My husband and I recently returned home from our first trip to the United Kingdom. We spent the first leg of our trip in England, staying in London and Chipping Campden. For the last stop on our trip, we took a sleeper train from London up to Edinburgh where we stayed for three nights.
How We Got There
First of all, the sleeper train is the way to go if you’re wanting to get from London to Scotland. We took a Caledonian Sleeper, and it was an awesome experience. A daytime train would take about four hours, which is four hours lost that you could be exploring and sightseeing. The sleeper train takes about seven and a half hours, but those are hours you would be sleeping anyway, so you aren’t really losing any vacation time. We got a room with bunk beds. It was a little snug for two adults with two full sized suitcases, but it was manageable. And bonus, the bed was surprisingly comfortable.
Our first night in Edinburgh, we booked a room in a castle. It was kind of expensive and farther away from the city, so we only stayed there one night, and stayed at a closer hotel the other two nights. The castle was called Dalhousie Castle and we stayed in a themed four poster room. It was very pretty and had a wonderful view out over a field. The hotel also has a restaurant where you can get breakfast or lunch called the Orangery, a bar in a library, and another very cool themed restaurant called The Dungeon Restaurant. They also have a spa and fun activities like falconry and archery. The only complaints I have about this hotel are the distance from the city, and the mattress. The mattress was so uncomfortable. It felt like it must have been the original mattress from 1450. But if you can get over that, it’s worth it to stay in a castle for a night!
We spent our last two nights at The Murrayfield Hotel. It’s not right in the middle of the touristy area, but it’s close enough to the Royal Mile. It’s about a 20-30 minute walk or a 10 minute bus ride. I really liked this hotel. It looked nice, the staff was friendly, and it was comfortable. They did not have a lift, so we had to carry our luggage up the stairs. This is especially worth noting if you have mobility issues. Other than that, we have no complaints for this hotel. They also have a restaurant called The Bothy where we ate breakfast and dinner once.
The buses in Edinburgh are really easy to figure out and are pretty much the best way to get around without having a car.
Things To Do
On our first day in Edinburgh, we visited the National Museum of Scotland. Admission to the museum is free. The museum isn’t huge, but it has a wide variety of displays, including natural history, fashion, transportation, and more.
After the National Museum, we walked the Royal Mile. This historic road is lined with shops and restaurants and runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace.
We also went into Edinburgh Castle and learned all about it’s rich history.
We did a tour and tasting at The Scotch Whiskey Experience. You start by taking a ride in a barrel to learn about the process of making whiskey. Then you end up in a room that holds a huge collection of scotch where you get the opportunity to sample some.
Everyone told us we had to hike to Arthur’s Seat, and luckily the weather allowed for it. The views were stunning! The pictures don’t even do it justice. It’s a little strenuous if you aren’t usually very active, so allow for a couple of hours to do this hike.
We also did a day trip into the highlands. We went to Stirling Castle, stopped for lunch in a small town, visited Loch Lomond, and then we went to Glengoyne Distillery for a whiskey tour and tasting. I will write more about our day trip in a separate post. But in the mean time, check out these pictures!
Edinburgh was the perfect way to end our trip. I only wish we had more time to spend there, but now we have an excuse to go back!