An Edinburgh Travel Guide

edinburgh 48 hour itinerary and travel guide

press trip with jurys inn, flybe and visit scotland.

Edinburgh is one of those cities that I’ve always thought about visiting. But, it was always one of those that got pushed to the side. It was a case of so close, yet so far. In January, after writing Edinburgh as one of my bucket list locations for 2019, I finally took the plunge and booked to travel to Edinburgh with Flybe from Birmingham.

Edinburgh – I’m sure doesn’t need an introduction – but it sure is one impressive capital. In Scotland, it is a medieval city that combines the Georgian architecture with the medieval relics that hosts a cosmopolitan population with an open and warming atmosphere. There is a sense of a youthful and fun vibe with a thriving nightlife, bustling restaurants, cultural walks, museums, galleries and theatres. It’s almost impossible to have nothing to do.

edinburgh royal mile castle

scottish castle church architecture

 

Walking along the cobblestone streets takes you back to the history that has once walked there. You can almost feel the atmosphere and how J.K Rowling obtained so much inspiration for Harry Potter, The beautiful walks, the stunning architecture and the afternoon tea that makes you feel like royalty. We crammed a lot into a weekend, Edinburgh truly makes you feel like royalty! Plus, who wouldn’t be content sipping tea whilst savouring some delicacies and nibbles in an old library?

looking at edinburgh castle and mountains

Edinburgh, for those that don’t know, is built upon seven hills and divided into the winding and seemingly neverending cobblestone streets of the medieval old town and the grid-like New Town.

walking through edinburgh castle

afternoon tea at the signet library

Edinburgh is a popular tourist destination for weekend getaways. With its ease of access and good connections to the rest of the UK and Europe, it’s a perfect place to pass a weekend to escape daily mundane life. The Scottish capital has something to please everyone and with this travel guide, you’ll be able to plan a visit for you too.

QUICK GUIDE

How many nights?: 2 days was plenty to see the Scottish capital. Landing early morning on Saturday with Flybe and leaving on Sunday evening gave us the entire two days. Staying in the centre of the city, like in Jurys Inn, ensures you’re able to see the city with maximum time cutting out commuting times.

Time Zone: GMT

Plug socket: UK

Currency: GBP

Language: English and Scottish Gaelic

Climate: Summer (May-August) is mild to warm and the peak travel time. In winter (December-February), days are short, cold and can be rainy or snowy. January is the coldest month to visit.

Getting to Edinburgh


 

flybe plane

There are so many ways to reach Edinburgh if you’re already in the UK. With options like driving and the train being more than feasible, it just wasn’t the right option for us. When the flight is only a pleasing 70 minutes and was cheaper than any train route from the Midlands, it was an absolute no-brainer.

When you only have a weekend to do it in, you’ll want to maximise your time in Edinburgh.  Flybe is a fantastic airline to choose with direct, quick and comfortable flights connecting the rest of the UK with the Scottish capital. Flybe is Europe’s largest regional airline with a staggering 190 routes serving across 15 countries.

Smooth and quick, the flight between the Midlands and Edinburgh was punctual and comfortable. Flybe has always been one of those airlines that I’ve confided in.

flybe safety edinburgh

We had an early flight from Birmingham on Saturday morning, so although the early get up wasn’t too welcomed after a late night landing from Alicante, I was excited to add another country, and city, to my travel memories. Being in the Midlands, we’re lucky to have access to two fantastic airports. It definitely provides more options in terms of routes and prices.

I travelled to Edinburgh with hand luggage sized suitcase, but as I had 23kg of luggage, I decided to check it in. It was much easier wandering around the airport without having to worry about where my luggage was or traipsing through security pulling out my liquids. It was a case of tag and go. Nice and easy, after all, I don’t want to do anything too strenuous, I hadn’t had my coffee yet!

birmingham airport facilities costa coffee latte and muffin

Once we were through customs, I grabbed my morning coffee from Costa Coffee and waited for the sign to appear.

The flight between the Midlands and Edinburgh reminded me of that between East Midlands and Dublin. Once you were up in the air and having a comforting drink, you’re already preparing for landing again. Time literally flies.

travel - looking out the plane window

If you’re somebody who is fearful of flying and you want to conker it, I’d suggest jetting off to Edinburgh for the weekend. It allows you to get the feel for flying but not having to be there for a lot of time. It’s a great one to ease you in.

browsing flybe menu to edinburgh

The in-flight menu is filled with various options to take away the pangs of hunger on the plane, but as it was only early and a very short flight, we opted for an orange juice and an oasis, both which were surprisingly economically friendly!

