I have been wanting to go to Edinburgh, Scotland for some years now. It was high on my list! Excitement rushed over me when the opportunity came up to finally go for a few days. Of course, there are some things to know before you go!
Unfortunately flying into Edinburgh, Scotland will not give you a passport stamp. I even heard the ladies in front of us asking for one and was told we don’t do that here. Instead customs consists of you scanning your passport and walk though some automated gates
Scotland uses pounds. If you get change back, you will notice that the bills may look different. That is because Scotland has its own pounds. Don’t worry they are the same value as the ones you would get in England.
I have always heard that it rains plenty in the UK. We visited during the winter and it barely rained. The only time we experienced rain is when we took a tour into the Highlands. That is also when it got the chillest as the wind picked up. Wearing warm clothes or a heavy jacket is recommended though because the chill is real!
I felt very safe while in Edinburgh! There were a few homeless people laying around by the Royal Mile, but nothing crazy. A solo travel trip there would even be considered. Of course like anywhere, always be on guard because you just never know.
Old Town v New Town
There are many different places to stay in Edinburgh, but the main areas you will probably be looking at are between Old and New Town. Trust me, you will have no issues telling the two apart. Old Town dates back to medieval times with cobbled stone streets and hidden closes. New Town is the place you want to go shopping if you are looking for Apple, H&M etc. No worries though, you can walk to either one.
Scotland is known for haggis, black pudding, and of course whiskey. Everywhere you go, there is haggis and black pudding. Now, I have been told many establishments have tweaked their haggis recipe to fit tourists tastebuds. If you are wondering what is in it, well, it is sheep’s heart, liver, lungs, and stomach, oatmeal and spices encased in animal intestines. I know I wasn’t interested. Other than that, there are a plethora of different cuisines to choose from.
They have many whiskey experiences, including one on the Royal Mile, the many street in Old Town, which is actually longer than a mile. Irn Bru is also very popular. It is a carbonated soft drink known as Scotland’s other national drink. I can’t put my finger on what exactly it taste like.
Edinburgh is a very walkable city. As long as you have a good pair of shoes you are going to be good. However if you have mobility issues, this could be a bit more challenging. Although walkable, Edinburgh is very hilly. Some streets are winding and some have cobblestones.
If you have mobility issues call ahead to some of the attractions or tours to see if they have any accommodations. The Edinburgh Castle has a car that will take you to the top inside the castle rather than the long up hill battle of a walk I have heard many complain about.
There is a bus that will take you from the airport into the city center. You will then have to take a taxi or walk to get to your hotel. I hear there is Uber, but you can also take their taxis. Taxis are metered so no need to haggle. Many of them are vans so if you have a lot of people or luggage you are good to go.
Taxis to or from the airport will not be directly at departures or arrivals. You will have to walk to or from the parking garage to pick one up or on the way back. It is a little bit of a walk, but it really isn’t bad. There are also 3 hop on hop off buses. They overlap a few stops here and there, but will each give out different information on that particular area. We rode all 3 and saw many highlighted sights.
Did you know Edinburgh is the home of Harry Potter? There are a ton of Harry Potter tours are in abundance, some free or a small fee. J.K Rowling is send to have written in a couple of coffee shops and the fancy Balmoral Hotel. Many references and some character names can be found around the city that inspired her. It is also said she met the actor who played Hagrid here and was in an acting class with him!
Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole has so much to offer. It is a beautiful place that I will happily return to. There is so much to see and do there, it would take many visits to experience it all.