In the summer of 2019, I lived in London and had nothing to do one weekend, so I decided to journey north to Edinburgh, Scotland. I pulled the trip together fairly quickly, taking the train up after work Friday and heading back Sunday afternoon.
I arrived in Edinburgh later Friday night, so I ended up going straight to my hostel. Saturday, I woke up early and got to see all the main sights. Here are all of the places I went:
Edinburgh Castle – this is the most visited tourist attraction in the city. The day I went, it was rainy, and the line to get in was still down the street. I walked around as much as I could without going into the actual castle, I wasn’t there very long, and I’m not a huge fan of castles. From there you can see a lot of the city. I’ve heard the inside of the castle is just as beautiful. If I were there for longer, I would make time to walk around the castle one day.
The Royal Mile – this, like Edinburgh Castle, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. This is the mile down the hill from Edinburgh Castle. You follow the path, leading you to a lot of local shops and even more bagpipe players. You can find lots of shops selling cashmere and other sheep products as well as traditional Scottish clothing and Harry Potter memorabilia.
Calton Hill – If you want to see Edinburgh from what feels like the sky but isn’t quiet, you should hike up to Calton Hill. It’s a bit of a walk up the hill, but once you get up, the view is breathtaking. From the top of the hill, you can go further by walking up the tower to get an even better view. From there you can see Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat, and Princes Street.
Princes Street – Princes Street is one of the main shopping streets in the city. It has some popular stores like Zara, Topshop, Primark, and some more local stores. Scott Monument is also along Princes Street; it a beautiful, gothic memorial that gives a historical feel to the commercial street. In the distance, you can see Edinburgh Castle up on the hill.
Cowgate – if you are looking for a historical street to walk down, try Cowgate. It goes under cross streets with amazing, stone bridges. It’s lively at night, especially at home to many bars and clubs, so if you are not interested in going out but want to feel the spirit of the Edinburgh bar scene, it is worth a walk down.
W Bow – This is another famous street in Edinburgh known for its shopping and bright colored buildings. Being a block from my hostel, I spent a lot of time in and around this street, and I can confidently say that it is beautiful from every angle. Whether you are up above the street visiting some restaurants or on the street itself visiting the Harry Potter themed store, you won’t be sorry you spent time in this beautiful, lively area of Edinburgh.
Harry Potter – If you go to Edinburgh and don’t know about its history with Harry Potter you will the second you get there. This city is the location the books were based on as J.K. Rowling wrote the first few books in the Elephant House, a now tourist destination in Edinburgh. You can also visit the Greyfriar Kirkyard, which features a graveyard that inspired a lot of names of popular characters in the novels.
Where I stayed
Kick Ass Greyfriars Hostel
Where I Ate
Pret A Manger – This was one of my favorite chains in the UK, so I took the opportunity to get it while I was in Scotland. I wish I had tried some Scottish food, but I haven’t entirely tackled eating alone in restaurants.
Other places to go in Scotland
- Arthur’s Seat
- Loch Ness
- Isle of Skye
Newcastle Upon Tyne, England
On the way to Edinburgh, we passed Newcastle Upon Tyne. The view was so beautiful from the train that I decided to add the stop to my trip home. I stopped there, stored my bags, and walked around.
Gateshead Millennium Bridge – from the train station I walked down to the Millenium Bridge, this was the main thing I was hoping to see in Newcastle, it was what I saw from the train. The river was incredibly beautiful and worth the stop. I walked a while along the bridge, where they were having a fair with lots of booths and food. I walked through all the booths to look at jewelry and artwork. I walked across the bridge itself, which you can see down the river from a lot of other bridges on the river, but I liked Millenium the best. After walking down the river, I had lunch and hopped back on the train, saying goodbye to Newcastle on my way back to London.
If you have the time and want to add another stop, I recommend Newcastle it’s a good place to stop for the day it is a perfect place to visit for a day. There is not a ton to see, so it’s a great day trip.