The time has come to get yourself ready for an eventful Scottish getaway as Edinburgh Fringe Festival has started; eventful- as most artists and tourists all over the world are coming into the cultural melting pot of Scotland. Edinburgh can be potentially crowded and expensive, especially in July and August. With many landmarks and unique architecture to unfold, with world-class festivals that dominate the city, you might want to consider some of the factors like the costs of transportation, availability of the hotel, and what’s going on.
Being a tourist can be one of the best feelings you can experience because you have nothing to worry about while you’re in “Vacation mode”-but sometimes be sure to soak up the scenes and experiences as a local does is all you need. I have put together some great ideas on how you can have a real authentic Scottish experience in Edinburgh.
Let’s start with breakfast:
Woke up and started my morning with a very filling and full Scottish breakfast prepared by my Host, Karen. Full is definitely what you will feel after the last bite of black pudding. Some people might not fancy having black pudding as the ingredients sounded sickening; pigs’ blood, oats, fats, barley, and spices, all stuffed in a pig’s intestine. But I honestly enjoyed it, it tastes like a local cuisine back home in the Philippines called “dinuguan”. She also made a nice strong coffee to kick start my day and offered me a pot of yogurt. It was such a huge meal in the morning, so I was good until afternoon tea and I didn’t spend much for my lunch.
Let’s explore the city
Karen’s house is 20 minutes away from the city center so I had to take a bus to get to the center. I bought an all-day ticket for 4pounds so I can use it with any of the local buses in the city. I got off at Princes Street and made my way to the Scotts Monument.
I visited Princes Street to delight myself with the monuments and architecture in the area. Scotts Monument stands in Princes Street Garden near the Waverly Train Station; this is one of the first things you will notice when you get out of the train station. Scotts Monument commemorates Sir Walter Scott, an author of great Scottish literature, and it is considered one of the world’s largest monuments to a writer in the world. George Meikle Kemp, a self-taught architect built this 200ft high sandstone monument with a Victorian Gothic design. As I took in the aura of the building, I wandered around and took some photos. But if your feel fit enough to climb 287 steps to the top you will have a fantastic clear view of Edinburgh Castle that makes it more than worth the effort to get to the top.
Admission: 5 pounds
I just stayed below so it’s free.
Scottish National Gallery
If art is more of your thing, The Scottish National Gallery houses some of the nation’s finest collections of art there since the Renaissance period. Famous art pieces like “The Madonna and Child” by Lorenzo Monaco and Jacopo Bassano’s “The Good Samaritan” are worth visiting. As time goes by, they add more collections of modern and contemporary art to inspire young audiences from all over the world.
Admission: Free*Princes Street
It is well worth strolling along Princes Street to have a look at its stunning monuments to fill your mind with Scottish History
Lunch in Edinburgh is best enjoyed in Princes Park. With the British classic fish and chips and an ice cold beer, in the height of summer is highly recommended.
After I finished my quick refreshment, I started walking to the opposite side of the road heading to East Princes Street. Along the way, I stopped to watch some of Edinburgh Fringe’s live performances on the street, which were excellent and did not cost a thing!
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
It is the world’s largest arts festival that features thousands of artists and performers around the globe. It lasts for 25 days in August. It showcases many different types of performances from comedy, dance, musicals, theatre, music, opera, circus, and the likes. You can see the participants along the Royal Mile as this is the permanent place for the Fringe Festival.
- The big four (10-20pounds) occupy the large venue and last for a good hour. They specialize in Comedy and have been performing for more than 15 years.
- Other paid-venue (5-7 pounds) the mid-range operators performing in several rooms and specializing in a particular genre.
- Free venues (donations) It’s up to you how much you can stretch to donate, They perform for free and let people donate at the end of the show. They usually operate in pubs or clubs or venues that are free to use as it is a way of getting people in drinks and generating revenue.
- Pay what you want- you could pay how much you want at the end of the play.
Admission: Free. I just watched some street performances.
Walking along the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is about Mile long as the name says. It can be very crowded during the Fringe period, as they make this a permanent venue of the festival. Avoid the chain stores if you want to buy some souvenirs as the price does tend to go up depending on the location. Alternatively, you could head along to local shops in Grassmarket and Lawnmarket and save your pennies for some more exciting things to do. Want to feel like a real Scots man or lady? Grab yourself a pulled pork and haggis served in a soft brown roll, or try to find a local pub that serves Haggis, Nipple,s, and Tatties. Haggis consists of sheep offal mixed with oats, onion, and spices traditionally serve with mashed Nippies (turnips) and Tatties (Potatoes).
There are a lot of things you need to take note of while walking along the Royal Mile, as you walk along there are several streetshath connected to the Royal Mile such as Lawnmarket, Castlehill, High Street, Aand by Strand, and Cannongate. At one end is where the Castle stands and at the other end is the well-kept Holyrood Palace. Royal Mile is also rich in history, it isis veryerecognizableue to its geographical location, because of glacial activity in the Ice Age peperiodand became the place, where the open trading market was located in the 11th century.
There are also some little details to see in Royal mile that give us more knowledge about their culture and history, like the golden eagle, the water fountain that sustained and poisoned the medieval town, the world’s end close that was considered the poorest area a long time ago, and most of all the cobblestones that were used for pavements, streets, and buildings.
