Victoria Street

You can go on to the National Museum of Scotland, about 5-10 minutes by foot. In Edinburgh, same as London, a lot of museums are free. But if you have to choose one, I recommend this one. It is very unique in his own way and the entire collection is a piece of every kind of art, from children to adults.

Then, go up by the South Bridge avenue which will take you on the Royal Mile.

National Museum of Scotland

Day 2 : New Town & Stockbridge

At the first day light, you can go up Carlton Hill just to warm up, à 10 minutes from the center. You will get a nice vue over Edinburgh.

carlton hill
Carlton Hill

Why not start your day by a free walking tour of Edinburgh ? Register at Sandemans Free Tour here. The tour lasts about 2h30 hrs with a local guide. I loved this visit, mainly in the Old Town. The guide will tell you about architecture, previous stories, famous people and Harry Potter. For the big fans of Harry Potter, you have to know that he was born there. All the writer’s inspirations were from Edinburgh, whether the school or character’s names. The tour is free but you can give a little tip at the end of it.

Some shops are exclusively dedicated to Harry Potter, you will find 2 official ones, one on Victoria Street and the other on Cockburn Street. A third one is just a reseller of Harry Potter but not only, on South Bridge Street. You can find all merchandises such as mugs, pens, posters … but also, objects created in the book like the magical wands or broomsticks !

After the tour, get yourself into the north-west corner of the city in Stockbridge neighborhood passing by a nice little bucolic Circus Lane street. If you walking here on a Sunday, you will find the Stockbridge Market. Bigger market than Grassmarket one, but there are plenty of local products stands and food. It was very charming.

Circus Lane

It is located near a river, the Water of Leigh. A really nice walking along the river. A path is dedicated for it, so you can get away from the city for a while. By walking about 20 minutes, the charming Dean Village will come onto you.

Dean Village

Get back to the city center. You might cross George Street. On the holiday season, a Christmas market is settled : little decorated huts, food, sensational rides and you also can ice skating ! But George Street is also where you can find a higher price point shops, if you want to do you Christmas shopping, it might be a good option.

If you go down to the main street Princes Street, you will get into the second and biggest Christmas market of Edinburgh. This is the same kind of market but the lights, the location and the ambiance make you feel good here. Of course, avoid week ends because it will be super crowded.

Christmas Market

Day 3 : Arthur’s Seat

Last day, and to get fit, nothing is better than to go up Arthur’s Seat. Allow 20 minutes to go to the site and then, about 30 to 45 minutes of climb. The high point of this previous volcano will give you an amazing view of the whole city.

Beautiful view on the other side of Arthur’s Seat

Several paths more or less longer or difficult can get you to the high point. The easiest one, I have been advised, is to start the climb from Queen’s Drive, near the parliament. Your instinct will tell you to take the path on the right side, because it is the obvious one, but not the easiest. The quicker and easiest is to surround the volcano on the other side, so take the left path. A sign will even guide you to Arthur’s Seat. After few minutes of walking, you will feel like being lost in the middle of Scotland nature hills. But this path is muddy and slippery, grab good shoes. The last step of the climbing is a rocky muddy that you might use your hand to climb up. But the view you will get is amazing !

To go down, you will get few options but the coolest one is to take the path on the other side, where you can see a mini lake.

You can end this day by finishing some last minute shopping and enjoy a little bit more of the ambiance of the city.

My advices:

  • At the airport, you get to the center in 30 minutes with the bus n°100 for £ 7,50 round trip (or £ 4,50 one way)
  • Take good shoes because the city is paved, there are ups and downs and you will walk a lot
  • You can walk easily in the whole city, no need to take public transportation
  • In Scotland, weather is not really friendly … but I got lucky, my 3 days were sunny !!
  • In winter, the sun gets up super late, around 8:30 am … and goes down super early à 4 pm ! In summer time, it is the opposite, you can have daylight until 11 pm …
  • Shops close early too, around 6 pm. Some even earlier at 5 pm !
  • Little coffee shops open until 5 pm. Go try Urban Angel, so gooood !
  • Try local food : fudge, haggis, whisky or even mac & cheese pie …

What do you think about Edinburgh ?

So.

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