Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Edinburgh Guide: Things To Do, See and Eat

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Zoo, Palace of Holyroodhouse, National Museum Of Scotland, Travel, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

As planned on my Bucket List, I wanted to visit Scotland this year and Edinburgh in particular. I've never been that far north in the UK and never visited Scotland either, so it was definitely a big trip for me! We traveled on Bank Holiday Monday via an easyJet flight from Gatwick (roughly an hour) then had rest of the afternoon, Tuesday, Wednesday then flew back home Thursday afternoon. I'd say 3-4 days is the perfect time to visit all the main attractions at a leisurely pace. We stayed at CityRoomz Hotel, which is more on the budget side but great value for money. It was easy to walk to places and to take the bus or tram to the airport, definitely recommend!

First onto the things to do and see in Edinburgh:

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Zoo, Palace of Holyroodhouse, National Museum Of Scotland, Travel, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

1. Arthur's Seat

If you're fairly fit and don't mind doing a bit of hiking, Arthur's Seat in a must-do! We couldn't find the start of the path, until we realised we weren't going in the right direction.... so it would be worth asking someone beforehand. It is a difficult climb, a lot of jagged stones as steps and towards the top it's uneven and you're literally using your hands to hike yourself up. But the view is definitely work it, you can see all across Edinburgh and on the other side of Scotland over the sea.

There's a smaller alternative to Arthur's Seat, Calton Hill which has an observatory tower and still great views!

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Zoo, Palace of Holyroodhouse, National Museum Of Scotland, Travel, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

2. Edinburgh Castle

Word has it J.K.Rowling took inspiration from Edinburgh Castle for Hogwarts and you can sort of see it! The castle itself is built on an extinct volcano and does look very impressive from Princes Street. I'd 100% recommend buying tickets ahead, we actually purchased ours with our bus tour tickets for the same price and skipped the queues. You do have to pay extra for an audio guide, but there are free speaking tours leaving every hour which are worth it. Again, the views from the top are amazing as are the old and ancient buildings and museums.

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Zoo, Palace of Holyroodhouse, National Museum Of Scotland, Travel, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

3. Edinburgh Zoo

Much like London Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo is a big attraction and their giant pandas are the only pandas in the UK, so they're a pretty big deal even if they don't really leave their beds! We spent an afternoon wandering through the park and seeing all the animals, including rhinos, zebras, chimpanzees, koalas and penguins. If you can try and visit when there's a feeding time or something going on, we saw the penguins go for a walk during the afternoon. It's just a short bus ride out from the town center, and I should mention that Edinburgh had some of the best and easiest public transport I've experienced on holiday!

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Zoo, Palace of Holyroodhouse, National Museum Of Scotland, Travel, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Zoo, Palace of Holyroodhouse, National Museum Of Scotland, Travel, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

4. National Museum of Scotland

This is a fun place to head to if it's a cloudy or rainy day, the National Museum of Scotland is totally free and provides hours of entertainment. We unfortunately didn't have long in the museum, but long enough to explore Natural World and Science and Technology exhibits. I was so impressed with how well thought out the museum was as you wandered from one exhibit to the next, and how interactive each area was.

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Zoo, Palace of Holyroodhouse, National Museum Of Scotland, Travel, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

5. Palace of Holyroodhouse

We couldn't not go to Edinburgh and not visit the Queen's summer holiday palace! The Palace of Holyroodhouse is near Arthur's Seat and the Scottish Parliament, so we headed here after visiting those two. We didn't booked tickets and the queue wasn't too bad on a sunny Wednesday, but it may be a good idea to book ahead. We chose to just visit the palace as we didn't have ages to spend there and not that much of an interest in the rest! An audio guide is included in the price and all you have to do is push a number for each stop for them to tell you a bit of history, you go round the palace and see the rooms Mary Queen of Scots lived in, then outside to the ruined abbey and finally round the pristine gardens.


And finally, places to eat! We had a buffet breakfast at our hotel for two mornings, ate out one morning and two evenings. Otherwise it would be picking up something to snack on to keep us going throughout the day! My friend is gluten intolerant and I found most of my recommendations from www.glutenfreeedinburgh.com and we were so surprised that a lot of the places offered great gluten-free versions.

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, The Caffeine Drip, Mamma's Pizza, Bread Meats Bread, Eat, Food


This place came up as the best place for breakfast in Edinburgh, and it didn't disappoint. The do gluten-free bread, omelettes, french toast and a build-your-own breakfast. We chose 3 poached eggs, 2 slices of bacon, mushrooms and 2 slices of bread with a raspberry smoothie - and it definitely filled us up! It was on the pricier side for breakfast, but well worth the money. 


Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, The Caffeine Drip, Mamma's Pizza, Bread Meats Bread, Eat, Food

2. Mamma's

A recommendation from www.glutenfreeediburgh.com and a real gem of Edinburgh. With so many pizzas to choose from and a gluten-free version, which my friend said was the best gluten-free pizza she's ever had, you are spoilt for choice. The sweet potatoe fries were also excellent and the waitress was so lovely and giving us recommendations of what to do in the city.

Things To Do, See and Eat In Edinburgh, The Caffeine Drip, Mamma's Pizza, Bread Meats Bread, Eat, Food


As if I would go to another city and not have a burger?! This was a recommendation from Hayley from Honestly Russell (who was a total angel in giving us so many recommendations!) and just around the corner from our hotel. I chose the Butter Bacon Burger with cheese, fried onions and chopped bacon and we shared sweet potatoe fries, obviously! They also do a gluten-free burger bun for my friend too and again the service was very good. 


Our next trip will be Rome in July, so if you have any recommendations there please do let me know!

Have you been to Edinburgh before?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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