After London, we headed off on the train to Edinburgh. We only had a few short days there, so my experience and advice is slightly limited in this sense. Next time I visit (and for anyone who has a longer amount of time there) I would definitely try and see more of the Scottish countryside as well as perhaps visiting the famous Loch Ness.
Below are my tips based on our limited time in the extremely beautiful city of Edinburgh!
(All photos are mine. Some are from my Instagram account)
Visit one of the many castles within easy travel distance from Edinburgh. We visited Craigmillar Castle, which was a short bus ride from the main street. I don't know about anyone else, but when I think of Scotland I think of old ruined castles set among green fields, so I really couldn't imagine a trip there without visiting one. Click here to see a list of castles and palaces in the general area.
Make the trek up to Arthur's Seat, or at least up to Calton Hill. This viewpoint will give you the most amazing view of the city and it's magnificent medieval buildings. Walking up at sunset may just reward you with quite a spectacular sky, as happened to us on our second walk up. I actually gasped out loud (very loudly) on a tour we were doing, causing everyone to immediately look at me to see what was wrong. Oops..
Check when Holyrood Palace is going to be open if you are flexible with when you visit. We tried to visit when we were there but unfortunately Prince Charlie was in town and we weren't able to. What we were really interested in was the Abbey, but even that was closed.
Take advantage of the free 2.5 walking tour offered by Sandemans New Europe. The same company also runs a very fascinating night tour about Edinburgh's dark past, if that's your sort of thing. This tour talks about actual crimes and events in history, unlike the ghost tours mentioned in the below section.
Worry too much about where your accommodation is in the city. To say it is compact would be an understatement, so walking from your hotel to any main sight shouldn't be a problem. Unless you have actually booked somewhere on the outskirts, in which case, make the bus your friend.
Get sucked in to one of the many ghost tours, as there are so many more interesting things to do. Luckily we didn't due to the fact that many people passed on the same advice to us. If it's your thing, all power to you. You will find people dotted along the Royal Mile in 'scary' costumes trying to sell the tours to you.
Edinburgh isn't exactly what I'd call a shopping city, but you will find high street stores such as Zara and H&M along Princes Street. Many of the shops around the city are the typical tourist souvenir shops, which seem to sell way too many kilts and the always-attractive Scottish hats with fake orange hair attached.
You may find a few small vintage and other nice little shops dotted around the Old Town, which is a lovely place to walk around either way.