24 Hours in Edinburgh

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Is not enough, but hey it’s a beautiful yet compact enough city you could probably walk away happy after spending a solid day here.

What’s so great about Edinburgh?

* Its old and new towns are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

*It is UNESCO’s first city of literature because of its literary heritage.

*It ranks as one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities.

Here’s how to prepare:

Read:

* Anything by Sir Walter Scott. For a taster, try The Highland Widow.

* Harry Potter books, which were written in Edinburgh

* Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Conan Doyle

* For more modern mysteries, check out Ian Rankin

Listen:

Sunshine on Leith the musical. Leith Walk is where we’re staying. It’s an area chock-full of character, including Polish, Indian, Chinese, and Russian grocery stores; a Ukrainian church and a Sikh temple; and loads of mental folks. If you walk all the way to the end of Leith Walk you’ll reach Ocean Terminal, a beautiful spot itself.

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Jekyll and Hyde the musical—Robert Lewis Stevenson grew up here in Edinburgh.

Auld Lang Syne words credit of Robert Burns, national poet

Watch:

* Braveheart with Mel Gibson (though the movie is full of historical holes, nevertheless William Wallace and Robert the Bruce are extremely important in Scottish history.)

* The cult classic Trainspotting

*The first James Bond film with Sean Connery, a native of Edinburgh

Surf:

Familysearch.org. Chances are, you have Scottish ancestry somewhere in your line and learning their names, hometowns, and any story you can about your heritage will immeasurably enrich your experience.

Wear some good walking shoes!’

And if you’re interested in a tour guide, may I recommend Ross Tillbrook.

So here’s your must sees while in Edinburgh:

Arrive at Waverley Train Station.

Exit and cross over to Prince Street Gardens and get a glimpse of New Town and the volcanic crater.

Grab a bus to Greyfriar’s Kirk. The kirk (church) is located just off George IV Bridge, 10 minutes walk from Waverley Station. You can get to us by using Lothian Buses service numbers 2, 23, 27, 35, 41, 42, 45 and 67.

It has a beautiful cemetery full of stories, and you can get a glimpse of the school that inspired Hogwarts of Harry Potter fame.

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As well as get an insight into the city’s gloomy history, which includes murdering to sell bodies to anatomists by the infamous Burke and Hare, grave robbing, and hauntings.

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Head down into Grassmarket which has some of the oldest pubs in town and where public executions used to take place. Read the plaques next to the pubs and you can learn about its most famous execution, that of Maggie Dickson. Don’t miss Victoria Street, the prettiest street in Edinburgh.

Climb the stairs up to the castle, inhabited since at least first century AD, located on the plug of an extinct volcano.

edinburgh sunset

You can follow the Royal Mile all the way down to the bottom to Holyrood Castle.

holyrood 

Along the way, don’t miss Giles Cathedral and the Parliament building.

giles

parliament

End by walking up Carlton Hill, which is within walking distance from Holyrood Palace although a bit of a hike. It’s an awe-inspiring view of the entire city. It even has an art museum at the top. Maybe you’ll hit a good weather day—after all, it won’t be dead of winter like it was for us—and you’ll witness a beautiful sunset. Even with the rain, it’s lovely.

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Bonus: Foods to try

Don’t miss haggis. Don’t find out what it is until after you eat it, and you might be pleasantly surprised at the taste

haggis

Look for this yogurt in the grocery store. It’s so good it’s miraculous. Other kinds of yogurt don’t compare.

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Free museums on or near the Royal Mile:

Museum of Childhood—all about former toys

children's museum

Museum of Edinburgh—the history of the city

National Museum of Scotland—this couldn’t even be completed in two days it’s so massive

national museum

The Writer’s Museum—about some of the most famous authors from Edinburgh

Museum on the Mound—all about banking

bank museum

Two months wasn’t enough time in this surprisingly livable, busy and exciting city of 500,000 people. It’s easy to like.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 366 awesome articles for us.

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