Edinburgh has a story for everyone; it’s a romance and a thriller; a tale about magic and a tale about murder; it’s a volume of history and it’s stories of legend. It’s possible to enjoy Edinburgh for the views, the whisky and the inspirational coffee shops, but I recommend you go on a few guided tours; the city is much more than meets the eye.
where i stayed
Castle Rock…I try not to be pushy with my travel suggestions, but staying at Castle Rock is one of the exceptions. If you never stayed at a hostel or are against it for whatever principal, I beg you to make an exception for Castle Rock. It’s price, it’s location–steps away from Edinburgh Castle–and the social life facilitated at Castle Rock is amazing. It will make a hosteler out of anyone!
Getting from the Airport to Castle Rock, is as easy as taking Bus 101. When you walk out of the airport, you can’t miss it.
There are also grocery stores nearby, so you can very easily save on a few meals by using Castle Rock’s kitchen!
View of Edinburgh Castle for Castle Rock
- Sandeman’s free tour was fantastic!! They meet just down the street from Castle Rock by the Starbucks. They offer a lot of other tours, too, but I believe those cost money.
- I discovered Strawberry Tours while in London. They were awesome. Looks like they have tours in Edinburgh as well. I suggest checking it out.
- The Potter Trail I discovered on one of my last days and couldn’t go. But it would have to be excellent, right?
- Mercat Tours are not free but very excellent. I went on their Outlander tour and their ghost tour. The ghost tour was great because Mercat actually bought one of the bridges that is said to be the most haunted place in the UK. It’s where I got my orb pictures. Ooooooo.
- Day Tour to Highlands: There are a lot of options, online and at the tourist office. I chose Ness Bus because it was pretty cheap and simple. I hate tours that cram too much into the day.
- Literary Pub Tour was hilarious and so nerdy. I really loved it. It’s an odd tour to be on on your own; lots of couples were on my tour. But it’s still great, so you should definitely not let that stop you!
things to see and do
- Balmoral for tea. If you go and REALLY want to geek out with Harry Potter, sneak up to room 552. It’s the JK Rowling suite where she finished the 7th book. The door knocker is an owl.
- The Scotland Whiskey Experience was worth the time. Great taste of the different types of Scotches and just all around entertaining.
- Climb Arthur’s Seat on a clear-ish day. It will take about 2 hours, but it’s worth it.
- Edinburgh Castle
- The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place every summer in front of Edinburgh Castle.
- Greyfriars Kirkyard–look for Tom M Riddle
View of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat
- Lots of fun, catchy pubs in the Grassmarket
- End of the World
- Black Medicine Coffee has a great vibe and that’s right next to Blackwells, which is an adorable bookshop.
- Elephant House is where JK wrote book one. Go early so you can get a seat with a good view of what inspired Harry Potter. Warning, there is no wifi so if you’re a nomad looking to work, go to basically any other cafe in Edinburgh.
- … and check out all the coffee shops where JK Rowling did not write.
- Roads and Kingdom’s 16 Things to Know Before You Go to Edinburgh
- 15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Edinburgh
- 25 Things to do in Edinburgh before you die by from the Scotsman.com
- What Nomadic Matt has to say about Edinburgh
- Lonely Planet’s Guide to Edinburgh
- Fodor’s Travel Guide to Edinburgh
- U.S. New’s Guide to Edinburgh
- Free Things to do in Edinburgh from VisitScotland.com