I visited Scotland during my summer traveling through Europe with my best friend, Teresa. I had had a desire to travel here for quite some time and wish I had been able to spend more time exploring this interesting place. I am determined to return here someday to visit other towns, the highlands and islands, and be the one to provide photographic proof that the Loch Ness Monster does indeed exist.

We drove here from York, England and spent the first part of our day driving to Edinburgh. We spent the middle part of our day driving around lost in Edinburgh. We ended our day by walking around Edinburgh. By the way, if you don’t want to sound like a tourist, you shouldn’t pronounce the ‘g’ sound in Edinburgh. If you really want to impress the locals, add a slight ‘uh’ sound to the end! 🙂

We took advantage of the lovely weather provided just for us 🙂 and wandered around the city for a bit and walked along the Royal Mile. We stopped at The Tass to eat dinner and it ended up being quite an experience!

the tass

I had never been served an entire, whole fish before! There it lay on my plate – skin, tale, head, eyes all intact. Poor Teresa couldn’t even look at it during the entire meal. But it was good! 🙂

Our second day in Edinburgh was supposed to bring a lot of rain but it held off until the end of the day. Even though it didn’t rain, it was still very chilly and dreary. But we still enjoyed a rainless day!

royal mile

We started our day at Edinburgh Castle which is located on a rocky mound above the city. We toured the National War Museum, visited St. Margaret’s Chapel which is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, walked through the Scottish National War Memorial, and saw the crown jewels (slightly less impressive than the crown jewels at the Tower of London – but still impressive to me!).

edinburgh castle

We then visited the Royal Palace, Regimental Museums and the Great Hall. I have to admit that one of the most moving things I saw there (Teresa would heartily disagree) was the dog cemetery. Oh my gosh! I nearly died.

dog cemetery

Leaving the castle, we walked the entire length of the Royal Mile (1 mile plus 200 yards) to the Palace of Holyroodhouse where the Queen of England stays when she’s in Edinburgh. We toured the Queen’s Gallery which was showcasing an exhibit titled Amazing Rare Things. There were sketches and watercolors by various artists (including Leonardo da Vinci), all depicting plants, animals and insects. It was actually quite fascinating and I enjoyed the exhibit so much more than I thought I would.

After walking through the Queen’s Gallery we proceeded to the Palace itself. We picked up some headphones and walked through the Royal and Historic Apartments, listening to the narration as we went along. I must say that the narration here was one of the best out of all the various places we visited in Europe! Instead of just talking about specific objects and rooms, it gave a lot of the history of the palace which I absolutely loved!

holyroodhouse 1

Finishing with our tour of the palace we walked through the abbey ruins in back and through the gardens. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here!

holyroodhouse 2

Our final day in Edingurgh we enjoyed (not really) nearly eight hours sitting in the Edinburgh airport. Ugh!! But we tried to make the best of it and occupy ourselves by journaling, playing cards, and wishing for a bed to take a nap in. 🙂

Our time in Scotland was short but sweet! I can’t wait to return someday and explore more of this country!

Accommodations Info & Tips:

While in Edinburgh we stayed at the Belford Guesthouse, a bed and breakfast just outside the city center. The accommodations were decent and clean and our room was large – nothing too special but perfect for us! And breakfast each morning was thoroughly enjoyed. There is also free parking at the B&B which was really nice as we had a car with us.

belford b&b

Once we arrived at the B&B we left our car there and just walked into the city each day. It was a bit of a walk but was a straight shot down one main street. I will say that while walking along the street at night back to our accommodations, I was glad I wasn’t walking alone! I’m sure it was perfectly safe but the area just seemed a bit shady after the sun went down.

Tip: I’m sure this goes without saying for any intelligent person but, make sure you have a detailed map or detailed directions before arriving! Especially if you’re driving in! I don’t know why we would always arrive at various towns, not knowing where we were going, and expect to just run right into our accommodations (although this did kind of happen once!). And it’s really no fun driving around an unfamiliar place completely lost (especially on the “wrong” side of the road!).

We would have never found our B&B if it weren’t for 1) the kindness of a parking meter man who gave us directions, and 2) my shocking and uncharacteristic ability to understand his accent.

While we were in the UK, we each purchased a 7-Day British Heritage Pass which gave us entrance to nearly every castle, cathedral and other historic site we visited (including the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle). I’m so sad to hear that this pass was discontinued in 2012. There are some other passes available in Britain including English Heritage’s Overseas Visitor Pass and the National Trust’s Overseas Visitor Touring Pass – but neither of these include entrance to these two attractions in Edinburgh. 😦

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