Edinburgh: The Ultimate Weekend Tour – Times may change, and seasons might come and go, but Scotland will always be one of the most beautiful countries in the world. For centuries, people have travelled far and wide to see Scotland’s beauty with their own eyes.
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, but it’s also so much more than that. “Old Smokey” is a key part of Scottish culture and history. Historic landmarks and monuments can be found all over Edinburgh. People can, and have, spent multiple days just exploring the city and appreciating everything that it has to offer.
But let’s say that you’re not looking to spend days or weeks exploring Edinburgh. Let’s say that you only have one weekend to explore the city. If that’s the case, then you’re in luck! This article is going to show you how to make the most out of a weekend trip to Edinburgh.
You’ll see plenty of significant sights and you’ll get up close and personal with some of Scotland’s most beloved landmarks. You’ll also do a ton of walking and driving during this trip. Better slip into some comfortable shoes and store your extra luggage before we get started.
The first stop on our weekend trip to Edinburgh is Edinburgh Castle, one of the oldest structures in the city. To be more precise, Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest structures in all of Europe! Records show that people have lived in Edinburgh Castle since at least the Iron Age. There’s a chance that this place is probably older than the dirt on your shoes!
A myriad of monarchs has called Edinburgh Castle home over the years. Figures like Saint Margaret of Scotland and King David I used Edinburgh Castle as their seat of power. Now, Scotland’s Ministry of Defence tends to this revered castle.
The view from Edinburgh Castle is absolutely spectacular. This building overlooks the entire city, giving you a bird’s eye view of Edinburgh. If you look closely, you can even see a few of our next stops on the horizon.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is directly connected to Edinburgh Castle. The Mile is actually a series of streets that are packed tightly together. The Royal Mile is full of markets, restaurants, and fascinating tourist attractions. Shopping, sightseeing – you can honestly do it all here.
The Royal Mile is divided into several distinct sections. The Lawn market will be your one-stop shopping center in the Mile. High Street is full of unique clothing stores, souvenir shops, and tourist attractions like the Heart of Midlothian. Canongate has a very old-timey feel, mainly due to all of the museums and pubs in the area. That’s our brief overview of the Royal Mile for you. We’ve included a nifty website if you want to get a more detailed look at the Mile.
Scottish Parliament Building
Edinburgh Castle was the home of the city’s ancient leaders. The Scottish Parliament Building, however, is where Scotland’s current leaders convene. Visitors aren’t allowed inside the building while Parliament is in session, but guests can always explore the building’s exterior.
The Scottish Parliament Building was constructed in 2004, with the process initially starting in 1999. The late Spanish Architect Enric Miralles oversaw construction early on. However, Miralles unfortunately passed away before the building was completed. Italian Architect Benedetta Tagliabue – Miralles’ wife – carried on in her husband’s stead. The end result is a Stirling Award-winning post-modern marvel.
Like we said earlier, you’re more than welcome to explore the Scottish Parliament Building’s exterior and surrounding areas. The Parliament Pools, MSP Building and Garden are all major attractions. There is also tons of amazing artwork on display. Henry Raeburn’s Skating Minister painting has been a fan favorite for years. Stop by the Scottish Parliament Building’s website to learn more about this historic building.
Wedgwood The Restaurant
It’s hard not to work up an appetite with all this walking and exploring. That’s why the next stop on our weekend trip to Edinburgh is one of the city’s most popular eateries! Wedgwood The Restaurant specializes in seasonal European dishes and fine wine. Some of the items on their menu include:
Roasted Fife Carrots with curds, whey, pink peppercorn, and beach coriander.
Herb Crusted Fillet of Lamb with potato & crème fraîche purée, peas, and charred baby gem.
Almond Frangipane, Frozen Chocolate Cake, and all sorts of other sweet treats.
Wedgwood The Restaurant has a Wine menu that’s just as expansive as their Lunch and A La Carte menus. If your stomach is growling or you’ve got a thirst that needs to be quenched, we couldn’t think of a better place to stop by.
At long last, we’ve reached the end of our weekend trip to Edinburgh. Our journey started at Edinburgh Castle, giving us a breathtaking view of the city. It’s only fitting that our trip should end at Arthur’s Seat, a towering hill that used to be an active volcano. Keywords being “used to be”. Arthur’s Seat hasn’t spewed lava for more years than we can count. This place is so safe that it’s considered a park by Edinburgh’s authorities.
Arthur’s Seat is quite a striking name, isn’t it? There’s actually quite a bit of debate as to who this landmark is named after. The most likely candidate is King Arthur Pendragon, Britain’s mythical monarch and the bearer of the legendary sword Excalibur. The story goes that King Arthur passed away some time ago. However, legend has it that King Arthur will return to the world of the living in the near future. When he does return, it’s said that he’ll rebuild Camelot atop Arthur’s Seat. Considering the view up here, we’d say that Mr. Pendragon couldn’t have picked a better spot to rebuild his kingdom.