Scotland: Edinburgh’s hidden gems & a daytrip to Glasgow
I was very glad to see you enjoyed the first part of my travel guide to Scotland that much, and I can’t wait to tell you even more. Last week, I focused on the main tourist attractions in Edinburgh and today I will tell you more about some spots in the city you might not have heard too much about. I’m also going to tell you a bit about Glasgow, the second largest city of Scotland.
So, let’s start by talking a bit more about Edinburgh. When reading the first part of the series some of you might have thought: “But what about Arthur’s Seat?” Well, I actually did not go up there as on the day we intended to do so, the weather was too bad. And also, we heard that there’s something else we could do that we might enjoy even more: Calton Hill. Calton Hill is located just at the eastern end of Princes Street and way easier to climb than Arthur’s Seat. Also, it’s not too overcrowded, so you can actually relax up there and the view over the city is just amazing – and quite different to the view from Edinburgh Castle.
One thing you definitely should not miss is Portobello Beach. I’d recommend you go there just before sunset, so you can watch the sky becoming a really lovely light pink colour before it sets. Again, it’s so calm and there were no tourists at all when we went there. However, we witnessed a man swimming in the sea, despite the just slightly above zero temperature. Sometimes, the Scottish really are crazy!
One obligatory stop for all of the Harry Potter fans out there: Elephant House! This is the café where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book, The Sorcerer’s Stone! You might have to wait a few minutes to get seated as it’s always packed with people, but it’s definitely worth a visit. I fell in love with all these little cafés and I can definitely imagine myself sitting there working and sipping on some hot chocolate.
And now to on the most important part of every trip: Let’s talk about the food! I have already mentioned that there are various cafés and tea rooms where you can enjoy your afternoon tea with some pies and other delicious foods. Local delicacies not to miss are surely Fish n Chips (I mean it’s the UK, you have to eat it) and Haggis (a Scottish speciality I wasn’t brave enough to try and eat myself, but I heard it’s way better than it sounds) And, like always in the UK, you have to try international cuisine as well, since so many cultures are mixed together there and we had the most amazing lunch at the Khartoum Café, an African restaurant that was just so, sooo good! I can highly recommend it!
We also made a little day trip to Glasgow, which takes about an hour if you go by train and costs you around 10 pounds. To be honest, we were not that overwhelmed by Glasgow. The main reason for that being that it is a business hub and therefore does not have the cute narrow streets we were used to in Edinburgh. Also, Glasgow does not have that much to see for tourists. We were guided by a university colleague of my friend and first thought he was just not that great of a tour guide, but we ourselves did not find any other attractions to visit than he showed us either.
The Science Centre in Glasgow is very cool. It’s located a bit outside of the city centre and mainly intended for children, but we enjoyed it as well, as it’s very interactive and has various floors divided by different categories. You can spend a few hours there for sure and they offer student discounts as well. The other main attraction we saw were the Botanic Gardens. There are Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh as well, if you want to visit them. It was so calming walking around the flowers and watching the fish. I haven’t been to a Botanic Garden in years and I never thought I would enjoy it that much. I mean, it’s just walking around and looking at flowers, right? But it was really fascinating, and you really shouldn’t miss out on that.
I can’t believe my Scotland series is already approaching its end next week, but I hope you feel the urge to visit this beautiful part of the world now as well. I can’t wait to tell you about the Scottish Highlands next week – something you definitely have to see when visiting!