Traveling to Scotland was something I had never really planned on doing but when my friends during study abroad had bought tickets over Thanksgiving weekend and tickets were only 30 Euros, I figured why not take this chance and go. In total, we spent three days in Scotland which was not nearly enough time but it was just enough to make me fall in love with the gothic, Victorian style city of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, Scotland was everything and more for a Hogwarts wanna- be like myself. The castles, victorian architecture, and gloomy weather in November left me feeling like I was inside of a Brother’s Grimm fairytale.
During our trip we stayed at a cute little hostel right down the hill from the Edinburgh castle called the Castle Rock Hostel. It was comfortable, had a great location, and it was designed to look like the inside of a castle (which was a plus). In the cold holiday weather, one of the first things we did was explore the Edinburgh castle with a bailey’s hot cocoa in hand. (Luckily for us, the castle also had a distillery inside that sold boozy hot cocoa.) Since we were in Scotland in late November, the weather was extremely humid and freezing cold. Everywhere we went we were bundled up but if you can bare the weather, an added incentive to visit Europe during the winter months are the amazing Christmas markets. During our stay in Scotland we got to explore Edinburgh’s famous Christmas market- enjoying hand made craft booths, festival activities, lots of sweets and muled wine. The market was full of unique gifts and plenty of people in the holiday spirit. One of my favorite memories from this trip was venturing through the market with our Nutella crepes and wine, watching the ferris wheel light up at night by a warm fire place in the city center.
A must do in Edinburgh is the Royal Mile- a well-known walk to various pubs, famous historic buildings, and Scottish monuments and cathedrals. Edinburgh is full of rich history from the Victorian age as well as many new modern experiences for tourists. The views from the top of the Royal Mile is amazing, perched on top of a hill with a view of all of Edinburgh surrounded by monuments of the countries history. It is a small hike to get to the top but the view is definitely worth it.
This city is full of cafes and bookshops but one in particular is a “must-do” for Harry Potter nerds like myself. The Elephant House cafe, which has established itself as one of the best tea and coffee houses in Edinburgh has been made famous as the place of inspiration to J.K. Rowling. The cafe owner’s claim Rowling has been coming and writing in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle since before her fame. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I could not miss this opportunity to visit this place so of course I ordered a latte and sat at the very table J.K. Rowling did, looking over the city and seeing where her inspiration struck.
If you’re interested in Scotland’s history and the UK, I suggest going to check out some of the many museums or castles in Edinburgh. We got the opportunity to visit Calton Hill (monument hill), the National History museum, and of course many of the cathedrals and castles. If you aren’t such a history nerd like myself, just walking around this beautiful and unique city will leave you breathless regardless. Around every corner lies spectacular architecture, good food (and drinks), and friendly Scottish accents. The locals in this city were more than helpful and friendly to us, which was refreshing and made for an easier trip.
Three days spent in Scotland was not nearly enough to see all the beautiful things this country has to offer but it did give me a chance to explore the city of Edinburgh and gain a love for Scotland that made me want to venture back. If you’re a architect lover, a book lover, a history lover, or just a lover of accents, I highly recommend exploring the city of Edinburgh and furthermore the country of Scotland.