Hello lovely people, here’s a surprise – original non-academic related material just for you! I’ve finished my second year of university this week so can’t wait to give my blog a little TLC for a while. So here you go: I ran a Twitter Poll a couple of weeks ago asking what people most wanted my next post to be about – and 75% of voters wanted to hear about mine and Josh’s recent weekend away in Edinburgh! It would be rude not to comply…
The Scottish capital was somewhere I’d had on my must-visit list for a couple of years now, however it’s not a particularly easy place to access from the East Midlands! I’d never been further north than the Lake District and had always planned on visiting the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at some stage and then exploring the city when there. However, when I discovered that LSU Trips were running an overnight trip up to Scotland on a weekend where Josh was visiting, I threw my revision out of the window and booked us onto the trip. The only slight issue was the fact we had to be on the coach at 7am after a night out at the Shakespeare Ball so I wasn’t feeling particularly fresh for the 8-hour coach journey :))))
We arrived in Edinburgh after a couple of food stops at around 3ish and immediately dropped our stuff off at the hostel we were staying in, which was conveniently called ‘The Hostel: Edinburgh’ which was just opposite Haymarket train station and only a 20-minute walk into the centre of Edinburgh. I hadn’t stayed in a youth hostel since I went on a Geography field trip for my A Levels and that had been with a group of friends, so I was initially a little nervous about sharing a room with a bunch of strangers. Looking back now, its something I would definitely do again as the staff were incredibly friendly, the rooms were secure and clean and it was perfectly suitable for the student budget.
We left the hostel and walked along the main high street in the New Town area of Edinburgh from which we had gorgeous views of Edinburgh Castle towering above us on the right and also a fantastic view of Calton Hill peeking over the horizon. I’ll be very honest here, the weather was atrocious when we arrived and as we crossed over the bridge to the Old Town and The Royal Mile it began to hail. We had to run for cover into an American diner restaurant called The Filling Station which in hindsight wasn’t the worst decision we’d ever had! I got quite upset about the fact that the trip I’d planned was going to be ruined by the weather but fortunately by the time we’d finished eating, The Royal Mile was basking in beautiful sunshine! Apparently its just unpredictable Scottish weather!
We had the remainder of the afternoon to wander and explore the city. I’d read a couple of travel blogs about the city and the top picks of where you should visit, but once we arrived I discounted this information in favour of exploring unaided to see what jewels we could uncover. We did have to take a visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience however as Josh had specified it was one of his conditions after the 8 hour coach journey. The gift shop had whisky older than both of us and price tags that would cover my annual rent :O We picked up souvenirs, just with significantly cheaper price tags!
We made our way down the remainder of the Royal Mile, stopping to look into local markets, to watch street artists, to have a well-deserved drink and – of course – to try the much speculated about Scottish classic, The Deep Fried Mars Bar. Despite not looking particularly appetizing and potentially taking a few years off my life expectancy, it was absolutely gorgeous
In the evening, we trekked up to the top of Calton Hill from where we had stunning 360-degree views of the city as the sun went down. You could never have guessed from the photos that we’d had to duck into a restaurant to avoid a hailstorm several hours earlier. Despite my initial pessimistic outlook and upset earlier in the day due to my perfectionist tendencies, our first day was actually better than I could ever have expected.
We had Shanghai noodles for tea in what we thought was a little Chinese takeaway but it turned out to have a gorgeous rooftop restaurant and we had a beautiful view over the New Town as the sunset. Went for a drink with the rest of the group in a little pub opposite the hostel and then fell straight asleep – 8-hour coach trips do wonders for a good nights sleep. Even though we were sharing a room with sixteen others on Triple-Decker bunk-beds (I’m short, but wanted the top bunk – apparently it was funny to watch), I slept through everyone coming in and out of the room at night.
The next day we had to check out of the hostel by 10am and the coach dropped us off at the base of Edinburgh Castle for another day of exploring. The uni had offered us an optional extra of booking a ticket for a guided tour around the castle but I hadn’t taken this up which part of me does regret now. I wanted to be able to explore the city at my own pace and didn’t particularly want to be tied down to certain times. It was a shame because I would have loved to see inside the castle and particularly the stunning views of the city; however I was glad we chose to explore in our own time.
In our final few hours we found ourselves strolling back up the Royal Mile unsure what there was that we hadn’t managed to cram into the trip. We were heading back up to the meeting point where our coach would pick us up and head home when we spotted a street artist offering quick caricatures and charcoal portraits. I don’t know what made me say yes when he offered: maybe it was because we hadn’t taken any photos of us on the trip to keep as memories; maybe it was out of sheer vanity and I really wanted to be drawn by a professional.
Either way he offered us a great rate to draw us both – it looks like we posed together but he actually drew us separately so I had to angle my head so it looked like I was leaning on Josh’s shoulder. I was incredibly impressed with how it turned out and even more amazed how well I think he captured Josh! Told him I actually find him more attractive in charcoal! 😉
We were all so paranoid about missing the coach back down to Loughborough as no one particularly wanted to spend £100 on a train ticket, but thankfully we all made it back. Equipped with my new Highland ‘Coo’ slippers which we can all agree are adorable!
We got back to Loughborough around 11pm and I have never been so glad to get off a coach in my life. For an impromptu trip, this weekend turned out to be one of the best adventures I’ve had whilst at uni and I’m definitely hoping to go on more of the trips in the future.
I’m so glad I finally got a chance to visit the Scottish Capital because, as I said, it’d been on my list for many years. I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post as much as I have reminiscing. You’ll know by now that I sort of use this blog as a place to write and record my adventures so I hoped you’ve enjoyed this post. As always let me know what you think in the comments below. Thank you so much for reading!