travel guide: edinburgh


When my family first mentioned a trip to Scotland, I envisioned traveling to a place of rolling green hills spanning for miles, with a pub or golf course scattered somewhere in-between. I’m a bit sheepish {pun intended} to admit that before visiting this destination, the extent of my knowledge of the country primarily consisted of the movie Braveheart {a personal fave} and what I’ve seen through watching various PGA tournaments. Not surprisingly enough, my experience in Scotland exceeded all of these preconceptions.

We focused our stay in Edinburgh, thanks to a direct flight from Chicago + close proximity to cities to bookending our visit. The city itself is on the up and up after a bout of business + structural shifts in past decades. Now, you can find a perfectly suitable tourist destination filled with both modern amenities + old authenticates alike.

Top 10 Edinburgh Must Do’s:

  1. Shop the diverse display of trends at the stores on Princes Street
  2. Enjoy the royal decor at the Palace of the Holyroodhouse, a summer residence for the Queen; stick around for a peak into Her Highness’ very own wardrobe in a limited edition style exhibit
  3. For a geologically gorgeous start to your day, take the brisk 20 minute hike at sunrise to the top of Arthur’s Seat for 360 views of the city
  4. Tour the centuries old Edinburgh Castle, home to military barracks, prisons, and birthplace to many Scottish kings + queens
  5. Explore the remains of a civilization built under the city at Real Mary’s Kings Close
  6. Sample delicious local cuisine {haggis, fish + chips, lamb} + drink at Greyfriars Bobby’s, a cozy and authentic pub in the area
  7. Celebrate the European art scene at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a limited time event, through eclectic outdoor street performances, concerts + shows on the Royal Mile
  8. Tune into local music {aka bagpipes galore}, dance + parade at the renown Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  9. For Harry Potter enthusiasts, visit the Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling wrote several of the first books in her notorious series
  10. Enjoy the lively pub scene in the Grassmarket area; personal favorites include The Beehive, Maggie Dickson’s + The Last Drop

My Overall Take: Edinburgh was a fun + friendly city, where mingling with locals was a breeze. There was ample to do, but also plenty of ways to relax, enjoy a beer, ween off some jet lag + take in scenic city without a crowded agenda. Despite it being summer, the weather resembled that of a Midwest fall {I learned the hard way- pack accordingly!} but, definitely worth a visit when traveling to the UK.

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