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When we have some spare time to travel the inclination to go abroad is too much, especially when so many European countries are so near by. But it often comes to my attention that I am not very well travelled in my own country, so this inspired me to visit Edinburgh! I had previously been to the Scottish capital when I was much younger but didn’t remember a great deal of my time there, so was excited at the opportunity to get exploring Edinburgh now I was older. I only had a short trip here but there’s certainly a lot you can cram in to 48 hours in Edinburgh.
There are plenty of flights with budget airlines such as Easyjet that go from English airports to Edinburgh, however I decided I’d get the train as that was cheaper. With my 16-25 railcard I got return tickets from Manchester Piccadilly to Edinburgh Waverley for £37.
High Street Hostel – £9.90/night for an 8 bed dorm
(Plus a £10 cash deposit for the keys)
The hostel was nice and good value for money – especially in the UK, and a great place for any Edinburgh backpackers! Just a 6 minute walk from the station, it’s central location makes it really easy to find. The kitchen was the biggest, cleanest and best equipped I’ve ever come across in a hostel. There was free tea, coffee and hot chocolate available 24/7.
The common area downstairs was large with lots of tables, a sofa area and a TV, where two films were shown every night in the common area. The wifi was good downstairs but not so great in the rooms. The shower facilities were clean and pretty spacious too.
Overall rating – 8/10
THINGS TO DO
The city’s skyline is dominated by the fortress of Edinburgh Castle. The site of Edinburgh castle has been occupied since the bronze age, with the castle’s buildings dating from the 12th all the way to the 21st century.
Edinburgh castle stands at the head of town on top of Castle Hill. The hill is free to walk up and it’s worth the climb for the view. The street leading up to it is beautiful too, with a man on the bagpipes playing at the bottom of the hill – very authentic!
You can go into the castle for £18 but I opted to just walk up the hill and marvel at the view as this is absolutely free.
When you visit Edinburgh it is impossible to avoid The Royal Mile as it forms the main thoroughfare of the Old Town. It is made up of Castle Hill, Lawn Market, High Street, Cannongate and Abbey Strand. The main high street is lined with pubs, cafe’s, museums and tourist/gift shops. It is free to wander through the royal mile and it’s all incredibly picturesque.
St. Giles’ Cathedral
Whilst exploring Edinburgh this cathedral is unmissable on the High Street. It’s easy to spot with its distinctive crown steeple. The building dates back to the 1100s but had to be rebuilt in 1385 after a fire. It is relatively small and incomparable to many other huge cathedrals across Europe – especially the Italian ones.
There are, however, an array of impressive stain glass windows for you to admire inside. It’s free to enter but you are welcome to give a donation.
When exploring Edinburgh it’s always worth finding good spots to check out the sunset. At the end of Princes Street you can climb the stairs to Calton Hill and find the Nelson Monument and the National Monument. At the foot of the hill you can see Holyrood Palace.
There’s a great panoramic view of the city up here and is an excellent spot to watch the sunset!
Princes Street Gardens
This public park is located right in the centre of Edinburgh. The gardens run along the south side of Princes Street, divided by The Mound. The National Gallery of Scotland are at “The Mound”. Entry to the gallery is FREE.
This 61m tall monument is found within Princes Street Garden. It was built in honour of Sir Walter Scott so features figures of his work on the spire. It holds the title for the second largest monument to a writer in the world making it a significant point on the Edinburgh tourist map.
You can make the 287 step climb to the top of the monument for a view across the city. It costs £6 for an adult ticket to enter the monument.
This tiny statue of a Skye terrier is definitely something to check out when exploring Edinburgh. It was created in 1872 in memory of a dog who spent 14 years guarding his owner, local policeman John Gray’s grave. Greyfriars Bobby died himself on 14th January 1872. The headstone of the dog is in Greyfriar’s Kirkland just a few hundred metres down the road from the monument. The statue was initially a fountain which was shut off in 1975.
The dog’s nose is noticeably gold, as people have become accustomed to rubbing it for ‘good luck’. You can find Greyfriars Bobby at 30 Candlemaker Row. It is free to visit so why not pass by when you visit Edinburgh!
At the height of 250m (822ft), Arthur’s Seat forms the peak of the group of hills forming most of Holyrood Park. The view at the top of here is absolutely amazing and you simply MUST go here when you’re exploring Edinburgh. It took about 30 minutes to get to the top.
This former village for mill workers is now a popular on the Edinburgh tourist map. An incredibly ‘cute’ corner of the city, it is a bit more out of the way and significantly quieter than the city centre.
Flowing through the village is the Water of Leith, a walkway running from Balerno to Leith created in 1983. The village is completely free to visit and walk around / through.
Close to Dean’s Village is the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art which is free to look around.
To get to the Dean Village I walked through the Stockbridge, a suburb in the north of the city centre. The streets are filled with elegant Georgian and Victorian Houses.
INDEPENDANT COFFEE STOPS
Artisan Roast Coffee Roasters
This little independent coffee shop is in the New Town section of the city. Before going to Edinburgh I’d read about this coffee shop being one of the best in the city. It’s a really nice coffee shop with super friendly staff.
You can buy bags of their coffee in the shop or at their online store. The coffee shop is located at 57 Broughton Street.
Edinburgh Press Club
This independent cafe is on Cockburn Street, just off the Royal Mile. I really liked the aesthetic and interior design of this place. They also serve an amazing array of food, drinks and homemade cakes.
Also on Cockburn Street this tiny coffee shop is the perfect, cosy place for a morning coffee and pastry.
Try Some Edinburgh Gin
You couldn’t visit Edinburgh without trying some Edinburgh gin! There are some amazing cocktail bars for you to try out so you can experience the exquisite taste of Edinburgh gin in an amazing setting. Panda & Son takes the home of a former barber shop, so try and squeeze in a drink here during your 48 hours in Edinburgh! Read about some of the best bars to check out when exploring Edinburgh here.
Enjoyed Exploring Edinburgh?
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