What did I do in Edinburgh, Scotland?


After an incredible trip in Ireland, I went to Scotland for my very first visit. I flew from Dublin to Edinburg on Ryan Air and then took the Tram from the airport to Haymarket. The weather was so beautiful that I strolled to my hotel.

What did I do in Edinburgh, Scotland?I had bought a SIM card from 3 in Ireland which worked for me in Scotland and Italy. It was the best 20 Euro I spent on my entire trip! I was able to use the map on my phone and easily navigate the ten minute walk from the station.

Where to go in EdinburghI walked for my three days in Scotland. On my first afternoon, I walked along the Royal Mile. I loved listening to the bagpipes, walking into St. Giles Cathedral to see the stained glass and watching children play in bubbles on the street. It was so sunny! Enjoy my video from May 26, 2017.

VIDEO: Day One in Edinburgh Scotland Summer 2017

Exploring Edinburgh Castle was my most important plan for day two! Make sure you are there at One o’clock Gun when the afternoon canon is fired. It was so loud! You can see it here on my video. This practice started in 1861. It allowed ships in the Firth of Forth to set their maritime clocks which they used to navigate around the world. John Hewitt was a business man from Paris who brought the idea of the one o’clock gun to Scotland.

VIDEO: Want to explore Edinburgh Castle in Scotland with me?

The castle is the Headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. There are jewels, a prison and a war history museum. I loved the views from the top of Castle Rock. I took the free guided tour which was fantastic. You can purchase an audio guide but I liked walking around with a group and a guide and being able to ask questions.

What to see at Castle Rock Edinburgh

It is possible to visit the chapel built in 1130 by David I for his mother, Queen Margaret. I was told there have been miracles at her tomb. Outside of Queen Margaret’s Chapel is Mons Meg; it is a 6 ton, muzzle-loading canon which fires gunstones weighing 150kg (330 pounds) nearly 2 miles. It is one of two surviving ‘bombard gun’s presented to King James II by his uncle by marriage, Phillip the Good, Duke of Burgundy in 1457. It is the largest cannon in the world. In the 1650’s it was brought to Edinburgh castle where it was fired to salute the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to French Dauphin, Francis.

What to see at Castle Rock

The Great Hall with the Thistle of Scotland and the Rose of England has a hall for banquets which is still in use. Make sure to look up at the 500 year old ceiling which is the upside down hull of a ship. If you have the largest navy—you want to show off your ships!

In the armory, there is a display of all types of swords and suits of armor. You can visit the Scotland crown jewels which is the oldest crown in Britain. Find the Honours of Scotland in the Crown Room. You can see the sceptre which was presented to James IV by Pope Alexander VI in 1494 while the crown was first worn for the coronation of James V’s wife Mary of Guise in 1540. They were first used together for the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots in 1543 when she was nine months old.

Have the jewels always been used? No! From 1651-60, they were hidden to keep them from Cromwell’s Parliamentarian army. In 1707, after the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland, they were locked in a chest and sealed away. But in 1818 novelist Sir Walter Scott found the jewels with a silver wand.

What to see at Palace of Holyroodhouse Edinburgh ScotlandFor my third day of walking tours, I went to the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland, the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, The Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is directly across from Parliament which you can visit. I was there on a Sunday so the Parliament building was not open. Next time, I want to go inside. I heard that there is a garden party in July when the Queen is in residence. I want to go to that too! Holyrood is at one end of the Royal Mile the other end is Castle Rock.

VIDEO: Join me at The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh Scotland

My favorite part was the Abbey. I took the live guided tour and I appreciated learning about the history of this section. The rest of castle has an audio tour and there are no photos or videos allowed inside.

The Abbey began in 1128 by King David I. As the legend goes, during a hunt the King was thrown from his horse, he was saved from being gored when a holy cross appeared and startled the stag with giant antlers.

I went to the exhibit of Maria Merian’s butterflies at The Queen’s Gallery. She was a leading scientist of her time and her scientific expedition to Surinam in 1699 is listed as the first person “to plan a journey rooted solely in science.” She traveled with her two daughters and spent two years in South America painting and doing research which led to her major work, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (de), in 1705, for which she became famous.

She is considered by David Attenborough to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology. She was a leading entomologist of her time and she discovered many new facts about insect life through her studies.

At Dynamic Earth, I learned about geology, Pangea and went through a time machine to learn about the big bang. There are interactive exhibits where you feel like you are inside a Volcano, the Arctic and a yellow submarine in the Ocean. I like traveling with Captain Endeavor to the Rainforest.

What to see in Edinburgh ScotlandI ended my visit with a view of the city from the top of the Hop On, Hop Off bus. I really enjoyed my three day tour of Edinburgh. I cannot wait to come back to Scotland and to visit more of its historic cities.

Find more videos from my trips at WeSaidGoTravel.

Thank you!
Lisa Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

One response to “What did I do in Edinburgh, Scotland?

  1. I am a traveler. Many people suggested that I visit Scotland but I thought there is nothing interesting to do. After reading this article now I think I was wrong. Thanks Lisa for the suggestions and information. Teresa

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