Edinburgh is a wonderful and charming city and I only got to be there for two days. In those two days, I fell in love with the old medieval city, and if you ever go, you will too. It feels like stepping out of a time machine and landing in the medieval times. It’s fascinating and guaranteed, your neck will hurt from constantly looking up around you. Here are five things to do in Edinburgh:
This castle is in the middle of the city of a hill and you can see it from almost anywhere in the city. It makes it easy to imagine being a peasant in those days, being reminded everyday that the royalty was looking down at you, that someone was keeping watch.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is a road that links the castle to a palace. Yes, it really is a mile long, and it is in the oldest part of the city. You can walk down the street, see old (and new) shops, a big cathedral, the tavern dedicated to Deacon Brodie (the inspiration for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde), walk down Closes; the tiny little streets between buildings that used to be the dirtiest parts of the city and open into courtyards, and you can also watch the street change names multiple time along the mile.
Edinburgh Dungeon/Dark Side walking tours
It’s a sort of themed tour inside the building. We are guided in by people in costumes, recreating scenes from the past, going through different decorated rooms, each one scarier than the last, each story gorier than the last. About halfway through, there’s a scary boat ride and at the end, there’s even one of those falling rides like at the fair! All inside the building! It was hilarious and terrifying all at the same time.
On the same topic, there are nighttime walking tours about the dark side of Edinburgh, where you walk through the old part of the city and even through a cemetery or two and learn about all the dark, twisted stories about torture, grave robbing, royal murders, etc.
One story still comes to mind when I think of Edinburgh, and it’s the story of Greyfriars Bobby. The dearest little dog! He was rescued by a man named Grey and absolutely adored his master, though he died an untimely death barely two years later. Bobby, who was stricken with grief slept on his master’s grave for fourteen years! The cemetery guards tried to kick him out of the graveyard, but he always came back, so eventually they built him a small shelter and fed him until he died. He was buried near his master’s grave and there’s a bronze statue of him near Greyfriars. (Even Disney made a movie about him!) You can see his statue, rub his nose for good luck and even see his master’s and his grave nearby.
The Elephant House
One of the highlights of Edinburgh for me was the The Elephant House café, where J.K. Rowling used to go to write Harry Potter. They call themselves the “birthplace of Harry Potter.” It’s a cute little café with tons of elephant trinkets, figurines and even chairs shaped like an elephant’s head. The ambiance was really nice, so I can imagine why she would spend hours in there writing. The food is wonderful and the bathrooms are breathtaking. I know it sounds silly, but Harry Potter fans have taken bathroom graffiti to a whole new level. (Speaking of Harry Potter… There’s a Tom Riddle grave in a cemetery in Edinburgh… In case you feel like looking for it on your night tour!)