We took a day trip to Glasgow as from our planning process, it seemed like we had more than enough time to take a day trip out of Edinburgh. Read about my itinerary and what I did in Glasgow here.
We started off the day by a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden. It is free to enter but there is a small fee of £4 to enter the glasshouses. The glasshouses consists of several "hubs" but I wouldn't say it's worth it. If you ask me, I prefer the way Glasgow's Botanic Gardens as there was much more breathing space inside, allowing for a better view of the building's architecture as well. There is also a £1 fee if you would like the map for the Gardens so I would suggest you to print one out from here beforehand, but even without the map, you'll be able to get around just fine.
Buses from the city usually stop at the East Gate Entrance. Also, there is so much to see around the garden so even though the glasshouse is known to be the main attraction, do take some time to explore the rest of the garden.
This was at the Queen Mother's Memorial Garden which should be a 5 minutes walk from the Glasshouse's exit. The walls are made up of seashells and tiles whereas the ceiling is made up of pine cones. Who would've thought that seashells and pine cones made a good combo eh?
There are 2 restaurants in which you could grab a bite to eat. The Terrace Cafe located around the centre of the garden which has a more chill vibe and overlooks a little bit of the garden, and the Gateway Restaurant located at the West Gate Entrance (which I heard was pretty pricey for its choices offered).
Next, we took the bus to St Leonard's and headed to Arthur's Seat. From the image above, the peak of the mountain is Arthur's Seat and all the greenery around it is Holyrood Park. Yes, it is quite a hike up especially if you start from this area. I would say it took me about 30 minutes to reach the top and there were some points where it was pretty steep so be sure to wear the right shoes and gear up in case it rains. It rained heavily after 10 minutes of me reaching the peak and it was quite scary as you couldn't really rush down due to the slippery rocks.
There are however, a few quick pit stops you could make on your way up so you don't really have to feel pressurized by the people behind you who are trying to overtake you because you hike up too slowly (yes, that's me always having to let others pass cause sadly, I'm not that fit).
This was the view from the top before the wrath of the rain started pouring down. Many wonder if there is a different route down from where you first started and the answer is YES. There are several paths you can choose to go to and I would definitely recommend using a different path down as being able to see other parts of the park is surely a go-go.
Stumbled across St Anthony's Chapel Ruins on my way down and found this simple ruins rather amazing with Edinburgh city lying behind as its backdrop. Did people in the olden days have to hike up the mountain every time they wanted to go to this chapel? Hmm..
We then walked to Calton Hill, another panoramic viewing point of the city. This is where the National Monument & Nelson Monument are at. There is an entrance fee to go up the Nelson Monument and we decided to skip it as it wasn't that much higher than Calton Hill so how much better can the view be.. right?
Between Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill, if I were to choose one of the two, I would say that Calton Hill has more characteristics and as it is not too far away, you can see more details of the city which makes it a far better choice. The hike up is also less tiring and to be honest, I wouldn't even call it a hike.
By the end of the day, we were dead tired and headed back to Princes Street for dinner before going home to our apartment.
First stop of the day was to Edinburgh Castle, but unfortunately large parts of the castle has also been closed off for an upcoming concert. This also caused the queue into the castle a good 1.5 hour time wait which was time we didn't wanna waste as we only wanted to see the outside of the castle.
Along this side of Royal Mile, lies Camera Obscura, which is a world of illusion. Admission costs £14.50 but there are 'breadcrumbs' of these illusions spread outside the entrance for those to get a taste on what it's like.
There are lots of souvenir shops along the street and there is also the Scotch Whiskey Experience for those interested. I didn't go for the experience but went to the shop in the Scotch Whiskey Experience as everything inside is duty free! We had our lunch in a cozy little cafe round the corner called The Deacon's House. Do try their shortbread here as it is homemade!
We then headed to Victoria Street which is a picturesque street located less than 5 minutes away from Royal Mile. Home to a few pubs and restaurants, the buildings on the street are colourful and vibrant. I found this place through Instagram so that's another travelling tip! Go on to Instagram and search for places about the city you're going to visit to ensure the most picturesque locations are not missed :)
Next, we headed to the National Museum of Scotland. The interior and exterior looks completely different as the outside has a very yellowish heavy feel, but when you go inside it is brightly lit with white columns all around. Beautiful indeed!
Nelson Monument can be seen from the Royal Mile and as you walk from here to South Bridge followed by North Bridge, turn around as the view behind is pretty amazing. The best pictures can be taken from the middle of the Bridge which is along the pedestrian crossings. Please be aware of cars and do take care.
After North Bridge, Princes Street is right round the corner and it is known for its shopping. This view of the castle is located in a cafe in Waterstones bookshop. I love how the windows stretch up to the ceiling allowing for maximum view outdoors. Great place to study/ work!
There is also a pretty kick-ass view of Edinburgh from the main entrance/exit of Waverley Station. Make your way there and you will also find this panoramic view behind the food trucks in the square. Scott Monument is located on Princes Street Garden and is an ideal location to lay back and take in the view.
We headed home the morning after and I felt like 3 days was just the right amount of time to visit both Edinburgh & Glasgow.
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