This trip was different. Our first real sightseeing travel without kids since several years! Just a few days but soooo much different. No car on our own, no big luggage, no toys. A real city break for adults, like in the good old times 😀
The plan was to book a flight, find a cosy hotel not far from the city centre, use public transport or walk, and have nice dinners in the fancy restaurants. Finally – last but not least – explore, expolore, explore! The trip was a surprise from my dear husband for our ninth wedding anniversary. Last adult trip we did was ten years ago in Prague. And it was fabulous. Prague is definitely one of my three favourite European cities. Florence, Prague and now – it turned out to be – the proud capital of Scotland – Edinbourgh.
The plan worked out almost perfectly, apart from the fact that our car broke down on the way to the airport so ….we missed the flight! But we were so determined to go, that after having temporarily solved the car issue, we booked another flight and on the next day we were ready to go again! We lost one day of an initally four-days trip which unfortunately meant no visit to the Edinburgh Castle. Next time, for sure!
The Royal Mile
Upon arrival we took a double decked Airlink bus from the airport, taking a chance to see the first glimpses of the city. Our – lovely and cosy indeed – Cumberland Hotel was situated a walking distance from the public transport so we took the tram from the Haymarket which took us straight to the busy Princes Streeet. Then we walked up towards the Old Town, passing the vast Princes Street Park on the right. It was a windy and rather chilly day, but the locals said it was actually quite warm ;-). Once we reached the Royal Mile, we were immidiately charmed by the views, the shops, the atmosphere. We just walked along, trying to cherish the moment and enjoy the city atmosphere.
Michal had forseen for us a romantic evening at the oldest restaurant in the city – The Witchery. The place was great indeed, elegant yet intimate, cosy and charming. Food was delicious and refined, wine was good. Afterwards we just walked to the hotel, then took the tram.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse
On the next morning we woke up excited to see the famous Holyrood Palace. The Palace is the official Scottish home of Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II. The Queen stays annually at the Palace during “Holyrood Week” (or “Royal Week”) when carrying out her official engagements in Scotland. The Palace is a former residence of the Kings and Queens of Scotland and has a long, fascinating and often bloody history. The adjoining Holyrood Abbey today forms a picturesque romantic ruin, and the four-hectare manicured Palace gardens open an uninterrupted view to the natural lanscape beyond. Each year in July the Queen hosts a Garden Party for 8000 people from all Scottish walks of life. We managed to get tickets to the palace on the first day of reopening after the Royal visit.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Out of many possible sightseeing attractions available in Edinburgh we chose to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, docked at the Ocean Terminal of the nearby port of Leith.
HMY Britannia was the Royal yacht of Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II from 1954 till 1997. During her 44-year career, the yacht travelled more than a million nautical miles around the globe. Now retired from royal service, Britannia is permanently berthed in Edinburgh, as the ship has been built in Scotland by John Brown&Co, one of the most famous shipyards in the world.
We enjoyed the yacht, the elegant interior and its splendour a lot. Souvenirs decorating the walls given to Her Majesty by various nations and indiginieous people from all corners of the Earth reminded us of our various trips. We had also a great time in the Royal pub on the lower deck.
Our bus on the way back from the port of Leith drove through the city center. This gave us the occassion to see some more of the city’s numerous landmarks. We hopped of the bus and started our stroll. It was thrilling for me to see the imposing Edwardian (1905) building, the former site of the Scottish newspaper “The Scotsman” ( I am a trained journalist). Nowadays is houses an elegant hotel. We could feel the evening vibe of the city when walking along the North Bridge, then taking steps to go down towards the Edinburgh Waverley. We took the covered passage across the Waverley Station and headed towards the New Town and our prebooked dinner at The Dome restaurant.
The Dome is an elegant restaurant with splendid cuisine. Top it with impressive classicist architecture, simmer delicate music and add refined drinks. You have a perfect recipe for an evening to remember.
Edinburgh definitely stole our hearts. As usual in these cases it’s hard to say why exactly, but a unique blend of architecture light, people and history results in its exceptional genius loci. We will return there for sure!
Next morning we went on an “Outlander” tour – the post is coming soon!