Edinburgh

Although I have been to Edinburgh many times, I wouldn’t claim to have exhaustive knowledge of the city. I can talk about some of things I like about it though.

Set on the south bank of the Firth of Forth you would generally reach it by one of three routes. From the south up the A1, from the west via the M8 or M9 from Glasgow or Stirling or from the north across the Forth Road Bridge.

There are three bridges now at the Queensferry. The rail bridge, the old road bridge and the new road bridge. The rail bridge is a particularly impressive structure, and if you are coming from the north by train you would go across it. Another rail route to the city is up the east coast main line. This gets close to the Borders coastline and has some beautiful views on the way. It drops you off at Waverley train station in the city centre.

There is a park and ride scheme if you are driving to Edinburgh from the south, where you park your car a few miles out of the city and catch a bus in. Parking in the city is difficult.

Once you have got to the city there is a lot to see. To the north of Princes Street is the main shopping area and there are restaurants and pubs. To the south of Princes Street is Princes Park nestling underneath the castle. The castle dominates much of the city landscape and you reach it by going up High Street and Lawnmarket. If you want to go inside, it may be better to book in advance. Tickets at the time of writing are still less than £20.

Round the back of the Castle is the Grassmarket. This is one of my favourite parts of town and I will often head here for something to eat. This is where I first sampled Haggis, Tatty’s and Neeps and managed to eat most of it.

Between Princes Park and Waverley train station is the Scottish National Gallery and this could be worth a visit if you like art.

Edinburgh Festival is held in August and best to check out its website for what’s on. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is also held in August and has some very funny comedy acts. There are street acts around the city at this time you can watch for free. The city is rammed out in August so you would certainly need to book ahead.

My first visit to Edinburgh was on a hitch hiking tour. We hitched from Yorkshire to Glasgow, across to Edinburgh and back for charity. Our first night we slept rough outside a service station, then in Edinburgh slept rough under Arthur’s Seat an impressive ancient volcano close to the city center. If you want to get out of the city for a bit, it makes a good walk.

Edinburgh is still quite an expensive city to stay in, but my days of sleeping rough are over. The last time I stayed, I found a room in student halls when the students weren’t there for the holidays. It made things quite a bit cheaper.

Edinburgh Airport is also worth a mention. I’m not sure what it’s like at the moment, but when I’ve flown through there I’ve always had a good experience.

There is so much to say about Edinburgh I can’t go into it all in this blog, but it is one of the must see places of the British Isles.

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