Today I'm super excited to share a little bit about our Scotland trip here on the blog. I've shared bits and pieces over on Instagram, but I thought it might be fun to share here about the different parts of our trip in a little more detail. Today is part one: Edinburgh.
We spent two whirlwind days in the Scottish capital and throughly enjoyed ourselves. This was our first big trip with Caleb and though things were of course different with him along, we managed to do quite a few things by starting early in the morning and then heading back to our hotel by the mid to late afternoons. Here's what we got up to on those two days:
This was quite impressive to see (specifically from below, walking up) and a great orientation point to start our wanderings from. We didn't actually go into the castle but we certainly enjoyed the views.
The Writers Museum
I had expected to enjoy this, but I was even more impressed than I thought. This lovely museum, tucked away in a close off the Royal Mile, in a small charming house is free to the public and showcases the work of three of Scotland's most famous writers: Robert Burns, Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. The exhibitions were quite interesting but even if you're not into literature, it's worth popping in just to wander through the house.
Of course, another author with a connection to this city is JK Rowling and we set off to visit a few Harry Potter themed spots throughout the morning. The first of these was Victoria Street, which is supposed to have inspired Diagon Alley. Whether it's true or not, this was a charming little street that was quite fun to meander down.
Next we popped into the old graveyard, Greyfriar's Kirk. We meandered a bit through the paths, but what we had really come to find was Voldemort's grave- several of the gravestones here bear names that JK Rowling apparently borrowed for different characters in her books. One of these names is Tom Riddle. We met a very kind volunteer who kindly showed us where this grave was, as well as the graves of several other interesting historical figures.
Another grave that can be found here is that of Greyfriars Bobby, a small dog who is said to have waited by his masters grave for many years after that master's death. He's got a pub and a little statue to mark his memory. This was a cute little story, and was fun to walk by, though I don't think I would have sought it out if we hadn't happened to be in the area.
The Elephant House Cafe
Our final Harry Potter related stop of the trip. After all that walking these two Hufflepuffs needed a break, so we popped into this cafe, where JK Rowling wrote parts of the early Harry Potter books. We had coffee and a light lunch, and sat in the back, looking out at the castle in the distance. I will say, it was not as busy as I had been expecting and completely relaxing for both us and Caleb to hang out here. A really fun stop!
We continued being touristy in the afternoon and (after dashing undercover to wait out a quick rain shower) we headed up Calton Hill for some more views. It was lovely, especially on such a clear day and I would recommend heading up here- especially if you visit the city and are not able to make it up Arthur's Seat.
Royal Mile & St Giles Cathedral
The next morning we headed down the Royal Mile, which is the street that runs from Edinburgh Castle all the way to Holyrood Palace. It's basically the old part of the city, with beautiful buildings and narrow alleyways (called closes) leading off it. We mailed a postcard to my family (in the British postbox because I'm into that sort of thing...) and stopped in at St Giles Cathedral. This was one of my very favorite cathedrals (and I've been to my fair share, including both St Paul's and the Dom in Cologne). I think this was partly to do with how the sunlight was shining through the stained glass- we'd never seen such a brightly lit (almost colorful) cathedral before.
Once we got to the end of the Royal Mile we headed to Arthur's seat. We weren't too sure how this was going to be with Caleb, but we had a very warm day with little wind and so we headed up. We went up the path by the craigs and around to the back. We didn't actually make it up the highest part but the views were still stunning- how amazing that this is right in the middle of the city.
Scottish tea house
To warm up after our hike, we stopped in at this cute tea house at the bottom of the Royal Mile for a cup of Scottish Breakfast tea and some scones with jam. This was the perfect pit stop, coming in from the fresh air to warm up and refuel in such a cozy place was just delightful. I especially loved how the place was decorated- so many of the items reminded me of the things my grandmother used to have. There was even a cross stitch map of the United Kingdom (which I meant to take a photo of but totally forgot...)
We did visit several other parts of the city in the afternoons- we made it to two yarn shops and into New Town for a late lunch at Jamie's Italian, though I didn't manage to get any photos there. I'll share more about the yarn shops in a separate post since this is already getting quite long, but there's a little recap of our (touristy) adventures in this city!