Low cost and speedy travel journeys makes flying my top choice for getting to Edinburgh. We travelled on the 8:40 flight from Birmingham on Saturday morning and returned on Sunday 19:30 to East Midlands. If you are in the Midlands, it’s a great way to maximise your time. It was also the cheapest option. You can pick up a weekend away for as little as £60 return. Maximise your time and save money. Why pay more?

Airport Transfers from Edinburgh Airport


 

edinburgh private car hire

Edinburgh Airport is around 9 miles to the city centre, which is around 30 minutes by car. To find a reliable and experienced staff, Edinburgh City Private Hire is the best choice for airport transfers. I would definitely recommend booking with Edinburgh City Private Hire to get quick and easy private taxis from Edinburgh Airport to the City.

With more than 40 years of experience, they have been the trusted private taxi from Edinburgh airport for many a year now, making them the best option.

We booked a return journey with ECPH and it was exceptional. Standing waiting for you in arrivals, your driver is ready whilst maintaining high standards of professionalism. Your name will be on the board ready to get going. The vehicles offer the highest standard of luxury and comfort and really kicks off your weekend away in style.

You want to get into the city as soon as you land, instead of hanging about wasting valuable time at the airport, you land and as soon as you’ve cleared customs, you’re on your way. The vehicles include 7 and 8 seaters and they have executive class cars, which boasts both luxury and convenience. Importantly, all drivers and vehicles are fully licensed by the City of Edinburgh Council. 

“What about the cost?!”, I hear you cry.

Surely comfort, luxury and convenience comes with a hefty price tag? Surprisingly, EDPH offers exclusive fares, which on average save customers around 15% compared to other competing private hire and taxi operators. Although offering low fares, they don’t comprise on service. Now, isn’t that something to smile about?

Accommodation


 

edinburgh exterior jurys inn

You’ll want to be located near to the famous Royal Mile, which with the Jurys Inn Edinburgh, you get just that! You’re right in the heart of the Edinburgh action. Situated on Jeffrey Street, just off the Royal Mile, it makes for a central and ideal location for a base point for exploring Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Park and Prince’s Street are all within a short and enjoyable walking distance from the Jurys Inn.

Arriving by taxi to the Jurys Inn gave us a feel for the surroundings and get our bearings. We were only a stone’s throw away from the castle and passing it for the first time was rather impressive. It looks spectacular from the outside.

When we arrived at the Jurys Inn, the staff at reception were warm and welcoming. With the Costa Coffee on site, who was I to turn another one down whilst checking in? We arrived at the hotel really early so it was a case of dropping the bags and heading off to see Edinburgh.

costa coffee jurys inn edinburgh

With 36 hotels operating under the Jurys Inn brand, it’s a hotel brand that I know and trust. You know exactly what you’re getting when you book to stay there. Renowned for the warm and friendly staff and the central locations, it’s a great choice when booking a weekend break in the UK.

tea in bed edinburgh jurys inn

After a long day of exploring the city, you want somewhere to rest your head to get a good night sleep. With Jurys Inn, you know you’re going to get exactly that. With walls that aren’t paper thin, like some competing brands, and a comfy DREAM bed specially designed by Jurys Inn, it’s the recipe for a good night sleep and exactly what you need to recharge your batteries ready for the next day exploring.

The breakfast was hearty and delicious. A plentiful breakfast is the most important part about kickstarting your day before heading out to the city. It’s the key meal that will keep you going and allow you to maximise your time. For breakfast, we had a hearty English breakfast. The coffee isn’t as good as the costa onsite though!

We had a delicious dinner menu at the Jurys Inn, which was perfect after spending our first day in Edinburgh. The last thing we wanted after travelling and visiting some of the sites was trailing around the city trying to find a table in a restaurant.

In the Jurys Inn, there was so much choice, from scrumptious starters to delicious desserts, and the mouthwatering main, the wide array of food is enough to please even the fussiest of eaters.

