While most of the time I’m dreaming of exotic destinations in faraway countries. The dense jungles of South America, the white beaches of the Caribbean or the palaces of the Middle East. It’s easy to forget about your own country. There is still so much of the United Kingdom I haven’t explored, and I should because it is definitely not lacking in beauty.
In the summer of last year I stayed in Northumberland for a few days. It is the northern most part of England. I had been there many times before as a child so there was practically nothing new to see. Scotland on the other hand was uncharted territory, so what better way to spend the day than exploring its capital. Here are my pointers about getting the most out of your first trip to Edinburgh.
I don’t drive so I had to take the train from Berwick-Upon-Tweed. The journey is about 40-50 minutes direct and is a highlight in itself. If you sit on the right side of the carriage you have beautiful views of the sea and surrounding beaches and cliffs. If you’re lucky enough to be travelling on one of the UK’s very few sunny days like I was, then everything really comes to life. It is guaranteed to put you in a good mood for the rest of the day!
When I visited Edinburgh, coincidentally, it was at the same time was the Fringe Festival. I totally recommend you visit the city while this is on. The event runs from August 5th – August 29th varying on the year so check in advance. It really makes the city such an electric place to be in. The streets are filled with people and various other street performers. I spent a good hour just watching people showing off their wacky talents. There were acrobats, a really flexible woman and a dance off. All you had to do was walk down one of the main streets and you felt like you’d already seen a show (for free!). Be prepared to be handed hundreds of leaflets as well! I wish I had researched the event beforehand because I missed out on being able to see a show. It’s something I would definitely come back to Edinburgh for.
Touristy but Good!
If you’re not in the capital for the Fringe Festival then there’s no need to feel disappointed because there is still so much that this city offers. Be sure to visit the National Monument of Scotland. If you can manage the short hike there you are greeted with magnificent views of the whole city and beyond. It’s also a perfect place for photo opportunities – as I can demonstrate!
If these views aren’t enough for you then I suggest making a trip to Arthur’s Seat. It’s a pretty challenging walk but you are rewarded for your efforts. I think I made it about halfway before giving up (the vertigo won). Still even at this height I could see for miles. Seeing the trains pulling out of Waverley station made Edinburgh look like a miniature model village someone’s grandad would have in their garden shed. The photos here don’t really do it justice. Don’t be like me, aim for the top of the hill – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
It’s important to remember that we live in such a beautiful and diverse country. This is easily forgotten due to events that happen in the news. We take our surroundings for granted as we see them every day. It’s necessary to explore and see what these places have to offer as they’re right on our doorsteps. It’s a lot cheaper than a cruise around the Caribbean anyway?!