It is midnight. My clothes are sticking to my skin, there is a crick in my neck and my head is ponding due to excessive heat. I am 2 hours into a 9 hour coach journey to Edinburgh.
In a typically British manner, no-one directly confronts the driver. Those who do raise a complaint are waved away dismissively with uncaring words.
By 2:00am, I begin to shiver. There is cold air being blasted through the coach. Baked and freeze thawed to the numbing vibration of the night coach, Alice, MC, Eric and I reach Edinburgh in a suitably dishevelled mess.
It is a bright morning and we spend the first 7 hours ‘homeless’ in Edinburgh. We dismiss our yearnings for a soft bed and a shower and we set off, embracing an empty Edinburgh with glee until our hostel check in time at 2:00pm.
We descended into the city without a clue. Starting with a budget breakfast at Snax Cafe, we proceeded to explore the cobbled streets from Princes Street, across the water of Leith then down through the Royal Mile. There is something so captivating about walking through an empty city. We arrived in Edinburgh at 7:00am and there wasn’t a soul in sight. The blue sky was the perfect backdrop to the Fairy-tale like architecture.
|Edinburgh Castle from the streets|
By lunchtime, the quiet streets were replaced by the bustling crowds of Easter. We return to Haggis Hostels for a much needed shower in the afternoon, renewing ourselves for our sunset trek up to Arthur’s seat.
It was a 3 hour round trip from Haggis Hostel to Arthur’s Seat. With the sun blazing down on the city, we decided to take an unconventional route up the extinct volcano, crawling on our hands and feet up a eroded but pathless ascent.
We ended up on hills parallel to the peak of Arthur’s seat, looking down upon the panoramic views of Edinburgh and afar. It was a beautiful evening for the hike.
|Alice and I overlooking Edinburgh|
Our hunger pangs eventually drove us back down to the city centre. With a Gourmet Society Card at hand, we rounded up our day with a delicious meal at Ryan’s Bar in the West End. Our table was situated in what felt like a mini private cove. We were seated at a round table lit by flickering candlelight with soft, ambient piano music playing in the background.
|Delicious and relaxing end to the day!|
|Haggis, neaps and tatties!
(sheeps stomach, mashed turnips
and mashed potato)
7:00am – 9:00pm: 14 hours in Edinburgh and still more to embrace in the city. We spent our second day wandering through The Childhood Museum, strolling through the West End and warming up in The Royal Mile Tavern with a pub lunch.
Wee Tips fer Edinburgh
- Book your hostel in advance, especially during the holiday season. We ended up sneaking Alice into our hostel and secretly bed sharing due to lots of hostels being fully booked!
- Edinburgh is best done over approximately 2 days. One day felt too rushed. By the end of Day 2 we felt like we had covered the city quite comprehensively.
- My top 3 recommendations for things to do in Edinburgh are: an ascent up Arthur’s Seat, The National Museum of Scotland and a stroll down the Royal Mile to take in the beautiful architecture. Don’t forget to check out ‘The Elephant Cafe’, where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter and Tom Riddle’s grave!
- Cheap Eats: The Snax Cafe (famous for it’s Scottish Breakfast only £3.20!) and The Royal Mile Tavern (only £5.95 for a massive and delicious pub lunch).
- Don’t take the coach to Edinburgh, it’s torture. Opt for a 4.5 hour train journey or a one hour flight instead. Our Megabus single was £19.00. Our return flight from Edinburgh to London Gatwick (EasyJet) was £24.99.
- We stayed at Haggis Hostel and Budget Backpackers. Haggis Hostel was standard yet cosy at the cost of £30.00 a night including free breakfast. Budget backpackers was very cheap at £12.50 a night with quirky and fun surroundings!
|Budget Backpackers/Kick Ass Cafe|
Haggis Adventures – 3 Day Skye High
It’s a 8:30am start on Day 1 and our first stop is The Wallace Monument.
|Maybe it’s Nessie. Or maybe it’s a sticker on the boat window, who knows! 😉|
It felt like summer and my heart inflated with joy. We mucked about on a rope-swing. Sat on a tree. Climbed up rocks. Dipped our feet in the icy cold water. Picked up crystal like stones and peered curiously into rock pools teeming with life.
Haggis Adventures Trip Tips
- Get the tour for half price! Visit the Haggis Adventures stall at the TNT Travel Show in London for 50% off the tour price.
- The tour doesn’t include accommodation. Budget £17.00 a night for Morag’s Lodge. Dinner was priced at £7.50 and breakfast at £4.00.
- There were optional extras that I thought should’ve been included in the tour price, but they weren’t. The boat trip on Loch Ness (1 hour) was £13.00, and a show was £5.00 on the last night.
- Although we did cover 300+ miles in the 3 days, the coach journeys never felt long. There were lots of rest stops in between for stretching your legs.
- Overall, I’d highly recommend Haggis Adventures. Great stops, great knowledge of Scotland and an all round good time on the trip!