For dinner, we had a gorgeous 10oz steak with peppercorn sauce loaded with thick chips and grilled tomatoes topped off with a glass of pinot grigio white wine.

edinburgh jurys inn dinner

For those of us who love a coffee on the go, Jurys Inn has a relaxing and convenient Costa Coffee Bar on site that allows you to get the best quality coffee right inside your hotel. Perfect for relaxing before heading into the city, or grabbing a cappuccino to go!

There is an onsite bar too, which was ideally open until 2:00a.m. It’s a great little spot for having a glass of wine or a short before bed. We headed into the hotel late on Saturday evening for a hot chocolate before bed, it was nice to be able to rest our feet after a packed day of walking and know the room was just a lift ride away!

Jurys Inn Edinburgh Bar

For location, it was absolutely perfect for us. Edinburgh Airport is only 8 miles away, however, if you are arriving by bus or train, Waverley Station is a 2-minute walk away and Edinburgh Bus Station is a short 5-minutes walk away. You really are in the heart of the action and a stone’s throw from everything you want to visit. There is also a cut through from the hotel to the Royal Mile, so it really is a 3-minute walk until you’re in the action. Perfect location.

jurys inn infographic

 

What to See and Do in Edinburgh


 

Edinburgh Castle:

 

The main sight and iconic landmark in Edinburgh is the Edinburgh Castle. Perched dramatically on the top of the highest point of the city and in incredible condition despite its continued use throughout the past 1000 years, it’s an unmissable spot in the city of Edinburgh.

pointing to princes street from edinburgh castle girl wearing skirt jumper and tartan bow

view from edinburgh castle

The Castle stands tall upon Castle Rock, the result of a volcano that erupted many a year ago. With evidence of residents that date back to the Bronze Age, over 3000 years ago, it’s an incredible place to stand, knowing that you’re now a little piece of its astounding history.

looking at fireplace edinburgh castle

Edinburgh Castle, in its glory, was constructed in the early 12th century. However, flash forward to our time, it pulls in over one million visitors per year and is the most visited tourist attraction in Scotland.

walking to edinburgh castle bow in hair

I really enjoyed walking around the grounds of the castle and getting lots of instagrammable photos. I thought it was interesting to wander around and see it but I’m not much of a historical reader. We also had a whiskey taster at the castle, which felt very traditional!

Ticket Prices:
Adult (16-59) – £17.00
Child (5-15) – £10.20
Concessions (60+) – £13.60
Under 5 – Free

Afternoon Tea at The Colonnades

afternoon tea at the colonnades edinburgh signet library

If you’ve got an afternoon in Edinburgh then afternoon tea at The Colonnades is an alluring experience that will make your visit to Edinburgh feel like one worthy for royalty. The time-honoured tradition of a nibble or two with a spot of tea has been a staple of the British culture since first being introduced in the 1800s. A mid-afternoon tea is a dainty and memorable experience, which is why we made sure to do it as mother and daughter, whilst we were in Edinburgh.

afternoon tea at edinburgh signet library the colonnades

While there are a few hotspots in Edinburgh to enjoy an afternoon tea, The Colonnades at The Signet Library stood out for a few reasons. The Signet Library is renowned as being one of Edinburgh’s finest Georgian buildings. Ornate columns. Elaborate ceilings and extravagantly elegant decor, it’s the pinnacle of what an afternoon tea should be.

the afternoon tea at the signet library

For an authentic taste of British heritage, The Signet Library ticked all of the boxes. I wanted a memorable experience with a lavish feel. With beautifully set tables adorned with fine porcelain, towering tiers of delicacies. Indulging on an afternoon tea at The Signet Library is the place to be.

macarons at the signet library

batternburg cakes at the colonnades

The service at The Colonnades in The Signet Library was impeccable. Truly incomparable. The staff have thought of every little detail and spend their time perfecting it. No minor detail is forgotten.

The Colonnades is a memorable experience from the moment you walk through those impressive doors. The savoury delicacies and tasty cakes are all made from the finest, fresh seasonal ingredients, some of them were a little too rich for me, though! The extensive list of teas will please even the stubbornest of guests. I am a huge fan of the Signet Tea, which was so delicately perfect – without milk! If you want to turn up the experience to ultimate lavish, then there’s even champagne, cocktails and their own gin!

browsing books in the signet library

the afternoon tea at the colonnades review
£35 per person

Camera Obscura 

camera obscure lights edinburgh

Camera Obscura, the place where you start to question anything and everything you’ve seen before. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is one of Edinburgh’s oldest visitor attractions bringing laughter and joy to tourists since 1835.

