A week off continued…
The next part of our trip saw us heading up to Scotland. I have never been that far North before so was very much looking forward to it.
We checked out of our hotel, loaded ourselves up like pack mules we went out to load up the car, belts buckled and sat nav set we headed off waving good bye to the lovely Daffodil Hotel (we will be back one day I’m sure).
The drive out of the Lake District is something to be marveled at with it’s picturesque scenery, rolling hills and stone walls, not to mention the grey scale tones the sheep came in!
It took us just under three hours to get to Edinburgh, we weren’t in any great hurry, taking in all the scenery as we went. Arriving in Edinburgh the fun soon began, we were staying in the Ibis Styles in St Andrews Square
, the problem I had when finding a hotel to stay in when planning our trip was finding one that came with parking, so our first job was to find a car park that was near to where we were staying! It turned out to be fairly easy and I don’t remember getting lost at this point, however trying to navigate your way out of the car park on foot was a nightmare, we had to go through a John Lewis…could we find the exit??!! I wanted to throw down my bags and shout get me out of here! Eventually we saw the sun shining through a door way and managed to get out before we became a piece of the furniture in the store. Once we got out side to day light – phew- we made our way to our hotel to drop off our luggage, good old Google Maps was our friend for the next few days. We managed to find our hotel fairly easily but the long way round, anyway we climbed the steps with me trailing behind in a grump. The lady at reception was nice and friendly and answered all of my questions with ease and informed us that we had been upgraded to a superior room, hoorah! Despite being early for check in (again) we were given our keys and made our way up to the top floor of the hotel. The superior-ness of our hotel room meant that it came with a balcony which was great, the first day it was clear weather and we had a fantastic view of the City, Dave asked me to remind him to take a photo before we left, however this was not to be as the weather soon turned and we were left with this wonderful view! Bad times 🙁
We dropped off our bags and went out to explore a city that was new to me. We picked a good location to stay, it was fairly easy walking distance to get to everything we wanted to see.
Right at the bottom of the road was a very gothic looking piece of architecture called the Scott Monument, it was almost eerie looking standing tall at the bottom of the road, we later learnt that it is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott and stands at 60 meters tall, so as you can imagine it’s quite imposing… so now you know too 😉
We found ourselves making our way up to the famous Edinburgh Castle, we had thought that we might not go in but soon changed our minds once stood outside. There wasn’t a queue to get in so we made our way through the entrance, there were lots of work men setting up for the Edinburgh Tattoo it looked like a huge task but a great event to see I bet. We walked in through the brick entrance and went in search of the ticket office, after being served by a very friendly lady we made our way through the ticket barrier and started our tour of the castle. We spent a good few hours looking in all the different rooms they had and learnt a lot along our way. It was bustling with tourists as you would expect but worth a visit, Dave even found his own Tower!
Once we had finished at the Castle we wandered back to our hotel to get changed and search out somewhere nice for dinner. Where we were staying in St Andrews Square was very handy for places to eat as it backed on to Rose Street and George Street, both good streets for restaurants and bars. We left the hotel and went into All Bar One for a drink, after here we came across an American Restaurant called The Filling Station
at this point we were starving, the menu looked like it had plenty we would both like so we made our way in and settled into a booth in the window.
We both had two courses and left feeling stuffed! The highlight for me was warm dough pretzels with sea salt and garlic butter, scrum! After a couple more drinks we made our way back to our hotel with full bellies and heavy eyes from our eventful day.
The next morning we woke up and went down for breakfast, it was a little different to what we were expecting, being that it wasn’t a cooked breakfast – cue a grumbling Dave, it was continental style but still a huge amount to choose from. Once refueled we made our way out of the hotel to further explore Edinburgh. We didn’t really have any plans so just walked and walked… and walked everywhere! The weather had turned a bit miserable so we made plenty of coffee and beer stops. I think Edinburgh is a place best discovered by foot, there are so many little streets steeped in history and hidden away.
We walked along the Royal Mile and found a Bakery that was highly recommend by a good friend, called Mimi’s Bakehouse
, it would have been rude not to try it so we popped in and came out with boxes of lovely treats, including a delicious Snickers Chocolate Brownie! It was the best thing I had eaten in a long time, thanks for the recommendation Helena!
After our brief pit stop we carried on along the Royal Mile and soon found ourselves outside some strange looking buildings, after a quick search for a sign we discovered they were the Parliament Buildings, they were certainly very different!
Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of them so you will have to go and visit for yourself. Opposite this was Holyrood Palace which is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland, it’s a really beautiful building in which the Queen spends one week at in the summer, where she carries out official engagements and ceremonies. If you keep walking along here you come to the bottom of a very steep hill in which you can climb up to Arthurs Seat, this was what we were going to do the following day so we turned around and went back in search of somewhere to rest of feet for a little while.
In the evening we had arranged to meet with a good friend who lives in Glasgow, he caught the train in so we met him from the station and went in search of somewhere to eat for dinner. He took us to an area called The Grass Market, we went to a pub and had a little catch up then walked on to find somewhere nice to eat, we ended up in a little Mexican called Mariachi
which was lovely and a good choice by Stu, I would highly recommend! We stuffed our faces with Nachos and Burritos and left in search of another bar for a drink before Stu had to catch the train home. We walked back in the direction of our hotel and found a little bar called The Boozy Cow
unfortunately for the boys it was mostly a cocktail bar, I was in my element and the boys embraced it, going for manly Irn Bru Cocktails… why would you not drink Irn Bru when in Scotland!
Soon it was time for Stu to catch his train so we walked back to the station with him, with the promise of catching up soon. We wandered back to our hotel and packed up our bags in preparation for check out the next morning.
In the morning we went down for our last breakfast and checked out soon after. We were heading back down South and stopping off in Stoke on Trent to break up the trip home… I will tell you why we were staying here in my next post! However before this we made a trip up to Arthur’s Seat, normally this (I imagine) would be a beautiful walk but because of the weather we could barely see 10ft in front of us because of thick fog, we sweated our way up the steep hill to see yet more fog, then made our way back down feeling quite disappointed.
We really enjoyed Edinburgh and will definitely add it on our places to go back and visit, perhaps we will fly next time though!
I would highly recommend it for any one that likes exploring historic cities and walking, it is also very good for food and drink lovers! Thanks for having us Scotland you were a pleasure, despite the weather!