Edinburgh is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the United Kingdom. I don’t know anyone who has anything but the highest of praise for this gorgeous place full of history, great views and banging food.
Below are a couple of things you can get up to in Scotland’s Capital
Live your Harry Potter fantasy
Edinburgh is the birthplace of Harry Potter, more on that later, and Hogwarts itself is located within Scotland, so you can really get your jush as a Harry Potter fan. You’ll find a few Harry Potter themed stores in Edinburgh, namely on the colourful Victoria street, again, more on that later.
You can get yourself a bottle of Butterbeer in The Boy Wizard, one of the biggest and most fun Harry Potter attractions there is in the city.
Don’t forget to look up
I always put this in my city guides, but I really mean it for Edinburgh. The architecture is beyond beautiful, take your head out of your ass and look at all the gorgeous Georgian structures that stand above you. There’s no shortage of beauties in Edinburgh. You’ll find that clock tower looking over the Royal Mile, the prime place to get something tartan, though probably not the cheapest, and that other tower can be found on top of Calton Hill, bring me to…
Watch the sunset from Calton Hill
Simply one of the most beautiful places on this green island we call home.
Calton Hill is home to a weird array of architecture including the National Monument of Scotland and the pictured Dugald Stewart Monument. It’s a banging view of the city, it’s a super cool place to relax and pretty cultured. Made me feel like I was a really smart person.
This is an ideal thing to do on your first day, seeing the city centre from above is kinda magical when the city is as gorgeous as Edinburgh. It honestly took my breath away, you can’t beat it.
Visit the cafè that birthed Harry Potter
So J.K. Rowling supposed wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone during many trips to The Elephant House. It’s really just a place to go and look at or have a coffee and cake if you feel like it, but you can expect it to be busy with Harry Potter fans.
We just had a walk by, as there’s a whole lot of other things to do in the area like petting Greyfriar’s Bobby and Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, again, more on these in a sec!
Appreciate the city’s independent scene
Like Liverpool, Edinburgh has a vibrant independent scene. From amazing coffee shops, like Machina Espresso, to cafes entirely focused on macarons like Mademoiselle Macaron, Edinburgh’s independent scene is thriving. We headed to a whole bunch of independent comic book stores, as well as Assai Records, it’s definitely one of the nicest record stores I’ve ever been to, it trumps my old favourites and the staff were incredibly helpful as we looked for some Record Store Day releases we missed.
Walk the colourful Victoria Street
This is probably one of the most famous attractions, it’s location to the Royal Mile and the Castle makes it an easy one for you to cross off. Victoria Street is known for its gorgeous street fronts and wealth of interesting independent stores, including The Boy Wizard mentioned above! You can dine at many restaurants overlooking the street too, it’s super cool.
Take in the Scott Monument + gaze around Prince’s Streets and Gardens
This incredible monument and the surrounding gardens are at a slightly lower level than the rest of the city. Beautiful buildings ring the gardens, making this the perfect spot to chill out in the daytimes when it’s not too busy. Plus it’s right next to Edinburgh Waverly station, which is probably where you’ll be travelling into, and stopping off at to recreate some Captain America scenes from Infinity War.
Climb Arthur’s Seat + the Salisbury Crag – but do it right
Do your research beforehand, or you’ll end up like me. You’re reading this, which counts as research to me!
So I Google Maps Arthur’s Seat, get to Holyrood Park (in which the mighty Seat sits), shut the app down and start climbing. Except I’m climbing the Salisbury Crags, still beautiful, take a look at them in the third picture here, it’s mindblowing that these are the middle of the city.
So I turn back to climb Arthur’s Seat, and oh lord, do I make a mistake. Do I go up the easy path that I’d read about online? The route you can do in flip-flops? No. No, I don’t. I accidentally take a route which required a large amount of scrambling uphill, all whilst wearing skinny jeans and a brand new pair of white trainers. Upon reaching the top, I end up taking a route down in which I had to throw myself into a small chasm and off of a small rock face.
So, look up the easy route or the hard route, or just do whatever you want to, like me. Whatever you do, it’s an absolutely stunning climb and it’s truly hard to believe that you’re in a capital city when you’re hiking up a mountain’s baby.
Visit some creepy graveyards
Edinburgh has a couple creepy graveyards, you’ll find the Old Calton Burial Ground round the corner from Waverly Station, but none are more famous than Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Greyfriars Kirkyard is absolutely incredible, some of the burial sites date back to the 16th century and you’ll find a fair few notable Edinburgh residents laid to rest here. Have an explore and spot some names that may have inspired a couple of Harry Potter characters, including the Dark Lord himself.
This place is a little full of tourists searching for Harry Potter related names, it can be a little bit distracting, so maybe head here at a quiet time. Definitely worth a visit though, it’s beautiful in it’s own eerie way.
Stroke a dog’s nose for good luck
Round the corner from Greyfriars Kirkyard and just down the road from The Elephant Cafe is a statue of the rather adorable Greyfriars Bobby. Bobby was a dog that rose to notoriety in the 19th century for guarding his owner’s grave for 14 years until he himself died. It’s giving me flashbacks to that one Futurama episode and I want to cry, but don’t cry, go and see tourists happily surrounding this adorable doggo.
Take a nose around Edinburgh Castle
We literally chose to just walk around it, rather than pay to go in, as it was such a glorious day. This centrepiece of the city can be seen from all over and is absolutely stunning. It’s worth seeing up close, but it’s just as beautiful from afar. You’ll never get lost in Edinburgh, you can just meet at the castle.
Thanks for coming to Edinburgh with me.
Next, we’ll be stopping in Nerja, Spain for a wedding.
But in real life, not blog life, I’m heading to Los Angeles tomorrow! Expect that post in 6 months time.