Adventures · International Getaways · The UK

48 Hours in Edinburgh

A couple of weeks ago, on a whim, I booked a solo Ryanair flight to Edinburgh. I had never been to Scotland, and was eager to add another country to my list… the flight was also only 30 euro ($35) round trip, so how could I pass that opportunity up?! So, I booked the hour-long flight that got me there at 8 am, and got me home the next night at 9 pm, and happily went to town researching this random place.

Holy moly, y’all. The charm. It definitely felt like the old world, and I had a feeling that if I squinted hard enough, I’d be able to see little ole Oliver Twist covered in soot. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but I fell in love!

After checking in to Castlerock Hostel (totally recommend!) and dropping my stuff off in their luggage room, I did Sandeman’s free walking tour to get my bearings on the city. I ALWAYS advise doing a tour- and who can say no to free? Of course, donations are taken at the end, but it sure beats paying $20 for something that’s not even guaranteed to be good.

The tour ended in front of the National Museum of Scotland, so I took a couple of hours to wander. One of the amazing things about Edinburgh is that most of their museums are free! This worked out great, as I only withdrew £50 ($75), to last me two days- I was determined to make the city fit my budget!

Why is American money so boring? Pounds have PIZAZZ!
Why is American money so boring? Pounds have PIZAZZ!

The museum was around the corner from The Elephant House, the birthplace of Harry Potter! No, really. J.K. Rowling sat in this cafe and wrote the first two Harry Potter books. I sat down with a slice of lemon lavender cake and chai, and soaked up the environment. The cafe is FILLED with elephants (my absolute favorite animal) as well as Harry Potter memos here and there. As a fellow writer, I felt so amazed to have stumbled upon this- it’s certainly something 5th grader Monique never thought she’d do!

The bathrooms were COVERED in HP themed graffiti. I knew I had to contribute.
The bathrooms were COVERED in HP themed graffiti. I knew I had to contribute.
The tea even came in its own teapot, with a tea strainer and everything so the fresh tea leaves wouldn't be all up in cho tea.
The tea even came in its own teapot, with a tea strainer and everything so the fresh tea leaves wouldn’t be all up in cho tea.
Continuing on the HP theme, found the tombstone that inspired Voldemort's name too!
Continuing on the HP theme, found the tombstone that inspired Voldemort’s name too!

Walked around some more, and ended the night with a meal of haggis at The Royal Mile Tavern. For those that don’t know, haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made of a sheep’s… well, everything. It’s made up of spices, oats, and sheep “leftovers”- the heart, lungs, liver, etc. I liked it- to me, it just tasted like really peppery ground beef. You could definitely feel the waxy liver texture though, which I didn’t really care for. Mexicans stomach some weird foods anyway though (menudo, barbacoa, etc.), so, to me, it wasn’t a big deal meal.

Chicken stuffed with haggis, mashed potatoes, and veggies. Yum!
Chicken stuffed with haggis, mashed potatoes, and veggies. Yum!

The next day, I was all over town. I stopped in St. Giles’ Cathedrial, hiked up Arthur’s Seat, wandered through the Museum of Edinburgh, peeked into The Writer’s Museum, went vintage shopping, ate a cheap and delicious Asian lunch, strolled down a UNESCO street in New Town, sampled amazing homemade marshmallows, and took another hike up Calton Hill to get the cliche Edinburgh picture. I walked 12.5 miles according to my pedometer, and I believe it.

My hostel was at the foot of Edinburgh castle... which I didn't visit. Admission was $25!
My hostel was at the foot of Edinburgh castle… which I didn’t visit. Admission was $25!
Inside St. Giles' Cathedral. Here is where the Queen, Charles, Will AND Kate have all sat in these chairs. Y'all. Starstruck.
Inside St. Giles’ Cathedral. Here is where the Queen, Charles, Will AND Kate have all sat. Y’all. Starstruck.
Morning hikes- and the SUN! On top of the world.
Morning hikes- and the SUN! On top of the world.
The Writer's Museum is housed in a 17th century mansion.
The Writer’s Museum is housed in a 17th century mansion.
Samples inside The Marshmallow Lady. Y'all HAVE to stop in! You have never eaten a real marshmallow until you eat one from here.
Samples inside The Marshmallow Lady. Y’all HAVE to stop in! You have never eaten a real marshmallow until you eat one from here.
New Town - the suburbs before there was a such concept. 250 years ahead of its time!
New Town – the suburbs before there was a such concept. 250 years ahead of its time!
When you Google Edinburgh, you usually get this shot!
Calton Hill- A Google of Edinburgh usually brings up this shot!

There wasn’t anything that I ventured to see that I didn’t end up liking. So if you’re looking for a good cheat sheet on what to do, here is a good one! I loved Edinburgh, and would definitely come back again. The fact that they’re on the pound kills me because it makes everything SO expensive, but I felt content with what I did and I stayed in my budget too! And, I didn’t visit the “legendary” castle, but I was okay with what I did get to do. I also traveled solo for the first time- which I’ll be writing about soon, too!

Cheers,

Monique

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6 thoughts on “48 Hours in Edinburgh

  1. Monique you are going to waste away walking 12.5 miles a day! This trip looks fabulous- I can’t believe you were able to stick to that budget. You’re amazing girl ❤
    I didn't know she wrote the book there; it's so cool about 'he who shall not be named'…. 🙂

  2. If I close my eyes, use my imagination, and envision your photos, I feel like I traveled to Scotland too! I love the history, the architecture, the views, and the culture! One thing I couldn’t quite feel like I enjoyed was the marshmallows…hard to imagine without actually having one. YOU MUST LEARN HOW TO MAKE AUTHENTIC SCOTTISH MARSHMALLOWS for when you return!

  3. Wow, great weather in Edinburgh! Looks totally different from when I went last week. I stayed in the Castle Rock Hostel, too. We had the Robin Hood room and were briefly in the Sid Vicious Room before we got upgraded to the “Moulin Rouge Suite” – I loved the themes!

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