Edinburgh should be on everybody’s bucket list #holiday

I’ve been hanging onto this one for a while – since May, in fact, as there has been so much else going on, but I felt it was about time to start sharing my visit to this amazing city.

I’m not, by nature, a city lover. Holidays, for me, are usually about getting out into the countryside and seeing wildlife. This trip came about as a result of the book signing I did at the Marriot Hotel near Edinburgh airport, and I’m very glad I decided to combine a short break with the event.

So without further ado, here we go.

I booked our hotel (Brian flew up to join me) as usual on the internet, taking location into account – near enough to the city centre to walk, but not right in it. Many of the central city hotels look absolutely fabulous, but none of the have car parking, so that was my deciding factor.

The hotel I booked, Masson House, turned out to be inside the University grounds, a really lovely and quiet setting on the edge of Holyrood Park. It’s a modern building, but this beautiful traditional Scottish building greets you as you drive through the gates.

We only had two days, so I crammed as much as possible into them, starting with a walk up the Royal Mile (which is actually 1.2 miles, but let’s not split hairs!). We had to walk through Holyrood Park to get there, which was no hardship – it is a truly beautiful and extraordinary city park, with Arthur’s Seat at its heart.

Not heard of Arthur’s Seat? No, I hadn’t either, and was stunned to discover it is the remains of a volcano, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”.

We set off relatively early in the morning, with the Scotch mist clinging to the peaks, but that didn’t detract from the awesomeness of the views.

The night before, when I collected Brian from the airport, we had come to realise that much of the city was closed, by virtue of the running of the Edinburgh Marathon the following morning, and guess what we discovered in Holyrood Park?

Slightly disturbing the peace, but hey, it was a novelty!

I don’t know how many run this marathon, but it was a lot. I took this snippet with one particular friend in mind – Marcia, keep your eye on the flag…

Yes, plenty of Scots run their marathon in kilts! I just hope they were wearing something underneath…

This was the view heading towards Holyrood Palace

Then just around the corner, we found the Scottish Parliament building

And opposite that, in front of the palace, the Queen’s Gallery

So here is the view at the bottom of the Royal Mile, spookily empty with just the odd (slow) runner bringing up the rear.

Back to civilisation…

And some of the wonderfully eclectic buildings

Through the arches, the Law Court

One of the many wonderful statues

Of interest to writers, this little archway leads to

The Writer’s Museum, dedicated toΒ three giants of Scottish Literature – Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson

Filling up with people again

Architecture and culture

Top right hand side of the last few seconds you will see the dome of the Camera Obscura (more in a minute) and the rather anachronistic looking boxy construction across the middle is part of the gantry set up in preparation for televising the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which takes place in July.

There are wonderful signs around the streets

I LOVE this one!

A few of the things you can purchase on the mile, along with whisky, Harry Potter memorabilia, gorgeous clothing (including kilts) in tartan, wool, and cashmere, weapons, and food galore,

Edinburgh Castle stands at the top of the Royal Mile, and I do mean, the top, and I will cover that amazing visit in another post, but here’s a quick glimpse

On the way back down the mile, we stopped in at the Camera Obscura, which is an absolute MUST visit in Edinburgh. To quote the website: “Welcome to the oldest visitor attraction in Edinburgh, delighting visitors since 1835. An Aladdin’s cave filled with illusions, tricks, puzzles, hands-on experiences, unbelievable effects and the best rooftop views of the city.”

And then it was back down the mile. It’s quite a hill, as the Castle stands on another remnant of the volcano, and we were pretty tired by the end of the day, but not too tired to admire the fabulous views from Holyrood Park now most of the mist had cleared. The gorse in full bloom is so beautiful at this time of year (May)

And there is a lovely lake, with lots of birds and a small ruin (no idea what it was, sorry)

And finally, the most fantastic view back across the city

I will be visiting again next summer, attending 20BooksEdinburgh – can’t wait! Staying on the same campus a few doors away from Masson House, maybe this time I will have the energy to make the 30 minute hike to the top of Arthur’s Seat. After the conference, Brian will again join me for 3 days at Masson House and an evening at the Military Tattoo. I also hope to take in the zoo, and some other nearby historical sites.

Hope you enjoyed this quick visit to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and Holyrood Park!

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38 comments

  1. This is SO on my Bucket List!! In BOLD, BLACK LETTERS! Lovely post, and I will be back to examine each photo in minute detail, taking notes as I go. Someday I’m gonna get there, I swear. Wonderful post, Debby! πŸ™‚ ❀

    1. πŸ˜€ I hope you enjoyed the kilts!

