Edinburgh was the place to go for New Year 2015/2016. The city has it all. Castles, palaces, extinct volcanoes, royal gardens and underground vaults. But we mainly went because Edinburgh is the home of Hogmanay, Scotland’s famous New Year Festival. Full of history and with the most magical surroundings, it’s easy to see how JK Rowling was inspired to write her Harry Potter books here.
We stayed for four nights which gave us plenty of time to celebrate the New Year and to explore. The capital is a great place to visit as you can walk everywhere. It’s also super easy to get into the city from the airport – buses go regularly into the city centre (cost 4.50 pounds). Our accommodation was great- modern, only a 20 minute walk from the city centre and slept 14 people. Here is the link: www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/3391675.
Below I have listed some activities to do and some places to eat at which I would highly recommend!
If you only have time for one tourist activity in Edinburgh this should be it. We spent the afternoon here. Entry is 16 pounds and you get entry to:
- St Margaret’s Chapel
- The Honours of Scotland
- The Great Hall
- Prisons of War.
Only a 15 minute walk from the city centre is Carlton Hill. From the top of the hill there are great views of the sea, the town and of Arthur’s Seat (an extinct volcano in Holyrood Park). There is a mini unfinished Parthenon (the National Monument) at the top which pays tribute to the Scottish Soldiers. If you’re feeling more adventurous you can also climb Arthur’s Seat.
Find Tom Riddell’s grave
As I mentioned earlier JK Rowling wrote some of her Harry Potter books here in Edinburgh. She was inspired by her surroundings and even stole some names from a cemetry for her characters. In Greyfriar’s Kirkyard you can find Tom Riddell’s grave and also McGonagal’s.
Although I am a big sook the majority of our group wanted to go on this tour hence I went along. I was petrified the whole time and was too scared to enjoy it, but if you are into this sort of thing I can imagine it would be really good. You go into the underground vaults of the city and also into Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. They tell you all about the history of Edinburgh, including lots of scary stories.
Stockbridge is an affluent neighbourhood only 10 minutes walk from town. It feels like a village and it’s nice to just walk the pretty streets and immerse yourself in the culture.
Thing to do:
- Royal Botanical Gardens
- Walk along the Leith river
- Eat at one of the many cafe’s. We went on a public holiday though so a lot of places were closed,
Places to eat and drink:
There are lots of places to eat and drink in Edinburgh but here are a few of my faves. You have to try haggis while in Scotland!
- Devil’s Advocate Whiskey Bar, Old Town. Must try: whiskey (duh).
- Urban Angel, New Town – be prepared to wait half an hour here. Must try: vegetarian haggis
- The Dogs, New Town
- The Pantry, Stockbridge. Must try: haggis
Greyfriar’s Bobby Pub – we went here after the Ghost Tour.
Edinburgh was lovely, I would definitely recommend a trip here. But don’t forget to bring your winter woollies if you plan to visit in December, it’s rather chilly!