If you haven’t already seen it, go catch up with Part 1 >>here<<
On day 2 of our Edinburgh trip, we started our day off with a special breakfast with our lovely friends Elizabeth & Carol who are visiting the UK with their friends Emily and Gennie. We decided to meet at a place called Urban Angel and we had a wonderful time chatting and catching up. We hadn’t met Emily or Gennie before and so it was really interesting to hear all about them and their adventures. Very cool ladies. Also it’s important to point out that M wasn’t the least bit intimidated by having lunch with 5 women – he grew up with sisters, I think he felt right at home!
After breakfast we decided to go to The Royal Yacht Britannia, which is docked at the port in Leith, about 4 miles outside the city centre. We had been given a 10% discount card by out hotel (v cool) and excellent bus directions, but between me and you, I REALLY wanted to try Uber. For those of you that live in cities and Uber is something you’ve had since the beginning of time, I am going to sound like the biggest country bumpkin, but I honestly wanted to give it a go as we don’t have it (properly) in N-le-W.
I am happy to report that I summoned the app, found the taxi, and paid without a single hitch, tracking the journey the entire time on my phone – very cool. On we go!
So The Royal Yacht Britannia was the Royal family’s Yacht till 1997 when it was decommissioned. The Port of Leith won the bid to get it and they set up a charity which looks after it and there is a whole mall around it, presumably for the tourists that come to see it. It was £15 each to get in and was WELL worth the money. There are 6 decks(floors) to look at with almost everything preserved as it was when the Royal Family actually used it. You get a free audio guide and after you’ve seen a small exhibition, you start at the top in the fancy part and end up at the bottom in the crew quarters. I am a Royal Family Fan and so to see where she actually slept and the many dining rooms etc where they entertained was FASCINATING!!
The whole thing was wonderful and it really gives you an insight to what life was like onboard and the reality of being the head of the Royal Family. It also felt like it might have been the only place where they could ever properly relax.I would loved to have seen it in its hey day!
After the Royal Yacht we tried to go and visit the Scottish Parliament, but it the debating chamber was closed for the Summer and so, apart from a mural, there wasn’t much to see. It had also started to rain a little bit, so we decided to just walk up the Royal Mile back to our hotel to pick up our suitcases and grab a small snack. The Royal Mile is an actual mile (or so) between Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle – both Royal Buildings. It’s also a huge hill and quite the most touristy place in Edinburgh. In places it just had corny souvenir shops and places to get whiskey – so not really my thing, but the international visitors seemed to be lapping it up! Good for them.
I was so hungry by this point (around 4:30pm) as we had walked 10,000+ steps by then and I had only had some toast at breakfast – so we had to have an emergency snack stop half way back and we almost inhaled the dried fruits and nuts we had in our back packs. But after the much needed energy boost, we made it back to our hotel, picked up our cases and made our way back to the station for our train at around 6:30pm. We wandered slowly back, taking in the city vibe and made plans to visit again and see much more.
Cities are totally not my choice normal, especially big ones as all the people and noise and things gets me down. But Edinburgh was very chilled as cities go and I felt relaxed almost the entire time. In fact, I felt more relaxed than I do in Liverpool and I go there every week!!
So thanks for a great 2 x days Edinburgh – we loved you (and will be back)
So as I write this, we have been back from Edinburgh for just a couple of days, having spent just 2 days in bonnie Scotland (soz). M and I decided to have an “M’s 40th birthday” style trip to Scotland as part of our week off and by “M’s 40th birthday” I mean a quick 2 x day & 1 night trip somewhere that’s just go go go. Up early, arrive in place, dump bags, go do stuff all day, overnight stay and then another full day of activities. Exhausting, but a lot of fun and with a single night stay, it keeps the costs down.
SO… on Wednesday we got the 7:30 train from Warrington Bank Quay Station, bizarrely bumping into one of mine and one of M’s work colleagues on the platform! Early booking meant that we had cut price 1st class tickets and therefore comfy seats with complimentary breakfast, tea & coffee.
After just under 3 hours on the train, we arrived into Edinburgh Waverley and make our way to the Premier Inn on Prince’s Street. I intend to leave a detailed review on Trip Advisor, but in a nutshell, great location, amazingly helpful and friendly staff, decent room, comfy bed and view of EDINBURGH CASTLE from our room. Would definitely go back.
We dumped our bags and set off for the park, directly across from our hotel and we sat on a bench in the sunshine eating our Bagel’s which M had lovingly prepared at 6am!! We had pre-booked our tickets for Edinburgh Castle (this is my TOP TIP as the queues were HUGE to buy tickets at the entrance) and we walked up the enormous hill to the entrance, which at this time of year was almost covered by the seats erected for the Edinburgh Tattoo. Of all the places we visited over the 2 days, this was the busiest and was filled with the most international visitors. In fact, I could definitely hear more American than Scottish voices!!
The castle was fascinating! I expected some fancy state rooms to look at and more glitz that substance, but the exact opposite was true. The castle was a prison and the cells and recreated conditions were fascinating. The views from the castle walls were stunning and I was more than a little blown away.
After the castle we went back to the hotel to properly put out stuff in our room and after a micro rest, we went off to Camera Obscura, which kept coming up in my google searches for good things to do in Edinburgh. It’s a little hard to describe what it is, but here goes. It’s 6 floors of sciency optical illusions and sensory fun things to do. Think magic eye pictures, holograms and camera trickery. It’s definitely the kind of thing that if I had been shown at school, I would have loved science a whole lot more!
For dinner, we ended up at an American diner, which was great as by that time we were starving. But I did fancy a small dessert, but the diner had nothing that I could eat, i.e. without dairy. So we ended up switching venues for dessert and went to a vegan restaurant called Hendersons and I had a chocolate cake and M had a raw Raspberry cheesecake with a coconut base.
It has to be said though, that by about 9pm, after getting up at 5:30am and walking over 17,000 steps, we were shattered!!! So we went to bed… happy, knackered and already in love with Edinburgh.
Part two >> here <<