Edinburgh and celebrating all things Scottish ~ Day one

If you ever visit Scotland I would imagine that you will make a point of experiencing the mighty capital that is called Edinburgh.

I’m not usually much of a city person, but Edinburgh has a special feel about it. It has a great mix of history, architecture, old and new, hills and open green spaces. I’ve only visited the capital a handful of times, so I was really excited to be going to a Scottish event called Scotcon at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on Sunday 4 September 2016.

Scotcon

Scotcon was Scotland’s first ever Con of its kind. It was similar to a Comic Con, but celebrating everything Scottish.

Part of this celebration was meeting some of the actors from the TV series Outlander. I’m a huge fan of the show and was totally hooked after the first episode! Series one and most of Series two is filmed in Scotland. I love this. The series has been a huge boost to Scottish tourism with people from all over the world visiting the filming locations. I’ve visited many new places too. Check out Visit Scotland’s website for more details.

I’d never been to anything like this before. I love Scotland, so this was something I felt I shouldn’t miss and booked well in advance. The tickets were expensive, I couldn’t really afford it, but as it was a charity event I felt I was contributing to worthy causes.

My friend who I was going with sadly had to pull out as the event date was changed. My sister came with me at the last minute, which was great. This was the first time we’d ever been away for a weekend together.

After a few bumps along the way with the event, it was eventually travelling day on Friday 2 September. I was still looking forward to it. I was also going to meet fellow peakers from My Peak Challenge!

Travelling to Edinburgh

We travelled by train from Kilmarnock to Glasgow Central, then Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh Park Station.

Kilmarnock railway station dates from 1846 and has seen much improvement recently with rooms being converted for community use. It’s known as the Kilmarnock Station Community Village.

As I’m from Kilmarnock it’s brilliant to see my home town improving. The new Ayrshire College Kilmarnock Campus opened on 24 October 2016 and brings more people to the town. I can also see this little old station becoming a busier place!

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Kilmarnock Railway Station

While I was waiting for my sister, I popped into the ‘Storm in a Teacup’ at the station for a coffee and a chat with friendly staff. I love this old piano!

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Old piano

My sister arrived and we were on our way!

Two girls smiling, with fair hair, taking a selfie on the train
Selfie sisters on the train

When we reached Edinburgh Park Station we caught a Lothian bus just outside the station. It took us straight to the Ratho Travel Lodge near Edinburgh airport. The bus stops on the road below and you only need to walk across the footbridge to the other side. So travelling there was pretty straight forward.

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Ratho Station Travel Lodge

We were going to be staying at the Travel Lodge for three nights (Friday to Monday). The room was spacious for two of us. The double bed was more comfortable than the single though. My sister can personally vouch for that as being the main tester!

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Travel lodge room

To Edinburgh city

My sister was looking for something tartan to wear for the event on Sunday so we caught a bus to the city centre. I don’t travel on public transport very often and it was quite confusing what bus to get in Edinburgh. There were three different bus companies that all went to different places. Luckily the bus stops have timetables displayed and friendly locals also helped us by telling us what bus to travel on.

Edinburgh is packed with shops that sell Scottish gifts and tartan. Possibly too many shops are similar though. The staff were all really friendly. We walked along Princes Street and I enjoyed looking at the castle far away in the distance and the trams going past. It was busy with people doing their own thing getting ready for the weekend. The big wheel looked fun! Of course I was thinking, great photo opportunity at the top.

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Princes Street, Edinburgh
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Tram on Princes Street, Edinburgh
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Scottish National Gallery
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Looking up to the old town
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
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Origin of the rock

Later we walked to the medieval old town, the Royal Mile, still looking for something tartan. We eventually found the perfect tartan skirt at a reasonable price.

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Scottish National Gallery

When you approach the old town, the architecture is very impressive with its pointy spires. The author J K Rowling was inspired by Edinburgh to write her Harry Potter stories. I can understand why!

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Some photos of the magnificent buildings on the Royal Mile:

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The Royal Mile
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The Royal Mile
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The Royal Mile

The stunning St Giles Cathedral. Wish we’d had time to explore inside.

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St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile
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St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile
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Mercat Cross on the Royal Mile
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Living statue on the Royal Mile

We both started to feel hungry so Frankie and Bennys on the Royal Mile it was for some food. I also enjoyed a nice glass of white wine and soda. Lovely food and friendly service.

After dinner we walked around some of the side streets to see what was there. It’s a busy place at night. As it was getting late we made our way back down to Princes Street to find out what bus we needed to get back to Ratho. We soon found out that you need to be at the right bus stop for the right bus. Sometimes if you don’t put your arm out the bus can just drive past!

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Edinburgh at dusk

When we were on the bus we didn’t know when to get off the bus at Ratho. Looking out the window of the bus showed the reflections from inside the bus, and we weren’t familiar with any landmarks, so I had to ask the bus driver to give us a shout when we were there. Yet again, a friendly bus service was welcomed.

It was bedtime after a tiring day but fun day.Β The next day we’d go back to the city and explore.

Thanks for reading.

Love, Dawn-Marie x

Edinburgh: Days two and three

6 thoughts on “Edinburgh and celebrating all things Scottish ~ Day one

  1. What am amazing time you both had !
    Great tour of Edinburgh and I saw bits I never knew existed
    I must commend you on this post , certainly shows the history we have in beautifully written terms

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading Eileen and your lovely comment. There’s still so much more to explore. I’ll need to go back again πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. Hi Dawn-Marie

    What an adventure….I love Edi. I think it’s a lovely city where the old and the modern go well together.

    You lucky girl, you got to meet some of the Outlander cast. I wish I could have gone too. Sadly Sam wasn’t there….

    Take care x

    Elsa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Elsa! It’s really nice to hear from you :).

      It was so amazing to see and meet the guys from Outlander! It went so fast, but I have my photo to treasure :). It would have been lovely to meet Sam again, maybe another time I hope.

      I hope you are well and planning your next trip to Scotland πŸ˜‰

      Take care
      Dawn-Marie xxx

      Like

  3. Great post. One of our offices is at the corn exchange so I’m through in Edinburgh every month but I still get ridiculously excited every time I get there and see the castle. So jealous of Scotcon. Looks like a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ali. Lucky you visiting every month! I still have so much to see. Three days wasn’t enough. I’ll need to go back many more times! It was a fab weekend, love Edinburgh! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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