Camera Obscura was very nearly one of those places I didn’t schedule to visit. What a mistake that would have been!

camera obscura room

Filled with illusions, tricks, puzzles and experiences, it’s such a unique experience to Edinburgh and certainly one not to be missed. The attraction is filled with laughter, two exhibition spaces – Bewildered and The Puzzling Zone, a magical mirror maze, an Ames room and the Vortex Tunnel. You become a part of Camera Obscura. The memories you’ll make and the photos you’ll take will truly be unbelievable.

We especially loved the rooftop views, sitting on top of the city is truly a breathtaking view. The panoramas of Edinburgh make for great photographs. They also have telescopes and binoculars that are free to use which give amazing views of the city, on a clear day!

view of castle from camera obscure edinburgh

The Bewilderworld is a mirror maze that sends your head spinning, or it did mine! Stepping into a vortex tunnel and trying to maintain balance whilst it spins is more difficult than it sounds. This is coming from an ex-cheerleader! It’s a lot of fun and a real ‘barrel of laughs‘ as you scramble to stay upright!

dancing in camera obscura lights tunnel

Although closed when we arrived due to only being open in hours of the day, there is the Edinburgh Vision, it is supposed to be a mesmerising and incredibly interesting to see Edinburgh in 3D from the 1850s to the present day. Seeing how the city has adapted, changed and grew is absolutely remarkable and something that I haven’t seen another city do. It’s one of those quirks in the city that just adds a personal touch. I guess I’ll just have to return to see it!

Ticket Prices:
Adult – £16.00
Child (5-15) – £12.00
Concessions (60+ and Students) – £12.00
Under 5 – Free

The Real Mary Kings Close

the real mary king's close

Despite various conflicting reviews on the internet, I was urged by a few friends to visit Mary King’s Close and decipher for myself what I thought about it. The trip lasts around an hour, though all sense of time and outside world is taken away as phones and cameras are prohibited. We were escorted around by our guide dressed as Walter King. He described and explained to us the struggles of living in 17th century Edinburgh and how disastrous the plague was.

The tour has a variation of interactive aspects and it’s interesting to see the pictures come to life. Everything is planned to the last second and it was cool to see. We were also shown around a room for Annie, a little girl who was abandoned by her family. There was an enormous pile of teddy bears and a cash deposit which goes towards the local children’s charity. If you do want to make a donation whilst you’re there, remember to take it with you!

It was a mixture of a ghost tour and a historical tour, which was at times super interesting but combined with a few moments of not so interesting. I think I fell asleep during the ghost story next to the fireplace!

Finally, before we left we had a photograph. To buy the pictures were very economically friendly, we got a magnet and a full sized photo with two smaller photos for £10.

The tour wouldn’t be suitable for those that suffer from asthma, epilepsy, mobility difficulties as it’s all on hills and stairs or claustrophobia.

There are a quaint cafe and a small gift shop on site. Tours must be booked.

Ticket Prices:
Adult – £15.50
Child (5-15) – £9.50
Concessions (60+ and Students) – £13.50
Under 5 – NOT PERMITTED

The Royal Mile

walking the royal mile streets

The Royal Mile is a historical and cultural street that you just have to explore. With the castle and the palace on its doorstep, the classic cobbled stretch in the centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town is a delight for both exploring and capturing the true expression of Edinburgh.

Most of the major landmarks are situated on The Royal Mile so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll miss it! But, instead of using it as a footpath to lead you to the monuments, spend some time exploring the nuts and crannies of The Royal Mile. Bustling with interesting architecture and bursting with culture, there are plenty of quaint coffee shops, the bazaar and little shops that are worth looking in.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

holyrood palace Edinburgh

Dating back to the 16th century, The Palace of Holyroodhouse has continued to be an official residence of the Kings and Queens. When somebody of great significance is in residence at the Holyrood Palace, the flag will be placed at full mast.

Constructed in the 1670s, it’s a beautiful spectacle in the heart of Edinburgh. It was going through some upgrade whilst we were there but it was still a must-see just to say we’ve seen it! If you have a particular interest in the monastery, its history and in particular Mary Queen of Scots then this is a must-see for you in Edinburgh.

