When lockdown ends, people will want to start taking holidays again. Holidays abroad might be out of the window. But holidays in the UK (otherwise known as staycations) are gaining popularity because you don't need to self isolate when you get home. There are so many different places to visit, that we wanted to share how to spend a weekend in Edinburgh. Whether you use public transport or you drive to your destination, within a few hours you can be enjoying a staycation.
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland is the most beautiful city. From Edinburgh Castle to Greyfriars Bobby or from shopping in Princes Street to strolling up the Royal Mile. There is something for everyone to do in Edinburgh. You do need at least 3 days to visit Edinburgh and there is a lot of walking involved. But seeing Edinburgh Castle on the top of the hill is an amazing sight to see. Travelling by train, Edinburgh is only 4 or 5 hours away from London Kings Cross. This is the easiest way to travel if you are coming from the south of England.
Where To Stay
Edinburgh Waverley station is right on Princes Street and you will find plenty of hotels in the area to stay central. There really is something for everyone's budget in Edinburgh from youth hostels to 5-star hotels. But it is worth remembering that if you are on a tight budget, it is cheaper to stay outside of the centre of the city. My biggest tip is to make sure that you book your hotel room in advance. You don't want to arrive and find there are no rooms available for you.
In Princes Street, as soon as you walk out of Waverley Station you find Old Waverley hotel, an elegant hotel opposite Princes Street Garden, so you have a beautiful view to wake up to. But if you are on a budget, you can always stay in a room at Destiny Student - Shrubhill which is campus accommodation and rooms start at £29 per night.
Getting Around Edinburgh
Edinburgh is so rich in history and the best way to see the city is by taking a hop on - hop off bus tour. Then when you see somewhere that you want to explore, you can get off the bus. You also learn more about the city with a bus tour, because they usually have a running commentary. Hop on - Hop off tickets usually last for 48 hours, so that is 2 days of transport as well as entertainment and education of the beautiful city.
There is a great local bus service, with regular buses that serve the centre of the city as well as the outskirts and further afield. The best ticket to buy is a day rider ticket or a week rider ticket because you get more value for your money. You can also walk around the city. I always say that the best thing to do in a new city is to get lost. This way you find places that you wouldn't normally see.
The Royal Mile
In The Royal Mile, Which is the old town and you really need a day to spend there as there is so much to do. You will find Camera Obscura which is a world of illusions, right next to Edinburgh Castle at the top of the hill. It is £15.75 for an adult ticket and £12.75 for a child (under 5s are free). The Scotch Whiskey Experience is something for people of all ages to visit. Prices start from as little as £17 for the 1-hour tour and a sample glass of whiskey at the end. Children receive a glass of Irn Bru, a traditional soft drink of Scotland.
There is The Real Mary Kings Close, a tour of an old close that sits underneath the buildings along The Royal Mile. You step back into 400 years of history and learn about how people lived there and all about when the plague hit them. The beautiful old buildings of The Royal Mile make you feel like you really have stepped back in time. As you walk up and down the hill, you can listen to men in traditional Scottish kilts playing the bagpipes. You can also choose to do a walking tour of The Royal mile.
Sitting at the top of Castle Hill, you will find Edinburgh Castle at the end of The Royal Mile. It was built in the 11th century but there is history there that goes right back to The Iron Age. You can visit Edinburgh Castle by booking tickets online. Adults are £15.50 and children are £9.30, with children under 5 going free. There are also discounts for English Heritage visitors.
There is plenty to do in Edinburgh Castle, especially for children. There is an exhibition that tells the story of the wars of independence. And how the medieval stronghold changed hands so many times as the English and Scots fought to rule Scotland. The one o'clock gun is something that makes tourist jump when they visit Edinburgh. It was first fired in1861 to help sailors get the correct time on their clocks. It is said that when the one o'clock gun is fired, local people calmly check their watch. Whilst a visitor to Edinburgh jumps out of their skin.
This is the place to go shopping. For me, this is the most central place in Edinburgh. As soon as you leave Waverly station, you step right into the bustling Princes Street. You can shop is tourist shops selling Scottish souvenirs and Tartan goodies, as well as main high street stores. Princes Street is the best place to get a bus to another destination too.
Alongside Princes Street you will find Princes Street Gardens. A lovely area to sit and have a picnic in the summer or a place to meet up with friends on lazy days. You will find an open-air theatre called the Ross Bandstand, a war memorial to US soldiers of Scottish descent and a beautiful floral clock. There are also other attractions to keep an eye out for. Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is one of the largest monuments in the world that is dedicated to a writer. There are 287 steps to the top of the monument, and you can climb it for a small admission fee.
Leith is an area of Edinburgh that is home to longtime locals as well as people who want somewhere different to live, outside of the city centre. It is a busy port district that is full of waterside bistros and local traditional pubs to enjoy. But that isn't all that Leith has to offer. You can easily get a bus from Princes Street to the waterfront and it only takes 25 minutes or half an hour.
It is home to The Royal Yacht Britannia, which you can visit. It is a former residence of the Royal family and you get to see the elegant royal apartments and there is even a Rolls Royce on board. Tickets are £17 for an adult and £8.75 for a child. There is a tea room onboard, so you can even take afternoon tea on The Royal Yacht Britannia!
As well as local thrift shops in Leith, you can also go shopping in Ocean Terminal Shopping Mall. You can combine a trip to the mall with a visit to The Royal Yacht Britannia, there is a gift shop there too. You can also find plenty of places to eat and there is a cinema to watch the latest movies.
Holidaying Whilst In A Pandemic
Obviously, if you decide to travel in a global pandemic, you need to take into consideration covid safe precautions. You need to remember to hand sanitise, social distance and only travel if it is safe to do so. Hopefully, we will be able to have a staycation this year, because we need to put money back into our economy.
In collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views are my own