Guest Post by Tim Banks
You don’t always have to fly in order to travel abroad as our exciting, train-linked city break to Edinburgh showed. A tablespoon of culture, a pinch of whiskey and bucket load of things to do really is the recipe for a perfect weekend getaway!
Leaving from London on the UK’s fastest rail service, Danny and I were up in the Highlands before noon. With all the greatest sights pooled in the heart of the city centre, we were swimming in history in no time. Walking up the Royal Mile with beautiful stone buildings to your left and right, you are inundated with opportunities for further things to do. There were organised bar crawls, ghost tours, interactive museums, whiskey museums, interactive-whiskey museums etc. and a heap more activities for you to enjoy whether you’re five or eighty-five.
Strutting our way through the excitement, we headed up to the famous Edinburgh Castle which stands, centuries old, in all its glory, overlooking the city. When heading back down the Royal Mile, we got a chance to set our eyes upon so many of the things we missed on the way up, and I’m sure if we walked it again we would witness a whole new array wonders in a street layered with surprises; much like pass the parcel. As a stone man myself (my career, not my personality) I was sure to bore Danny with an abundance of ‘impressive’ details about the fine display of ancient masonry. By the look on his face, it was clearly more than any human should know.
Smug as pie, we had only one concern; out of all the homely and authentically Scottish restaurants, which one would we choose for our afternoon lunch break? After our fill of ale and haggis at the Kilderkin pub, we embarked on our small trek up to Arthur’s Seat. It was a refreshingly challenging hike but not too much of a mission to detour those less fit. At the very top, although it was very windy, it was the magnificent views that blew us away!
Whilst dropping our overnight bags at the hotel, we decided to indulge in the Holiday Inn‘s Jacuzzi and sauna facilities (yet tactfully avoiding the gym!). The bubbles didn’t stop there as we accompanied our delightful three course meal with a reasonable priced bottle of Prosecco. A brief walk back to the city centre and we were deep in the ambient night life where you couldn’t toss the caber without hitting a busy bar full of friendly faced tourists and welcoming locals. Danny seemed to finally get in the ‘spirit’ of all the stone-talk as he ordered our whiskeys on the rocks.
After a hearty Scottish breakfast, we were once again ready to (bacon) roll. Our second day was straight back into the activities viewing the National Monument, Royal Botanic Gardens and all the delights on the walk between. At the Gardens it was time for gift shopping of our other halves, where I aptly picked up some traditional Scottish shortbread, whereas Danny chose a small cactus, heaven knows why!
By the end of the trip, we couldn’t believe how much we had done in one weekend. With all the major landmarks so close to the city centre, it is impossible to waste any time on your holiday. Having said that, I’d say that Edinburgh was not suitable for asthmatics as no matter where you go the views are absolutely breath-taking!