As we moved into Scotland, we officially passed into my 30th country visited in the world.
We also moved into one of the most beautiful and interesting countries I’ve ever visited, yet I felt completely at home.
It was a sentiment I felt the whole way through my road trip in the UK and Ireland, but it wasn’t until I got to Edinburgh that I realised what that niggling feeling in my stomach was: It was ease, and comfort.
Two feelings that come when you feel a strong attachment to a country or region.
Two feelings I was feeling very strongly.
We started our Edinburgh adventure by walking through Dean Village, hidden behind the metropolitan city lights.
It’s a good place for a lovely little walk (and some nice photographs) but there isn’t much to do in terms of attractions – but I think worth a visit anyway.
One place you cannot miss in Edinburgh is the Royal Mile – most of the “tourist stops” are on the Royal Mile anyway, so I dare say if you’re visiting you’ll be making a journey to this area.
The Royal Mile is the main avenue up to Edinburgh Castle, and along the way you’ll find architecturally stunning buildings, churches, restaurants and (my personally favourite) fantastic pubs.
Of course, at one end of the Royal Mile is Edinburgh Castle, one of the most famous castles in the United Kingdom.
You can grab an audio guide, join a guided tour, or just take to the grounds yourself (we chose the last option and didn’t feel as though we’d missed any major information).
Dedicate a whole morning or afternoon to the castle exploration though – there is a lot to get to, and you don’t want to have to miss something important (Like the whiskey tasting room!)
Another activity I couldn’t recommend highly enough while in Edinburgh is a ghost tour of the cities vaults.
The vaults, a series of chambers formed in the nineteen arches of the South Bridge, have a dark history.
For around 30 years after completion in 1788, the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen, and as storage space for illicit material.
Later on, as the conditions in the vaults deteriorated, mainly because of damp and poor air quality, the businesses left and the very poorest of Edinburgh’s citizens moved in, leading to even more horror stories inside.
Taking a tour of the actual vaults in quite scary – and probably not for the faint hearted – but it is historically very interesting as well as being quite thrilling.
Dan and I were lucky (or unlucky?) enough to be the only two on the tour and so were lead down into the reportedly haunted vaults in a group of three including our guide.
Don’t worry – Dan screamed more than I did.
The last part of our time in Edinburgh was taken up by the Harry Potter obsessed girl in me.
I great up reading and re-reading this series from the age of 7, then watching and re-watching the movies when they came about to.
The chance to visit the cafe where JK Rowling wrote some of the first books in the series was too great to pass up.
Being the evening by this time, we headed to The Elephant House for a glass of wine before dinner, while I fangirled and frothed.
Tip: VISIT THE BATHROOMS. I don’t know about men’s loos, but the women’s are an overflow of emotion.
I too left my mark, thanking JK Rowling for “the best part of my childhood”. I may have had tears in my eyes too.
Thank you, JK. Seriously.
Oh, I also happened to find a HP shirt and socks at Primark while in town.
Going with the theme, of course I had to buy them!