The Edinburgh Castle
After being pushed and hit like a punching bag along the crowded street of Royal Mile, I finally made my way up to the castle. EdinbuCastlestle is one of the most beautiful castles in the UK, sitting on top of a rock formed from a volcanic eruption in the Ice age period. Nowadays, It’s the venue for the famous Military Tattwhichthat happens annuallydesignateates Military exhibitions, the one o’clock gun that happens every 13:00 daily (except on Sundays and Bank Holidays) as a time signal for the ships in the harbor Leith and the Firth of Fort,n d it is also the main place for the annual fireworks display for the New Year’s celebrations.
Way back then, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical wars and claimed to be one of the most besiegedlacese in Great BrBritain and the most attacked fortress in the world.
Unfortunately, I didn’tmanaged to go inside and explore the castle. As I can spend all day reading the history of the whole place. But if you have a love affair with History, it is worth a visit because it has a very interesting story to unfold. It opens from 09:30 and until 18:00and ththelast entry to the castle is at 17:00.
Admission: 16.50pounds/adult and 9pounds/child
I just stayed outside and it was FREE.
The Holyrood Palace
After I visited the castle, I walked to the other end of the Royal mile and ended up in Abby Strand StStoreto to see the Holyrood Palace.
It is the official residence of the British Royal family in Scotland. This Georgian and Jacobean architectural building is one of the main venues for royal gatherings and ceremonies. Along with Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, the Holyrood Palace is open to the blind and managed by the Royal Collection Trust. Opens daily from09:30 AMM until 18:00, last entry is at 16:30. The tour lasts for a good hour and a half.
Admission: Ticket ranges from 12pounds to 20pounds for an adult depending on the combined tour chosen. You can have the option of visiting the Holyrood Palace, Queen’s Gallery, and a Garden History Tour.
Opposite the Holyrood Palace is the Scottish Parliament. I’m not going to talk about politics because I Ist ambiguous.
The Dynamic Earth
Here is the eye-catching building of Dynamic Earth. It is a Science MuMuseumhat provides better insights into Bite g Bang theory, volcanic eruption, and glaciation. Open daily from 1010:00 AMntil 5:30 PM.
Admission: 13.50pounds/adult and 9pounds/child
With its itits50metres elevation, it is the highest point in the city. It is where you will find the best panoramic view of Edinburgh and it is more stunning when the sun is setting. If you’re feeling brave, you can climb the grassy slope on the east side, and don’t ever complain about the legs after seeing the spectacular view from above.
On top of Calton Hill
After walking around the Holyrood area, I made my way up to the famous Calton Hill. Aside from Arthur’s seat, it is also one of the best spots to view the city minus the shaky legs. There are important landmarks on top of the hill such as the Dugald Stewart Monument, the National Monument, and the Nelson Monument. These landmarks givgivestice to the beauty of Edinburgh city for being known as The Athens of the North.
The Dugald Stewart Monument
The monument commemorates the Scottish Philosopher Dugald Stewart. It was designed with the architecture of ancient Greece by William Henry Playfair, the same person who planned the National Monument.
The Scottish National Monument
It was built to pay tribute to the heroism of Scottish soldiers fallen in the Napoleonic war. A chic-off block of the Parthenon of Athens that could give you a good feeling about Greek architecture, but due to lack of funds, it was left unfinished. But on the positive side, itsit’sgreat place to relax and be sociable.
The Nelson Monument
The monument was constructed to pay homage to Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson’s victory at the battle of Trafalgar. The monument is 32 metmetersgh and gives you a spectacular view of the city and the sea. It looks like an upturned telescope with a time ball on top that dropped from atop for One O’clock Gun to give siga nal to ships at the anchorage of Leith and Firth of Forth. If you’re fit enough you can climb the tower which has 170 spiral steps and a small trapdoor leading to the observation deck. Open to the public from Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am until 15:00.
Admission: 4pounds/ adult or child
After a very long day in Edinburgh…
For a truly local experience, I headed to St.Andrew Square after watwatchinge soul-stirring sunsets for some delicious casual fare. You can trust that the locals know where to go for some homestyle cooking. Don’t forget to sup your pint with some city’s craft beer like Pilot’s Mochaccino Stout or Campervan’s Blonde Voyage. You will also find some musicians and performers ramping up the atmosphere. Sit back, relax, and enjoy people-watching
The key here is to fully immerse yourself in the culture of a place you are visiting. You can dedicate your day to total vibes and forget the up-scale environment for some tourists. Staying with residents will give you local insights into their lifestyle and they will make sure to give you a day you’ll love. Exp lore and get lost, it’s time to d ch your guidebook. If you’re struggling with lotto look at a particular place why not ask a local, this could be a good chance to get some great ideas of what’s on. Make your trip memorable and this will change your way of thinking. One day, I will remember sitting on top of Calton hill watching the beabeautifulottish sunset.
So, how are you going to spend your day in Edinburgh?
About the Writer
Arione Stewart’s passion for travel was ignited when she persuaded her mother to allow her to leave her home in the Philippines and go study for a pospostgraduategree in England. She then braved the uncertainties of a complex, new environment living in a new country, and exploring a new culture, which has become now her second home. Her feet have been itchy ever since and luckily, being a free-spirited person allows her to indulge her travel lust. Always yearning for nothing but a sack on her back and shoes on her feet (sometimes). She has been to over 30 countries and still craving more adventures. For a long time living abroad, Arione used to dread being asked: ‘Where do you come from?”, to which she learned to reply, “I’m a citizen of the world!”