Guid mornin, Edinburgh!
We were woken up by a rare occurrence in Scotland this time of year–sunshine! The Scots love making jokes about the weather. From our Airbnb host, to the coffee shop ’tillman’, and the tour guide: “Its sunny! LOL!” (Nick note: my favorite weather comment was the Edinburgh Castle Tour Guide – “This is a mistake!”) Perfect weather for our first stop, Edinburgh Castle. We had scoped out the castle the night before and arrived soon after opening to successfully avoid the lines, and managed to hook on to a free tour group just starting. Edinburgh Castle sits on a peak that has been used as a defensive position basically since people have been hanging out in Edinburgh and is steeped in the traditions of Scottish Royalty. St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in the castle (surviving a burning of a former version of the castle on account of being a chapel and all) dates to the 1100s! The chapel can fit all of about 25 people and immediately had us weighing the pros and cons of a big grand wedding vs a small intimate wedding! (Reg note: And there isn’t enough room for a hoopah)
Next stop, lunch at Hemma’s. It’s a kitschy place where nothing matches intentionally, and is distinctly family-friendly (kids outnumbered adults, but don’t let that deter you!)
The satiating meal was in preparation for Arthur’s Seat, which is…a Mountain? Hill? Outcropping? Crag? Not sure what the right word is but you can traverse it for some of the best views of the city. Seriously, get ready for a hike. Do not wear flip flops or flats. There are various lesser peaks you can get great views at with the best reserved for the tippy top. I admit, 3/4 of the way up my (Reg) newly unearthed fear of heights kicked in (as toddlers that are still perfecting the art of walking stare at me pathetically as they continue upward and onward), but Nick continued to the itty bitty peak (Nick note: I think it was less fear of heights and more just Reg being tired and grumpy!)
Regardless, we captured breathtaking views (warning: this cheesy phrase will continue to be used to in this multi-part Scotland series)
On the way back we made a quick stop at the Museum of Childhood. Which was free and kinda weird. Think of if you had an ancestral home that had keepsakes from the childhoods of many generations of your family but it’s not in the attic and instead a museum. We went right before closing so we had to fly through it but didn’t miss much.
That night we went and got drinks at the world famous Bramble Bar which despite some skepticism for super chic hip bars was actually awesome with some delicious and reasonably priced cocktails. We then, naively I might add, decided we would try and stumble into some place for dinner. Word of advice, if you want a nice dinner in Edinburgh on a Saturday, make some reservations! After unsuccessfully asking a few places to try and fit us in we got lucky at a restaurant called the Devil’s Advocate right off the Royal Mile. A solid dinner for sure but nothing that blew our minds and, quite frankly, we were just happy to have something to eat that wasn’t from the local McDonalds.
Given it was Halloween, we signed up a Ghost tour since Edinburgh is ‘the spookiest city in the UK’—they loved their executions! We signed up for a Mercat Tour which brought us through the underground vaults*. Not spooky enough for the price (Nick note: not great for me, but saving grace for Reg) but still a fun cheesy activity to close out the night.
*There are a plethora of other tours (literature? architecture), all reviewed plentifully on TripAdvisor! Seriously, TripAdvisor has everything.