The first day in Edinburgh must have impressed you with so many things you discovered: a medieval castle, a hill with almost Greek monuments, you learned to pronounce Edinburgh like Edinburgh… you’re almost a local.
For this second full day I have prepared some things that from my point of view are also very interesting, so we better start that there is no time to lose!
Climb Arthur Seat
We started the day climbing another hill, although this one is a little more difficult than Calton Hill. It is at the foot of the Royal Mile although it can be seen from many places in Edinburgh for its high altitude: Arthur Seat!
It depends on your fitness and how fast you walk (or how many times you stop to take pictures) it will take between two and three hours to get up and down. To this you have to add the time you will be upstairs, contemplating the beautiful views: on clear days you can see even the sea!
Visit to the Scottish Parliament
After Arthur Seat, my recommendation is to visit the Scottish Parliament. This visit must be booked in advance on the website due to the security surrounding this building. Guided tours are available in English or free, both free of charge.
As a curiosity, I tell you that the architect who designed this building is the Spaniard Enric Miralles and that when you see it for the first time it may seem like one of the most modern and incomprehensible works, but after doing the guided tour, it will become one of your favourite places in the city… especially if you are a fan of architecture and the messages hidden between beams like me.
At this point, I recommend a break for lunch and rest after the morning hustle and bustle. I’m sure you’ve been wanting to try some of the restaurants I recommended the first day, so I’ll let you check the list and decide on one. Remember you can’t leave Scotland without taking haggis (and there’s also vegetarian so don’t make excuses!).
In the afternoon, my suggestion is to visit the National Museum of Scotland, which is free of charge. You must have seen it from the outside during the tour we suggested at the beginning of the post, right next to Bobby, the city dog.
This museum is definitely one of those worth entering.
What to see will depend on how much time you have, although some must-see jewels are Darwin’s notebooks, Flemming’s notebooks, Dolly’s sheep and Watt’s steam engine.
This museum has a roof terrace with interesting views of Edinburgh. It also has a restaurant called “The Tower” upstairs, which offers meals but also the traditional “afternoon tea” that you can take as a succulent snack.
Another museum I recommend you go see, though more briefly than the National Museum is the National Art Gallery of Scotland. It is located in Princes St and access is free. The neoclassical building is beautiful and not too big inside so you can visit it in an hour or less, it depends on your artistic passion.
Britannia, the queen’s boat
After the museum you can take bus number 22, which has several stops at Princes St to go to Leith, the famous Edinburgh harbour.
Walking its streets and appreciating how the city changes is one of my favorite activities. In addition, in this port is the Britannia, which was Queen Elizabeth’s ship for her sea voyages for many years.
To see its interior you have to pay an entrance fee but I think it is worth it, as its rooms and stays show the day to day life of the crew as well as the luxuries enjoyed by travellers sailing with the Queen!
A sweet snack
And if you dare to go all the way to Leith, I strongly recommend that you stop for coffee at Mimis Bakery. They have a shop in Leith itself and it is one of the most famous places in Edinburgh to have a piece of the menu and a coffee, or as they say in Edinburgh, “coffee and cake”.
There are all kinds of flavours and forms, including vegetarian and vegan alternatives… but the classic that everyone should try when visiting the UK is undoubtedly the “Victoria Sponge”.
Walking and shopping
To get back to the centre, it is best to take bus number 22 again, which will take you back to Princes St. Petersburg.
If it’s not too late yet and you have time, you can stroll through one of the most popular streets in the new part of the city, George St. There are plenty of shops where you can stop to buy a souvenir other than the typical souvenir (what about Anthropologie or Molton Brown?).
You can also go to Charlotte Square, where there is one of the places I like best in Edinburgh: a Georgian house preserved exactly as it was at the end of the 18th century. Admission costs £8 per person, but it’s worth seeing what British looks like in all things: nothing to do with the 18th century in other countries!
This last visit will have made your dinner time, so I’ll let you check the full list of restaurants I left you the first day so you can choose one.
And here I close the second day in Edinburgh! For travelers who have only been able to come for a weekend, I’m sure they’ll be tired, but I also think they’ve fallen in love with this beautiful city… in just 48 hours!
Summary of places visited on the second day
– The hill called Arthur Seat
– Scottish Parliament
– National Museum of Scotland
– National Art Gallery of Scotland
– Port of Leith and Brittany
– Georgian House