If you follow me on instagram, then you know that I was in Scotland all last week! My mom and I took ourselves on a lil euro trip and had the best time. We saw a number of castles, incredible beaches and mountains, and looottss more! Thought I would tell you guys about Edinburgh because it’s where we spent most of our time and save the rest for later! So lets get into this Edinburgh City Guide!
If you want the best view in Edinburgh, stay where we did at the Apex Grassmarket Hotel. Can you even believe that view of the castle? That was our balcony! When I woke up each morning, the castle is what I saw. Not to mention the location was amazing, a block or two off of the Royal Mile (a mile long of shopping, restaurants, etc and ends right at Edinburgh Castle), and across the street from a bunch of cute lil’ restaurants and bars. T’was the perfect location for two Americans who were kind of winging this Scottish trip.
We only had 2 1/2 days in Edinburgh so we planned accordingly. We got in on Friday afternoon and settled into our amazing hotel before going out to scout some dinner and walk a bit around Grassmarket to get our bearings. I dragged my mom over to Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, where Lord Voldemort is buried along with McGonagall (cuz we’re harry potter nerds). It’s a beautiful church and graveyard and we ended up going back again on Saturday coincidentally! Bobby, the most famous dog in Scotland is buried there and people leave him balls and sticks on his grave. Rumor has it that he was a watchman’s dog and when the officer passed away, Bobby would go sit by his grave for years which earned a lot of love from the locals. And now we all love Bobby. We then ate pizza across the street from the hotel and drank some good red wine. The people watching at Grassmarket is amazing — tons of guys in kilts and pups galore.
Saturday was our first full day in Edinburgh and we started it off by rushing out the door to our free walking tour on The Royal Mile. This was recommended to me by multiple friends, so we decided Friday night to just go for it and see what happened. These tours run on tips and go about 2 1/2 hours, but it ended up being SO worth it! We went up and down The Royal Mile, back to Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, saw Edinburgh Castle, and ended at The National Museum of Scotland. These tours are quick-paced, but you get so much context and history out of them (while also getting your bearings). We wanted to do more of the tours, but didn’t have enough time. So HIGHLY recommend!
After our tour ended, we popped into Spoon, a cute little place upstairs near the theatre. Got some nice scrambled eggs on toast! Then we wandered back to the National Museum of Scotland to see some of Scotland’s history. Their history is VERY complicated and bloody — I don’t think we understood most of it until our last day of the trip. The museum is awesome and super interactive, which is what I personally like in a museum. But the best part was the viewing deck upstairs which allows for the best photo ops, as well as a 360 view of Edinburgh!
After our trip to the museum, we wandered past Elephant House (where JK Rowling wrote HP, of course) and then back to the royal mile to peruse the shops. My feet at this point were killing me so we wandered down to the Princes St Gardens on the other side of Edinburgh Castle and then up to the shops nearby to get me some new sneakers. SO many sneaker shops! The shopping in that area (near the National Gallery) was so good — so if you ever want to do some Edinburgh shopping, that’s the place! Oliver Bonas, Primark (duh), All Saints, Size?, and Office were some of the shops we hit up.
After that we headed back around the castle to our hotel, and decided on Lebowski’s for dinner! Lebowski’s is a themed pub (ever seen The Big Lebowski movie? it’s my brother’s fav) that had an awesome mural out front and tons of themed drinks to choose from. Because my mom and I aren’t fans of white russians, we settled on plain ol’ wine. But it was a fun time, and the food was pretty yum! I got mac & cheese and a burger, but we had walked 16,000 steps by that point so it all worked out.