The palace contains a lot of preserved Scottish history so it’s well worth checking out, even if it’s just the grounds! There is also a quaint coffee shop on site, for the coffee lovers amongst us, me.

Ticket Prices:
Adult (17+) – £15.00
Child (5-16) – £8.70
Concessions (Students with ID and 60+) – £13.50
Under 5 – Free

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A special mention to ASVA for providing us with an ASVA pass card to familiarise ourselves with the best visitors attractions in Edinburgh. Also a huge thank you to Jurys Inn for providing us with a costa coffee voucher and a complimentary dinner. A special thank you to Flybe for sponsoring my flights between the Midlands and Edinburgh. Also many thanks to The Colonnades for inviting us to review their afternoon tea. A further mention to Edinburgh Private City Hire for sponsoring the return journey to and from the airport.

Our Itinerary – 48 hours in Edinburgh

Day One

MORNING

We got off to an early start arriving into the city we headed straight for the hotel to check in and drop off our bags. The first port of call was Real Mary Kings Close. It’s a fantastic interactive tour that gives an insightful idea about the city whilst keeping the history alive. It is filled with ghost stories and has scary elements which is worth keeping in mind if you’re travelling with young children. We spent just over an hour on the tour.

We headed along the royal mile doing a little souvenir shopping in the Christmas shop and looking around the novelty stores.

AFTERNOON

After having a midday coffee to keep ourselves going – Edinburgh requires a lot of walking along cobbled streets! We headed into Princes Street to do a spot of shopping. There are plenty of shops and bars along the way, you could also stop off at the Edinburgh dungeons which is just before Waverley station too!

EVENING

We had dinner at the hotel, however, there are plenty of restaurants dotted along the Royal Mile. After dinner, we went to the Camera Obscura. We arrived at 7:30 and spent until closing there! Allow as much time as you can in there as it really is so interesting. There’s so much to see and do. I’d recommend heading there in the morning as you’re allocated a stamp so you can re-enter as much as you like! It’s worth seeing the views at night and day.

Day Two

MORNING

Getting up at 8:15 to allow for maximum time in the city, we headed down to breakfast which comprised of a full English breakfast watered down with a coffee, which wasn’t nearly as nice as the Costa Coffee bar on site!

We went for a brisk morning walk along The Royal Mile to take a look at Holyrood Palace. We booked to go to the castle at 11:30, which was perfect timing as not many people were around at this time. The earlier you can get there the better in terms of photos and views!

After spending just over 90 minutes in the castle we headed back towards The Royal Mile and Parliament Square.

AFTERNOON

Entering The Colonnades at The Signet Library at 13:00 was the perfect time to go. We stayed for just over three hours. It’s worth scheduling around two hours to allow yourself time to really enjoy the atmosphere and savour the flavours. It’s definitely seen as a social event and should be used as such! Plus, with the selection of nibbles and wide array of teas and coffees (the latte is exceptional!), you’ll want to stick around and try them all!

Feeling tired and rather full, we took a slow walk to retreat back to the hotel to wait for our transfer at 17:50 in time for our 19:30 flight.

If I was taking a trip back to Edinburgh, which I’d definitely consider – I’d think about heading into Holyrood Palace and the Edinburgh Dungeons. I’d also like to try to the nighttime ghost tour of Edinburgh!

There is so much to see and do in the Scottish capital, so if you’re putting off visiting – like I was – it’s time to get it booked. It’s a fairly cheap weekend away yet you feel like you’re a million miles away from England. Book the trip. You’ll love it.

Hasta luego,

diary of a spanglish girl signature

Pinterest:

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Sponsored products mentioned: Flybe flight, Jurys Inn dinner and Costa Coffee bar, AVSA passes from Visit Scotland, return transfer with EPCH and an afternoon tea at The Colonnades, Signet Library

 

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Hola! I'm Lauren ("Loh - run") — A twenty-something, engaged, English girl living on the Costa Blanca, obsessed with travel, love and elephants.

10 thoughts on “An Edinburgh Travel Guide

  1. I’ve been to Edin twice and LOVE it! Probably my second favorite place in the UK after Brighton. I stayed in a hostel with a view of the castle, it was magical! My favorite things to do in Edin is drink (of course) and take walking tours, so many little things you’d never know about this magical city if someone didn’t tell you.

    Rachel || http://anotherstationanothermile.com

    Liked by 1 person

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