Where do you even begin when talking about Edinburgh? I'm sure anyone who's been to this city will agree when I say - holy crap. I will admit, this trip was made on my first trip to London so a lot of my planning and devotion had been made to that portion of it but what a mistake that was. Edinburgh is easily my favorite place I've ever traveled to, and I was only there for one full day! I was obsessed the second our tram made it into the city and I saw the sun hitting the buildings in the most beautiful way you could imagine. Ever since, I've been planning my next trip back. I'm hoping to visit near the holidays because, hello, Christmas markets!
But alright, before we get too invested in talking about my next visit, let's go back to why we're here in the first place. Everything about Edinburgh, from the architecture to the people, is on a completely different level from anything I've ever experienced. We were lucky enough to hit a couple of rare sunny days when we were in town. I was able to wear my favorite sundress in a place everyone said was cold and rainy majority of the time so that was a much welcomed surprise. It made walking around the city that much more enjoyable, even though I'm sure I would have loved it just as much in the cold.
The atmosphere in this city is unlike anywhere I've been. Maybe it was because the sun was out in full force, but there was just an all around happiness in the air that spread like wildfire and you could feel it. Although, I'm fairly certain that's just the Scottish way if I take from what the old Scottish man in a pub told me that afternoon. The day started early with a 3am wake-up call for a run and hike up to Arthur's Seat for the sunrise. Admittedly, I didn't make it all the way up to the top (major props to Sheri for tackling that one), but the walk back to the hotel through an old, beautiful cemetery with the sun rising behind us made the early alarm more than worth it. I'm a sucker for old cemeteries so this was insane to me. It was quiet and peaceful and honestly, something I can't even describe because it was just - I don't know. I highly suggest you take a walk through a cemetery at sunrise if you ever find yourself in Edinburgh, or any old cemetery for that matter, because it was amazing. Edinburgh is full of them, and I hear that Tom Riddle is buried somewhere within so that's reason enough to explore, right?
I'm going to admit that a good part of my day was spent being a complete tourist. I didn't go as far as taking one of those open top bus tours through the city, although I've heard that it actually is a really good way to see it. We walked all day and, honestly, I feel like there really isn't any other way to explore Edinburgh if things allow. It is a very hilly city, so be warned. If you're staying anywhere other than Old Town and you want to head that way (you do), you are going to have to walk up quite a few stairs. Your legs will definitely feel it at the end of the night, but you're walking up medieval stairs and through streets surrounded by buildings from the Reformation Era. Mary Queen of Scots walked the same streets, you guys! At the very least, J.K. Rowling did, and that is basically the same thing.
The Royal Mile is a must see filled with cute little shops, pubs, classic churches, and, of course, Edinburgh Castle, among other things. Yes, it's a tourist trap, but the castle is well worth the crowd. Maybe because I love old castles and Mary Stuart is one of my favorite historical figures, but I loved it and I'm so glad that was the big thing I did there. The city was preparing for the Fringe Festival, which I am SO sad I missed. Every year, Edinburgh hosts an array of artists in what is supposedly the largest arts festival in the world. It's held in August and the streets fill up with performers, comedians and musicians take over pubs, films play throughout the city. It's a dream to creatives everywhere and while I missed it, I would love to go during the festival and experience it myself. I was in Edinburgh two months before and they were already handing out programs so they are rightfully very proud of it.
If beyond gorgeous buildings aren't exactly your thing, worry not. Our night was spent out around the city exploring different bars and pubs and there are plenty! I loved the whole pub scene. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not the biggest drinker. I'm an old soul who likes a beer every now and then but would much rather be curled up in bed by 8. I am glad I went out in Edinburgh though and I thought I'd let you in on a couple of my faves from the trip that I think you should definitely check out if you ever find yourself in the area.
BrewDog was by far one of my favorite beers in the UK, if not ever. This place was a little bit more Americanized than other places we checked out in my opinion - their featured beer was Ballast Point from San Diego - but it's really good. They have plenty of locations throughout the UK, but at this particular one, while it was small and jam-packed with people, the vibe is awesome and there are even boardgames at every table to play. They also have seats outside which is really great seeing as it is technically in Old Town. Another selling point - they have pizza and apparently it's the best in Edinburgh so. Check it out! Seriously, I came back home wishing we had this place here. It's craft beer at it's finest so if you like beer, you're going to love this place and maybe you'll even meet a famous Scottish actor who will end up liking your insta of the place at the end of the night.
Another place I am going to recommend that I thought was insanely cool is The Banshee Labryinth. No, it is not even close to what you are picturing in your head right now, it's a million times better. This place was entirely different from any bar I've ever been to. First of all, their tagline is 'Scotland's Most Haunted Pub' so that in itself would tell you what to expect. Yes, they play up the haunted of it all but in the best way possible. You walk in and are instantly faced with a number of tunnel like corridors with stone walls that lead to different bars within the pub and rooms with pool tables, old torture devices, and even a stage. It is colder than a pub should be, and fairly dark, but the drinks are great, and I can only imagine that catching a show down there would be equally as cool. It's a bit different from the typical pub scene, but that's what makes it so great. It's unlike anything you'd expect and if you like horror stuff, check it out. If you don't like horror stuff, check it out. You won't be disappointed.
As you can tell by how lengthy this post got, Edinburgh is a magical place that I think, if given the chance, everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. There is something to do for everyone, no matter age or interests. I was only there for a day and I know that there are a million more things for me to see and do, I didn't even see half of it. I fell head over heels in love with Edinburgh and Scotland and it's people in less than 48 hours. Honestly, I was planning my next trip back before I even boarded the train to Liverpool.
Have you ever traveled anywhere that made you fall in love that quickly? Tell me in the comments below and if you've been to Edinburgh, what are your favorite things to do? Let me know!