I’ve wanted to visit Edinburgh for as long as I can remember and sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns when it comes to travelling. I was searching on Expedia for flights and hotels in Edinburgh and I found some great deals. I found a lovely hotel with a large discount because it had been newly listed and the flight times were just perfect for me. My dream itinerary for a city break was coming together perfectly. I literally thought, if I don’t book this now I never will, so my decision was made and I was looking forward to a 2 day adventure in Edinburgh before I knew it!
When the day came around for my Edinburgh city break, I was feeling really excited. There’s something about getting on a plane, even for a domestic flight, that makes me really happy. As the plane left East Midlands airport for Scotland’s Capital I was asking myself what would it be like, would I like it as much as I thought I would and would I tick everything off my list I had planned. I love how visiting a new place answers all these questions and finding out the answers is always so much fun.
Day 1 – Edinburgh Itinerary
I took the tram into Edinburgh and enjoyed the views of open fields and blue skies along the way. It looked like the weather was going to be on my side and I couldn’t wait to get started exploring the city. I got off the tram in Edinburgh’s West End and went in search of the National Galleries of Scotland. It was about a 15 minute walk but it was well worth it as I stumbled across some amazing architecture and it gave me a real feel for the city I was visiting.
Modern One – National Galleries of Scotland
I really love to understand the culture of a city, so I always add a visit to an art gallery to my list. The Modern One really celebrated how the city of Edinburgh supports art culture and up and coming artists. The building and gardens are stunning, and really set the scene for what I was about to find inside. I really enjoyed seeing the exhibitions here and the cafe was also the perfect place to stop for lunch, proving popular with locals and visitors alike.
After a lovely visit to the National Galleries of Scotland I ventured into central Edinburgh on foot. One thing that really struck me was how friendly the people were. Everyone had a smile on their face and people were more than happy to help if I needed directions or help in anyway.
The Scotch Whisky Experience
After a little more exploring the city and enjoying the views over Princes Street Gardens I decided it was time to tick that whisky box. I didn’t know what to expect from The Scotch Whisky Experience, but when it comes to things to do in Edinburgh I can strongly recommend this attraction. It all started with me sitting inside a whisky barrel and going on an interactive journey with the ghost of Douglas McIntyre.
I learned lots about making whisky and how the taste and colour varies depending on the region it comes from. When I left the exhibition I really felt like I had had fun and I learned lots of new things, which I think is a huge win. If you were visiting Edinburgh with kids you could still visit here, but maybe not let them taste the samples!
I was keen to fit one more experience in before heading to the hotel that evening and I was delighted when I realised that Camera Obscura was open until 7pm and it was just across the road from The Scotch Whisky Experience.
I started at the top, and thoroughly enjoyed taking a step out onto the roof tops to see the views of Edinburgh Castle and the surrounding area. Each floor is packed with interactive experiences including a mirrored maze and a spinning light tunnel. There are 150 hands on experiences inside Camera Obscura, making it a fun attraction in Edinburgh for all.
Take a look at my YouTube video about visiting Edinburgh. You’ll love the mirrored maze, I’m sure!
Heading to the Hotel
After a very fun packed day in Edinburgh I decided it was time to head to the hotel, and rest my sore feet for the night. I was looking forward to a quiet night after a very busy day, and the Hampton by Hilton was the perfect place to recharge my batteries before day 2 commenced. The check in was super quick and I was in my room within minutes.
My hotel quarters for the night were very modern and clean and it was lovely to have lots of space. It had lots of sockets and USB ports so I could charge my phone and laptop ready for the next day, and the bed was so comfy for both watching TV and sleeping.
Breakfast was included in my Expedia booking at the Hampton by Hilton and it turned out to be the perfect start to my day. I sat in a booth and fuelled up on fresh coffee and orange juice along side my buffet English breakfast. I was impressed that there were waffle machines to use, but sadly I couldn’t fit another morsel in. Next time I’ll remember to try them first or save room!
Day 2 Edinburgh Itinerary
I checked out of the hotel feeling fully prepared for day 2 of my Edinburgh city break with Expedia. I headed towards the famous Royal Mile in search of more sight seeing and to tick more things of my Edinburgh list. The buildings in Edinburgh are just beautiful and I strongly suggest you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy them.
I found the Edinburgh Festival Centre along my route and stopped to enjoy it from every angle I could. It certainly makes an impression on Edinburgh’s skyline as it towers above the Old Town. They were just opening when I arrived, so I was able to take a quick peak inside as well. If the cafe had of been open, I think I would have had to stop for coffee whether I had of needed one or not.
If you visit Edinburgh, I strongly recommend making ample time to explore the Royal Mile. It runs downhill between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace and is literally a fascinating place. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore from either side, and you find yourself needing to go and take a little peek down most of them.
St Giles Cathedral
I am far from a religious person, but I do enjoy visiting churches and cathedrals. When I spotted St Giles Cathedral I couldn’t wait to see inside. Its free to enter, but if you want to take photos you need to pay £2. I’m pretty sure you will want to take photos as the inside of this cathedral is just beautiful with a stunning ceiling and ornate stained glass windows. There is also a cafe with toilets downstairs which I used for a quick pitstop.
Royal Mile Market & Tron Kirk
I spotted what looked like another church a little way down the Royal Mile and decided to investigate further. When I got closer, I realised that there was a market inside. I love a market, and popped in for a browse and found some beautiful locally made crafts, clothes and gifts. If you enjoy locally handmade items, this is certainly a good place to visit in Edinburgh.
Royal Walking Tour
I was very keen to learn more about the city, and I joined the Mercat Royal Walking Tour to find out more about the history of the Royal Mile. This was a great tour as it was packed with lots of information about all the people who had made an impact on Edinburgh’s rich and sometimes colourful history. The tour ended at Holyrood Palace, which sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile and makes for another interesting place to visit in Edinburgh.
Holyrood Palace is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland and she stays here every summer. Whilst she’s not in residence, you can go inside and explore the Royal Palace with an audio tour. The building and it’s contents are fascinating, and as I moved from room to room I learned lots about the people that have stayed here including the ill fated Mary Queen of Scots.
The People’s Story
Having seen Edinburgh from the Royal’s perspective, I decided to visit The People’s Story on my way back up the Royal Mile. This is an interesting museum which recreates day to day life of the people who lived in the area between the 18th and 20th century. There is definitely a sense of riches in the city when you see the elaborate buildings, but working class people across the same period experienced a great deal of poverty and over crowding was a real issue for them.
I don’t think any visit to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to Edinburgh Castle and I’m so pleased I was able to tick it off my list. The views over the centre of Edinburgh are absolutely stunning and the castle is a very interesting place too.
The exhibitions include a display of the oldest crown jewels in the British Isles as well the Scottish National Memorial of War. There is clearly a strong military connection at the castle but one of the most interesting exhibits is about the prisoners of war that were held here from all over the world, in pretty squalid conditions by anyones standards.
Edinburgh’s Christmas Market
Before leaving the city, I had a little time left to explore the Christmas market some more. It’s safe to say I didn’t have enough time to see it all as it is huge and there are rows upon rows of stalls, rides and things to see. I could have spent hours here, and a serious amount of money if I hadn’t of had to catch the plane back to East Midlands. I can certainly see why Edinburgh is a popular destination at this time of year!
If you are looking to book a city break, then make sure you visit Expedia to check out there latest deals and discounts. It’s a great one stop shop that lets you find the perfect hotel, travel and transfer arrangements all from one travel website.
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This post was written in collaboration with Expedia as apart of their #expediacitybreak & #expediastaycation campaign