“This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.” – Alexander McCall Smith
One of the most vibrant and fascinating cities I have visited. I am lucky enough to have several members of my family living in the bustling city of Edinburgh, a place that never seems to tire, no matter how many times you visit.
On this day, it was 30 degrees Celsius! For Scotland this is incredibly hot weather so I decided to have a tourist day out for myself to make the most of the scorching sunshine.
I have been visiting my family who live in Bruntsfield, which is just a mile from the city centre. After having 7 years on dodgy and damp school buses I’m not usually one to enjoy a bus journey, but the 23 bus route going past the National Portrait Gallery, Greyfriar’s Bobby statue, and past the Royal Mile to the middle of Prince’s Street was surprisingly enjoyable!
If you are visiting Edinburgh, here is what I did to fill a beautifully sunny day, with many of these things being free!
The National Gallery, Prince’s Street
Entry is free, WOOHOO! (Exhibition events may require payment)
Opening hours are 10am-5pm and Thursdays until 7pm
I do not have the best knowledge of artwork or artists, but there are some very well known artist’s work in the gallery such as Monet, Van Gogh and Botticelli among others such as Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt and Vermeer. The gallery is beautifully set out, the deep shades of maroon, forest green and tones of blue provide a striking contrast between the intricate gold frames that the paintings are embedded in.
The information boards around the gallery also make it very easy to learn more about both the paintings and their creators. There is seating inside the gallery, and it caters well for buggy and wheelchair access, there is a lift too. I went at around 11 am and it was not very busy at all, do bear in mind though that it is currently the school holidays in Scotland so it could be busier later in the day.
The Royal Mile
After coming out of the National gallery, I walked up the winding steps on the left of the gallery and if you keep walking up the hill (the mound) then you will get to the Royal Mile, the rows of old buildings and Scottish themed shops that leads you from the old town to the top where Edinburgh Castle is majestically stood.
From buskers to street artists, the Royal Mile is all you need to showcase the vibrancy of the city, from buskers, street artists to people selling whisky, and there are always melodies of bagpipes to be heard in the distance!
Despite there being large groups of tourists, and people everywhere it does not feel overcrowded, the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, people from all over the world enjoying the patriotism and pride of Scotland.
As you can see from the photos, Edinburgh Castle towering in the blue skies is a spectacle to behold.
The photo above is the entrance to the Castle (at the top of the Royal Mile), but if you just wish to walk up to here and take a picture then this is free up to this point.
I paid £18.50 for an adult entry ticket which as a student, seemed expensive, however since being in the castle, you are easily able to spend a few hours there and are able to make the experience worth the price.
Also bear in the mind that the queue may take about half an hour or more in case you are planning around a time frame!
This was the view of Edinburgh from the castle, an incredible photo opportunity on a sunny day like this one
I was surprised at how much time I was able to spend in the castle and how many things there were to see. The Stone of Destiny and the Scottish crown jewels were. Some of the highlights of things to see in the castle were St Margaret’s Chapel- the oldest building in Edinburgh, the Scottish crown jewels, the war prisons and the firing of the one o’clock gun is a great tradition to see if you are there at that time!
Discover more about things to do at the castle here!
Prince’s Street Gardens
Again this is a free attraction, the atmosphere on days like this one was lovely, there were lots of people having picnics and making the most of the sunshine
If you walk far enough along you are able to see the castle stood proudly in the distance. The gardens are below where the National Gallery is
This was a lovely and relaxing end to a day of walking and sightseeing, a relaxing seat in the park surrounded by the technicolor displays of flowers.
There are so many incredible things to do and see in Edinburgh, and you can fit a lot into just one day as I found out!
Thanks for reading,