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Thursday, March 3, 2016

24 Hours in the Scottish Capital, Edinburgh

I've never heard a person say that they didn't like Edinburgh when they visited Scotland, in fact it is the opposite, everyone raves about it! It may have taken us two years in the UK to finally make it to Scotland but I'm so glad we finally did. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city to explore and despite having only one night in the city we made full use of the 24 hours we had to see and do as much as possible! We fell in love with Edinburgh's architecture, the fact it is surrounded by such natural beauty and the charm of the friendly Scottish people. Even if you are short on time in this wonderful city, here is our guide on to how to spend a jam packed 24 hours in Edinburgh!

Edinburgh Scotland from Arthurs Seat

We arrived into Edinburgh at 10am and even arrived to sunny skies (though sadly they didn't last too long). Getting into the city centre couldn't have been easier using the Airlink buses. The bus stop was located immediately outside the terminal. We paid £7.50 each for a return ticket into the city which was good because it wasn't just a day return and we could still use it the next day for our return to the airport to pick up our hire car! The buses leave every 10 minutes and the journey to the city centre takes about 30 minutes. It was a nice drive as we drove from the countryside through to the beautiful, historical streets of Edinburgh and it was really exciting when we got our first views of the very impressive Edinburgh Castle!

Edinburgh Airport Sign

We were staying in the heart of Edinburgh at the G&V Royal Mile Hotel, which is the only five star hotel on the historic Royal Mile. The hotel was perfectly located in the centre of Edinburgh and only a few minutes walk to most of the main attractions in the city which we loved as we only had limited time to explore! The luxurious G&V was a wonderful, incredibly stylish hotel that boasted beautiful city views and we received excellent service throughout our stay. I also loved that the staff wore Kilts and uniforms with hints of Scottish tartan, which was a lovely touch to our visit to the Scottish capital! If you are planning a visit to Edinburgh we highly recommend staying at the G&V as it ensured our stay in Edinburgh was perfect. From our experience when visiting Edinburgh we recommend staying on or close to the Royal Mile as it will allow you to maximise your time in the city.

G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh
G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh
G&V Royal Mile Hotel EdinburghG&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh

After we had dropped our bags off we set about strolling the lovely, cobblestoned Royal Mile and admiring the architecture and historic buildings.

Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland
Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland
Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland
Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland
Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland

The weather started to turn at this stage and we were so happy that we'd booked ourselves on a whiskey experience at The Scottish Whisky Experience which was just a few minutes walk from our hotel and is also located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. We had an incredible few hours learning about the production of Scottish Whisky and the different whisky producing regions of Scotland. It was the perfect welcome to Scotland and an introduction to Scottish Whisky! It wouldn't have felt right to visit Scotland and not try some whisky, and we were lucky enough to try five different whiskies during our visit.

The Scotch Whisky Experience Edinburgh Scotland
The Scotch Whisky Experience Edinburgh Scotland
The Scotch Whisky Experience Edinburgh Scotland
The Scotch Whisky Experience Edinburgh Scotland
The Scotch Whisky Experience Edinburgh Scotland
The Scotch Whisky Experience Edinburgh Scotland

Feeling a lot warmer after our whisky experience we headed up to the Edinburgh Castle, which is by far one of the most impressive castles both of us have ever seen! The weather was pretty horrendous by this stage, pouring down with rain and blowing a gale but we still made the most of our visit and tried to see as much of the castle as we could. I am sure that anyone who has been to Edinburgh before will agree that the castle is the most iconic sight in Edinburgh and you can see it for miles in each direction! Dan was not just impressed by the location of the castle on a basically impenetrable hill and the serious construction that would have gone into it but also by the massive size of the canons!

Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Edinburgh Castle Scotland
Edinburgh Castle Scotland

It was then time to properly check into our room at the G&V so we headed back to warm up and relax for a little while. After we'd warmed up we put our warmest clothes on and walked down the Royal Mile for about 15 minutes until we reached the bottom of Arthurs Seat. We did stop halfway down the royal mile to get our weekly sugar intake with a deep fried mars bar and an Irn Bru drink, which we were told both are a must when visiting Scotland. We also stopped to check out the Scottish Parliament building which is very modern and quite different, I don't think it would be everyone's cup of tea but worth checking out if you are down this end of the city.

Deep Fried Mars Bar Edinburgh
Deep Fried Mars Bar Edinburgh

It took us about half an hour to make it to the top where we were greeted with incredible views over Edinburgh and also seriously intense wind! If you plan on doing this walk make sure you wear good, sturdy shoes as it is slippery and really muddy but the views are so worth it.

Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland
Arthurs Seat Edinburgh ScotlandArthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland

By the time we'd made it to the bottom of the Arthurs Seat and were heading back to the hotel it was getting dark and the temperature had seriously dropped so we called into this gorgeous pub for a well deserved drink!

Royal Mile Edinburgh

We had planned on going back to the hotel to shower and get dressed up before finding a nice restaurant for dinner, but we were absolutely shattered after our 4am start in London and big day exploring the city so when we walked past Byron Burgers and Dan suggested we grab a bite to eat and then just go back to the hotel and relax, it sounded perfect! The food was quick & delicious and the service was as you'd expect from a busy, relaxed dining establishment such as this.

Byron Burgers Edinburgh Scotland
Byron Burgers Edinburgh Scotland

We then headed back to our lovely room at the G&V for the most wonderful, well deserved sleep. We both slept like babies and by the time next morning came around we were refreshed and ready to set off exploring the beautiful Scottish Highlands! After a delicious breakfast at the hotel we checked out and caught the bus back to the Airport to pick up our hire car to head North into the Highlands!

G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh Breakfast
G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh Breakfast
G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh Breakfast

We absolutely loved Edinburgh and despite not stopping the whole time we know that we only just slightly scratched the surface on this wonderful city and we will certainly be back as soon as we can!

Stay posted because our guide to the Scottish Highlands will also be up on the blog soon, including our favourite place we've ever stayed, the most incredible, luxurious log cabin in the Scottish Highlands!

Have you ever been to Scotland? 
What were your favourite places in this gorgeous country?

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