I have been to Edinburgh 5-6 times but never during the month of August. August marks the arrival of the world renowned International Festival which incorporates the Fringe Festival and Military Tattoo (amongst others).
Edinburgh, the Scottish Capital is a beautiful city; full of history, culture and panoramic vistas and one she was excited to visit.
We drove up from Manchester with friends Chris and Jenny, leaving at 8am and arriving in the city at 12.30pm. We were staying in a delightful flat that we booked from AirBnB which was located to the east of the city (and the otherside of Holyrood Park).
Edinburgh city centre is geographically small, comparable to Manchester in that way. It makes all the sites walk-able BUT it also means that all the visitors to the city are clustered in this small area which means CROWDS. Lots and lots and lots of crowds.
The Royal Mile was like nothing I had seen before and we struggled to make our way through the sheer volume of people. The excellent views from the courtyard outside the castle were also obstructed by the Tattoo Military Festival temporary stands. For some, the crowds are a necessary evil but the quality of the entertainment makes it all worthwhile. I am less interested in the arts so it was just plain annoying.
DO NOT GO TO EDINBURGH DURING THE WEEKEND IN AUGUST!!
Fighting through the crowds we did manage to see the famous The Elephant House coffee shop. This shop is famous for being the place J.K Rowling wrote a large proportion of the Harry Potter Book. With crowds lining outside the door and around the block. This was as close as I got to the shop.
That evening, a few bottles of wine down we decided to brave the crowds and see some of the Fringe shows. We started off by seeing an excellent improv show called BattleActs which I really did enjoy. Again we had to battle (and push) our way through the crowds in a venue which really wasn’t designed for queuing crowds.
After this we saw a few other acts who were all either terrible or so far gone from politically correctness it was rather embarrassing. There is a reason why some comedians make it and other’s don’t!.
As we left the venue, we saw the end of a fireworks display over the castle which, I am assuming signifies the end of the Tattoo performance at the Castle. With the silhouettes of Edinburgh it was really quite delightful (minus the scaffolding).
Fireworks over Edinburgh (from the end of the Tattoo performance).
My love for Geography means that everytime I visit Edinburgh I always climb Arthur’s Seat. The extinct volcano offers (in my opinion) the best views of Edinburgh and the surrounding area! Fortunately our flat was 5 minutes away from Holyrood Park so this made the hike very accessible.
Arthur’s seat is only 251m above sea level so the hike only takes 30 minutes each way which means the hungover girls wouldn’t be too much of a liability.
After a few moans and groans we reached the summit, early before the crowds which gave us an unrivaled 360 degree view of the city!
We took a different route on the way back down, to enjoy the wildlife (both fauna and flora).
Not wanting to put ourselves through the crowds of yesterday, we decided to leave Edinburgh early and head back south, stopping off for ice cream and lunch along the way.
One other stop was to a famous landmark I had never been to, Hadrian’s Wall! The 120 mile wall, built by emperor Hadrian in 112AD represented the northernmost outpost of the Roman Empire.
Whilst this particular stretch isn’t particularly impressive, it is something cool to say you have seen (no sign of Kiera Knightley though)
This wasn’t my favourite experience of Edinburgh, in fact at times I hated it and I just wanted to head home.
It definitely won’t keep me away from one of the nicest cities in the UK. I will just plan my time around a quieter period for the Scottish Capital.