Edinburgh has always been on my list of dream places to explore. I finally had my dream come true and it was even better than I could have imagined!
I have been in love with Scotland for most of my life. As a teenager I read every book I could get my hands on about Mary Queen of Scotts and each time cried at her tragic ending. I recently saw the new move, Mary Queen of Scotts and I felt like I was back in Edinburgh experienceing her journey all over again.
If you like castles, magical cobblestone streets and hidden closes (alleyways) and courts, then Edinburgh is a city you must see. If you want to walk in the footsteps of history there is no better place then the The Royal Mile.
I spent a week exploring every nook, cranny, pub, museum, and local shop and I still didn’t have enough time to see it all. Here are my top 7, must see places along the Royal Mile:
- Edinburgh Castle. Allow at least 2 or 3 hours to see everything and enjoy the views from this ancient fortress. There is so much to see from the soldiers quarters, the Crown Jewels, St. Margaret’s Chapel, The Great Hall and the Prisons of War display.
Edinburgh Castle was Mary Queen of Scotts refuge at several points during her turbulent life. You can see the rooms Mary lived in and the room where she gave birth to her son, King James VI.
The People’s Story Museum , This small museum offers unique insights that focus on the story of working class people in the 18th to the late 20th century. Finding out about the daily life, social structure and hardships these people endured is a humbling yet inspirational experience.
- Museum of Edinburgh, This quiet museum is a hidden gem that includes 16th century buildings, ancient artifacts, and everything in-between the evolution of Old Town to New Town Edinburgh.
- Tolbooth Tavern, This historic tavern is located in the original Canongate Tolbooth and was built in 1591. It served as a courthouse and a prison throughout the years and now serves delicious food and drinks. According to my friendly server, this place is haunted by hungry ghosts.
- Palace of Holyrood House, not only is this the official residence of the Queen when she is in residence but this palace has some of the most historic royal sites in Scotland. You can see the official State Apartments, the chambers of Mary Queen of Scotts, The Throne Room and Holyrood Abby. I seriously would have loved to spend even more time here and wish I had more than the day to explore the grounds.
- King Arthur’s Seat . This beautiful park is adjacent to the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. If you hike ( I do ) you will want to hike up to the highest point with beautiful views of the city. It is a steep 822 foot climb, relatively easy and very worth the effort. This hill is sometimes referred to as the location of Camelot! When I climbed it, I decided it would be the perfect place for King Arthur to rule his kingdom.
- Mercat Walking Tours. No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a guided walking tour of the history, secrets and ghosts of this city. One of the favorite things I did was take a walking tour to discover all the tidbits of hidden history I wanted to know about. This tour company does a wonderful job of guiding you through the Royal Mile, Old Edinburgh, old closes and underground vaults. If you are interested in more ghostly tales, they offer a ghoulish tour for the brave of heart Be warned, you may need a dram of stiff Scotch Whisky after a midnight tour, I know I did!
I loved my time in Edinburgh. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, the whiskey was pouring and the history mesmerizing. I felt as if every cobble stone and building had a tale to tell and I was more than eager to listen.