By Tom Lally
After a few fabulous days in London, it was time to travel to Edinburgh. Although you’d only be in the air for about an hour, flying comes with all of the hassles of airport travel. So instead I opted for the 5 hour train ride, which went by very quickly as I was watching the beautiful English countryside fly by outside the window.
Edinburgh is both like and unlike London in many ways. It has similar accents, the same prevalence of pubs, and history. But Edinburgh has lots of hills, the sea, and much of the architecture is gray stone buildings. After the hustle and bustle of London, it was nice to spend a few days somewhere a little more relaxed. I knew almost nothing about it before I went, and it might be lighter on major attractions, but I enjoyed my time in Edinburgh just as much.
First up was Arthur’s Seat, which came highly recommended by a friend. And for that I am very thankful, because I might not have done it without them, but it was amazing. It’s an extinct volcano that’s now a hill overlooking the city. The climb up along rocky steps was a little strenuous and hair-raising at points, but the view from the top was breath taking.
Visiting the Palace of Holyroodhouse was a bit of an impulsive decision I hadn’t planned on, but it was very nice. It’s the queen’s official residence when in Scotland, and at the time I visited it was displaying the actual wedding attire of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I’m not a royal family aficionado, but it was an unexpected and cool bit of history/pop culture.
I much prefer beer to hard alcohol, but I didn’t think it would be a complete trip without trying some genuine Scotch whisky. I can’t say I much enjoyed the drink, but the tour was nice and the enthusiasm of our guide – coincidentally named Scott – was infectious.
Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most visited attraction, and like the Tower of London it is deceptively named. It’s not just a castle but an entire fortified little city complete with homes, a chapel, and of course a large castle.
I had an amazing time in the UK, and it was certainly one of the easiest international trips you could take. I had direct flights, no language barrier (mostly, depending on accents), and no real culture shock. It was an excellent way to get away from my home and my routine, without feeling too stressed or uncomfortable.