Back at the beginning of July, we celebrated Ben’s birthday and, since it was the first since we got together I wanted to make it special. I ummed and ahhed about what to do and in the end I settled on taking him away for the weekend – I always prefer to give people gifts that create memories rather than material things that inevitably end up lost in the recesses of a cupboard somewhere in their house.
I spent a while researching places to go online and, after whittling down my options, settled on Edinburgh. With it’s vibrant night life, copious amounts of places to eat and drink, plus all the history and culture, I knew it was right up Ben’s street and we would find loads to enjoy doing together there.
I decided to travel by train (Virgin East Coast) as it worked out much cheaper than flying but took more or less the same amount of time when you took into account driving to the airport, parking and getting through check-in etc. Plus, when you travel by train you get to see so much more of the country – we passed through some really stunning areas that we would have missed out on had we travelled by air.
Upon arrival in Edinburgh, it was a short walk from the railway station to our accommodation, the Travelodge on Queen Street. Located opposite leafy parkland, it’s literally only a couple of minutes walk from nearby shops, restaurants and bars, but is positioned well enough out of the way that you’re not affected by revellers leaving the venues late at night. Location perfection!
We checked in (with potentially the nicest and most helpful staff member we’ve ever met in our lives – we think his name was Colin or Chris) and ventured up to our room which, upon opening the door, was a lovely surprise – it was HUGE! Even the massive king-size bed looked tiny in the available space! As well as being big, the room was spotlessly clean, the bed was unbelievably comfortable (I miss that thing) and the bathroom came with a over-bath shower which is ideal offering you the option to either have a quick shower before you head out for a day of adventures or take a bath to relax your weary limbs and unwind after a day of exploring.
As our room was at the front of the hotel, the two floor-to-ceiling windows had views over the trees that made it easy to forget we were within a bustling city, and of an evening, when the sun went down, we were treated to some pretty spectacular sunsets over the top of the tree canopies.
Over the time we were there – Friday to Monday – we did a lot of walking, trying to take in as many sights as possible before we had to go home. We visited the castle, Arthur’s Seat (although my dodgy knees meant I only made it halfway up), Greyfriars Bobby’s grave, Mary Kings Close (the underground street) and we went for a night-time tour of some vaults which are supposedly haunted. Although we didn’t see, hear or feel anything, I’d recommend booking yourself on to one of these tours if you’re ever visiting Edinburgh as you learn lots of history about the place as you walk around. It was really interesting!
On our final day I had us booked in to visit Edinburgh Zoo; we’re both big zoo-lovers so I thought it would be perfect to take Ben to this one as they currently have pandas on site, an animal that neither of us have had the opportunity to see in real-life before. You have to book your panda-viewing in advance and I was pretty excited when we got there, however, it turns out that pandas are pretty lazy little critters and very unsociable – all we saw was the arse-end of a sleeping bear. Literally!
Look carefully to the left side of the photo. See that grey smudge just above the ‘@ap’ of my watermark? That’s a pandas bum!
All in all we had a great weekend. We walked loads, we ate good food, we drank whisky cocktails (when in Edinburgh…) and we laughed a lot. Getting to spend time with the people you love and spoiling them have to be one of the best feelings in the world.
I 100% recommend Edinburgh as somewhere to visit for a long weekend, there’s so much to do there I’m sure there’s something for everyone. We both loved it and can’t wait to go back one day!
Edinburgh, we love you.
* Our room at Travelodge Edinburgh was very generously provided free of charge but, as always, all opinions and comments are honest and entirely my own *