This time last week I was gathering my bits and bobs and packing for a few days in Edinburgh. This wasn’t my first trip to the historic city, in fact, it was my forth. It’s easy to think that after a few city breaks you can do everything that’s available to you, but I’ve never found that with Edinburgh.
Every year that I visit I find new things to love and instead of sharing a standard travel guide or recount of my activities last week, I figured I would share a few reasons why I loved visiting Edinburgh so much.
If you’re thinking of visiting, take it from me that you will absolutely have a tonne of things to do. There are so many things going on that you could make two or three itineraries to suit whichever mood you’ll be in. The finding things to do will never be an issue in Edinburgh, but you might want to know why it’s such a wonderful city to visit.
Firstly, let’s ignore the fact that I failed to get any groundbreaking pictures of said sights… trust me when I say that they’re there. Whether it’s looking up in the new town and spying stunning Georgian architecture, climbing (walking) to the top of Calton Hill and looking over Princes Street on one side and over Leith on the other, or visiting Edinburgh Castle in the old town.
Of course, there as so many other spots to see a wonderful sight from. Arthurs’ seat, the roof terrace of the national museum of Scotland, passages in the old town that leads down steep steps and to pretty chocolate-box streets. Wherever you go there’s beauty to be seen, captured and drunk up. The difficult part is finding your favourite spot, I guess.
You can walk (almost) everywhere
Edinburgh is a super-compact city. Old town and new town are both completely accessible on foot and even the seaside in Leith is less than 3 miles away. I would recommend wrapping up – that’s bobble hat, mittens and all – if you’re planning a long walk during the cooler months, but on a day with a clear blue sky the chill seems secondary to the stunning views you get when exploring the city.
There’s a perfect mix
There aren’t many places that have it all, are there? Sure, the one thing Edinburgh may be missing is the lovely warm weather but it has a pretty perfect mix of everything else. Edinburgh has beautiful historic buildings alongside trendy and modern bars and museums. There are traditional leisure activities to take part it, educational activities and unusual tours, experiences and museums to immerse yourself in.
Prince’s Street has all the high street shops you could wish for, whilst George Street a few streets back has higher end and more boutique high street shops. Scattered between new and old town are beautiful independents shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, so you really do have the pick of the bunch.
Whether you want to enjoy a day in the fresh air or a day pottering about inside beautiful buildings, shops or museums, Edinburgh has what you want.
It’s far enough away from home
I’ve had weekends in London and they’re just not far enough away from my hometown. Jumping on a plane can be too much hassle though, so a long train ride to a place where the scenery is different (and beautiful) but the same language is still being spoken (well, in most cases) is the ideal solution.
If you’re from the Midlands or the south, Scotland is far enough away to feel as if you can have some real space from your day-to-day life – just be warned that apparently, the scots aren’t massive fans of us southerners (which is apparently anything below Yorkshire)…
It’s chilly, which means I’m cosy
For some people, a cold, windy city is far from their idea of the perfect holiday – but I would take a frosty getaway over a sunbathing beach trip any day. I love the chill because it means I get to be cosy. There’s no unbelievable sweating on public transport, things can be done without incredible heat-induced frustration and the cold means that coming back to your hotel room (or wherever) is exciting and is the perfect time to run a hot bath and snuggle up with a hot choc.
I have a personal tour guide
Admittedly, if you pop up to Edinburgh on a little weekend excursion you won’t have this available to you, but having a friend who lives in the city and knows how to get from A to B via all the pretty spots makes each trip faff-free and anxiety free. Visiting my friend is the sole reason I have head up for the last three years (the first year we went up together on a mini-break) but I would absolutely continue to visit if she ever moves away.
You never know, maybe all these trips to Edinburgh will one day lead to people visiting me up there – I’m sure I’d be a wonderful tour guide, don’t you think?
Not everyone’s a tourist
You go to London and everyone you pass in the street has also come up for the day or week, everyone’s equally lost and if you do run into a local resident they’re pretty grumpy (in my limited experience anyway). Edinburgh seems to have much more balance (probably because it’s quite small and compact). During my time there I’ve seen students walking across the city, groups of office workers having a pint after a day at work, tourists, locals and more.
In the big smoke, ‘off the beaten track’ is hard to come by. The tourist traps are always open and it’s easier to go with the crowd than to get lost in side streets and have unempathetic Londoner’s glare at you – in Edinburgh there is harmony, though. The tourist hot spots are next to the independent cafes local people love to sit in, it’s all up for grabs for anyone.