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Scottish Road Trip Day 1: A Painful Journey to Captivating Edinburgh | Don't Ever Look Back

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Scottish Road Trip Day 1: A Painful Journey to Captivating Edinburgh

Scottish Road Trip Day 1: A Painful Journey to Captivating Edinburgh

After leaving Iceland, we headed to the United Kingdom with no real set plan. The two of us spent our first few days exploring London but had 4 nights to spare in our itinerary. A trip out to West Country to see Stonehenge and visit Cornwall was an option, as was heading to Northwest England to check out Chester and Liverpool.

“How about a road trip up through Scotland?” Amy remarked.


We quickly rushed together a plan for 4 nights in Scotland and booked an overnight Megabus from London to Edinburgh. This sounded like a great idea at the time – a 10-hour ride would save us having to pay for a night’s accommodation (we could get some sleep on board) and the bus would most likely be empty. After all, it is November and surely people would prefer to travel during the daylight hours?

Megabus to Edinburgh

Megabus to Edinburgh

Boy, were we wrong! There wasn’t a spare seat on the bus and we had to deal with obnoxious passengers who thought it would be completely fine to speak on their phone for an hour or two in the wee hours of the morning. One of those passengers also used the chair in front as a hand wipe after eating potato chips – but more about bus etiquette later!

After 10 painful hours, we finally arrived at the St. Andrews Square Bus Station in Edinburgh at 8AM and proceeded to walk 2 miles to our hotel (it looked a lot closer on the map!). Fortunately things started going right for us from there – we were able to check-in early and it was a beautiful sunny day outside (apparently that’s rare in Edinburgh?).

Exploring Edinburgh

With only a day to explore Edinburgh, we signed up for Sandeman’s Free Walking Tour of Edinburgh so that we could see all the sights of the Old City of Edinburgh and cover the Royal Mile. We nearly didn’t make it on the tour after helping a lost old lady find her home but luckily the two of us managed to arrive at the meeting point just in time to greet our tour guide James.

St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh

St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh

Our walking tour was filled with interesting stories about Edinburgh’s dark past and included many Harry Potter landmarks (for those readers who are fans) such as Elephant House, the birthplace of the series of novels. But the major highlight, as you would expect, was a view of the famous Edinburgh Castle which dominates the skyline of the city.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

We also got to see the gravesite of Greyfriars Bobby and his tribute statue. For those of you who don’t know about Bobby, Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who spent 14 years guarding the grave of his master before he died himself. Quite the touching story!

Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby

After our 3 hour walking tour wrapped up, we had one final mission for the day before we headed back to the hotel – to get a photo with a Scottish man in a traditional kilt.

Amy with Scottish Bagpiper

Mission accomplished! Amy with a Scottish Bagpiper

This proved easier than we thought with a street performer playing his bagpipes outside of Edinburgh Waverley railway station. Brilliant!

We headed back to our hotel exhausted but content – both of us had a fabulous afternoon exploring Edinburgh and really wish we could have spent a few days in this captivating city.

But time is scarce and tomorrow we pick up our car and drive into the Highlands!

Flickr Photo: Steven’s Transport Photos


  1. Posted December 1, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I’m glad that even though you were exhausted you still had an awesome time!
    Andi Perullo recently posted..France & Italy With Trafalgar Tours: Day 2 (Part 3)

    • Posted December 1, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Thanks Andi – we’re definitely glad that we made the most of our day in Edinburgh!

  2. Tim
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I love Edinburgh, especially the 3D nature of the city, with roads passing over roads etc, as well as all that brown stone work. If you’re back that way and like to eat roast pork you’ll not go too far wrong with oink (http://jov.io/guides/91-oink-edinburgh). Have fun in the Highlands!

  3. Posted December 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you definitely lucked out with the weather in Edinburgh! I can’t wait to explore this city next summer!
    Amanda recently posted..Passports With Purpose 2011 – Donate to a Great Cause, Win a NZ Prize!

    • Posted December 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Haha believe it or not we actually wouldn’t have minded a few clouds to give our photos that eerie, dark feeling that represents Edinburgh so well. Instead we got perfect blue skies! But definitely can’t complain. 🙂

  4. Posted December 5, 2011 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    I deal with annoying cell phone passengers everyday on my train ride to work! Bahaha.. Ear plugs. they’re little but they work wonders. =P Edinburgh is top of my list when we return to Europe. Hopefully 2013 if I can convince G. Haha. Great pictures as always you too!
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..It’s Official, Today I Quit My Job!

    • Posted December 5, 2011 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      We put music on but all we wanted to do was sleep… so inconsiderate! Edinburgh was probably our favorite city in the UK and well worth the visit! Good luck convincing G haha. 🙂

  5. Posted December 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    I live in Edinburgh and have had the same experiences on Megabus coaches before, you get a certain type of clientelle on their buses :S Glad you enjoyed Edinburgh though!
    Ross recently posted..Being Vegetarian in China

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