While planning our recent UK trip, I decided it would be nice to take a trip within the trip. Paris was immediately top of my list. What is better than a day or two spent walking the dreamy streets of Paris, gazing at the Eiffel Tower at any given opportunity? Not much.
My mom had another idea. She was desperate to see Scotland. After she subtly mentioned it a few times, I realized I had to oblige my mother on this trip and take her to Scotland. Fine. See you next time, Paris.
Flights from Stansted to Edinburgh are ridiculously inexpensive. I’m talking $45 USD each round trip. Thats not a typo. Good ole Ryan Air. Near impossible to fly solo anywhere in the US at that amount.
I convinced Andrew to join us, and we departed Stansted bright and early on a Tuesday morning for the one hour hop up to Edinburgh. Unfortunately you cannot get your passport stamped when traveling within the UK, we learned. Sorry, mom.
The first day, much like the second, was spent walking and exploring, our preferred method of seeing a new city. By first impressions, it felt like a rather modern city with a young crowd, yet also so much history and buildings dated over five hundred years old.
Our hotel was at Grassmarket, overlooking Edinburgh Castle. Andrew chose it with my mom in mind, thinking she’d love to wake up with a thousand year old castle in view. Nailed it!
First we needed to satisfy our hunger, so we ducked into Deacon’s House Cafe for a cream tea. Afterward, we enjoyed a couple of hours at the Royal Botanic Gardens, which is full of such unique plants, all marked with their species and place of origin. I especially loved the look of the giant glass greenhouse buildings, there’s something about them that’s so pleasing to my eye. We decided not to pay the extra/separate entry fee to go inside the greenhouses, however now that some weeks have passed, maybe we should have done it for the ‘gram. If I find out they’re filled with gorgeous ferns, I’ll be gutted, as they say.
After resting our legs at the hotel, we headed out into the night to grab some dinner, ending up at a wood fired pizza place called Dough. Traditional Scottish grub, obviously. Since it would be a bit of a wait for the pizza and Dough was BYOB, I ran over to the local CoOp to grab some mini bottles of wine for
the two lightweights my mom and I. The pizza was alright, but the company was top notch.
Day two started out at Edinburgh Castle. My mom rented headphones for the audio tour, while Andrew and I chose to just wander and explore the castle grounds without audio. We spent several hours viewing everything from a prison area to the Crown Jewels. We watched a really well-done video detailing the history of English and Scottish battles over ownership of the castle. We sampled Scottish whisky and had a tea to warm up in the Redcoat Cafe (appropriate!).
After the castle, we walked up the Miracle Mile to Holyrood House. I had Arthur’s Seat on my wish list, but our tired legs never made it there. I would have loved to see the city view from up high atop a hill. My mom was on a mission to find Bakehouse Close, where they filmed scenes from Outlander, which she’s obsessed with. I think this was her happiest moment in Edinburgh.
After an early evening rest at the hotel, we headed out to Ensign Ewart pub for some live music by two lads on fiddle and banjo and vocals on our last night, at my mom’s request. We were lucky to score a table at the tiny pub. I was waiting for my mom to jump up and start dancing, but for some reason she held back! We didn’t last very late, knowing we had an early wake up time to get to the airport and return to Stansted.
As with most trips, I wish we had more time, mainly to rent a car and see the Scottish countryside. Edinburgh is a great city for two night’s getaway. The flight was incredibly quick and easy, yet it would be great to also journey by train from London to Scotland someday.
We truly lucked out with three dry days. It was certainly cold, but to see such blue skies was never expected.
Practically everything we planned to do or did while in Edinburgh was all with my mom in mind. I hope she’ll remember her experiences fondly. She’s always been my biggest fan and has always taken such loving care of me, and supported every milestone and moment of my 36 years. And she adores Andrew. I’m grateful for her and so thrilled we got to show her a tiny sliver of Scotland. I do believe this part of parenting my parents is without a doubt the best bit!