      1. And the BAGPIPES, too. Did I ever tell you how much I love them? ❀ ❀ ❀

      2. Lol, me too, although I believe some find them hideous (strange people!) ❀

  2. Wonderful post! I have only been to gorgeous Edinburgh once and thought I’d seen a lot, but you present ideas for a second visit.

    1. There is so much to see in Edinburgh, whatever your interest. Even as someone who doesn’t really ‘do’ cities, I was captivated, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more. Well worth a return visit, I can assure you.

  3. Bagpipes? Hideous? Ha. I’ve heard rumors some feel that way, but I find them mournful and sad, and they tug at my heart. Don’t even let me hear the pipes playing Danny Boy or Amazing Grace. I’m a goner! *sniff* Just thinking about it makes me tear up. πŸ˜₯

    1. Or Brian Boru’s March, or Scotland the Brave, or, or …. SOOOO many! My guardian angel doesn’t play a harp. He plays a bagpipe. πŸ˜€

      1. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  4. We have been on just a few weekend breaks, always in winter for some reason, but I feel like I know Edinburgh well. We have done a lot of the things you describe. I always think you can’t get lost in the main city, with the castle looming over you and the old and new cities neatly divided by the rail line in what was once a lock.

    1. I felt like that about the city – until I tried to get to the docks! That wasn’t quite as straightforward as I expected, thank goodness for SatNavs!

  5. Beautiful! Gorgeous!
    Thank you for sharing!
    My dad was in the Royal Canadian Navy during WWII. He served on a corvette in the North Atlantic doing convoy escort, from Halifax to Edinburgh. He likes to brag that he had a girlfriend in Edinburgh.
    Cheers!

    1. Wow, I didn’t even realise there was a Royal Canadian Navy! You learn something every day…
      I think you’ll enjoy the other posts I have coming – one about the castle, and the last about the Royal Yacht Britannia – she was fabulous!

  6. I visited Edinburgh a couple of decades ago. Had my first taste of haggis. Won’t do that again! Beautiful city.

    1. Oh that’s a shame, I adore Haggis, but everyone to their own taste!

  7. Well you have convinced me, Deb. I am trying to get myself to travel more than the none I was doing. This looks delightful.

    1. Scotland is an amazing country, if you plan on coming over give yourself PLENTY of time!

  8. Great post Deb and wonderful photos of a wonderful city. Been to Edinburgh a few times and there is always something new to see and so much to explore. Great city.

    1. For a non-city lover I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it πŸ˜€

  9. It’s on my list! A great review and photos. I too love kilts and bagpipes.

    1. Isn’t it amazing how so many unique things from such a tiny country are well loved? The Scots have definitely made an impression on the world πŸ˜€

  10. Fabulous city and we did hike to Arthur’s Seat. Hubs was more interested in the liquor, though.

    1. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I think after that hike a drink would be well earned πŸ˜‰

  11. Deborah (and Marcia) if they are true Scotsmen they do not wear anything under their kilts. Just so you know!
    We have a camera obscura at the museum in Dumfries, which is older than the one in Edinburgh. Imagine what people in the 19th century must have thought of them!
    Great post. Looking forward to what you thought of the Castle. Hope you wrapped up well, it’s been freezing every time I’ve been!

    1. Ha ha, it was thought of the correct lack of underwear that prompted the mention – not sure running 26 miles like that would be very comfortable πŸ˜‰
      I didn’t know about the camera obscura in Dumfries, I will have to visit – its one part of Scotland I’ve never stopped in to take a look around.
      We were lucky for this trip, although it was a tad chilly up at the castle, it was more the blowing mist that kept us inside our jackets. Once that burned off it was a glorious weekend. The following day was t-shirts only.

  12. Do visit south west Scotland sometime. It’s beautiful – glorious countryside and beaches and lots of wildlife.

    1. I will. We are once again investigating islands this next holiday – Inner Hebrides this time. I do love the west coast.

  13. Deb, thanks for this fabulous tour! Loved the vids too. I’ve been to Edinburgh, but it appears I missed a lot of good stuff! So the bookfair is there next year, hmm? Food for thought!!! What better than a bookfair and you for a tour guide!!! πŸ™‚ xx

    1. Sounds like a plan!

  14. Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is a wonderful post on Edinburgh!

    1. Thanks for the reblog Charles πŸ˜€

  15. Edinburgh is my favorite city in the world. Beauty, history and family.

    1. I can understand that – it is an exceptional city – charming and enchanting πŸ˜€

  16. I couldn’t agree more. We visited Edinburgh last spring and found it amazing. The trip had been on my bucket list forever. Would go back in a heartbeat. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.
    PS
    Your pictures turned out so much better than mine. πŸ™‚

    1. I’m still a snapshot artist, not a photographer, but sometimes they come out quite well! 😁

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