Roadtripping | Scotland Day 6

Edinburgh, Castle, Princes Street,
Edinburgh, Cathedral, Spire,

Ahh Auld Reekie, I’ve read so much about you... Two days just isn’t enough to explore Edinburgh, especially with a toddler-in-tow, so any excuse to go back (and drink more gin!). It was one of my favourite cities we visited during the roadtrip, with lots to do and see, no matter what your preference of activity.

Like Glasgow, we decided to spend the day exploring via the City Hop bus – and this one was loads better! As a side note, we parked the car at the Park & Ride and took the bus to Princes Street. From there we walked to Waverley Bridge to pick up the hop-on hop-off bus, which is the main/starting station. There are three different buses/routes and we took the red one (which was definitely the best, but also the longest/one with the most stops). Also, Princes Street is the main street where all the shops are, so a great place to begin (or end!) your day.

We stayed on the bus until stop 6: Lawnmarket. Here, the places of note were Edinburgh Castle, the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Gladstone’s Land and the Scotch Whisky Experience.
Edinburgh, Castle,
The Castle was busy, but luckily with our bus tickets, we received a discount and fast track entry so we avoided the queues. There were still so many people everywhere: the gift shops, the exhibition rooms and not to mention the swarms of people at 1pm when the gun was fired. Known as the ‘One o clock Gun’, the firing of the gun dates back to 1861 and it simply went off to symbolise the time, so the ships in the Firth of Forth could set their maritime clocks. We couldn’t see it from our vantage point as it was busy and everyone had their phones out filming it, but it was incredible. I was so conscious it was going to make me jump, but I conveniently sneezed at the same time!

Alfie loved the canons, but wanted to get out of the pushchair and climb on them, especially when we saw others doing so. The Prisoner of War exhibition was fascinating. Down in the vaults, it was dark and dingy, but really brought to life the conditions for those held captive in the 1800s. Unfortunately, having a pushchair was a bit of a disadvantage and there was so much we missed out on.
Heat Map, Mummy, Son, Selfie,
Headless, Mummy, World of Illusions, Scary
It was then a two-minute walk to our next attraction: the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. It had been recommended to me and definitely didn’t disappoint. There were five floors and so much to do and see on every level. Included in our ticket was the Camera Obscura show, which gave us visual access to the entire city – we could see everything. Our guide explained about the people being filmed and had we walked from the castle, we would have no doubt been spotted on earlier demonstrations. His favourite game was splatting all the people with cards, or picking them up with his hands. He then let us get involved. The top floor also had a panoramic deck, offering 360o views of the city, with free binoculars available. On a better day, it would have been perfect.

Each floor after that was a different theme, with hundreds of illusions in total. Some of the things I liked most were the shadow puppet screen, photographing your own shadow, the mirror maze, the magic mirrors and of course, all of the prints and games. The swirling light vortex reminded me how badly I get motion sickness. I carried Alfie through it and I genuinely thought I was going to pass out, or fall – and I got really bad ‘sea legs’ after. You could quite easily spend half a day here, with the most amazing gift shop too. The admission is only about £16 (adult) and we got a discount with our bus tickets. We didn’t enjoy the experience to its full potential as Alfie was acting up a bit.

It was back on the bus and to the Royal Mile (stops 8: John Knox House and 9: Canongate), which we walked up and down a few times, before finding a pub that would let us in with Alfie. Yes, it was mid-afternoon, but it seems very few places have licences for children. Anyway, we found one who would let us in if we ate, so we bought a couple of bags of crisps to accompany our drinks. We had a dinner reservation at 6pm, so it was back on the bus to complete the tour. Some of the highlights and sights we saw from the bus window included the Palace of Holyrood, Holyrood Park and the Burns Monument. But we didn’t get off until the last stop, which took us back to Waverley Bridge.

Today we drove 24 miles
Today we walked 7.2km

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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