My First Trip to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland

At the end of September, I visited Scotland with my best friend Kayla who lives in Pennsylvania. We figured Scotland was a good in between point for us and we finally found time to make the trip happen!

Day One:

Kayla came down with a wicked cold the day before our trip and I got in around 11pm after 3 flights from Seoul so we both thought it best to take it easy the first day. We had a breakfast of scones, cake, and tea at Nomad near Haymarket Station and then set off wandering.

After walking past our fair share of churches and statues, along with a strange group trying to take a group photo, we ended up on Victoria Street. The shops were definitely aimed at tourists but I still thought they did it tastefully. Then we took a stroll down the Royal Mile.

After some soup and sandwich at Cafe on the Mound, we walked across the bridge to the Vodafone shop to get my phone data working properly. After that we stopped in the Scottish National Gallery (it’s free!) and then paid the Scott Monument a quick visit.

We had a sudden jolt of energy and decided to climb up to Calton Hill (which ended up not being as much of a hike as we expected) and saw our first, but certainly not our last, Scottish rainbow.

We then headed down towards Greyfriar’s to see the Bobby statue and the Kirkyard in search for some of the names on graves that inspired JK Rowlings characters in Harry Potter. The main one we found was Thomas Riddel aka Tom Riddle :) We had fish and chips and had an early night’s sleep.

Day Two:

We spent the early part of the day on the River Leith near Dean Village. It was just a little drizzly so it was perfect walking weather. We stopped in the modern art museum to use the restroom but didn’t look at any art, sorry, next time!

To get out of the drizzle that had turned into a full on down pour, we visited the Georgian House which was a little expensive but the docents were really enthusiastic and easy to talk to. I was very jealous of all the tastefully green rooms in the house. One docent highly suggested we visit Gladstone’s Land but unfortunately we never had time! We then walked up to the castle before it closed and poked around a bit.

Dinner was at the Baked Potato Shop which you can already guess the menu of. You can get a baked potato with any of their toppings, I chose an avocado, onion, tomato, cheese salad that was actually delicious (not the most beautiful thing to eat though that is for sure)

We wanted to hear some live music so we stopped by the Royal Oak which has live music every night. They have lots of extra guitars on hand so anyone that wanted to join in or have their own time was welcome to play and everyone in the bar sang along. It felt very much like Scottish karaoke. We headed home and got ready for our hike!

Day Three:

Every Saturday Edinburgh has a farmers market at the foot of the castle. There were tons of people buying their weekly produce there but also lots of vendors selling food and drinks for brunch! I had a delicious quiche and Kayla got three freshly made pancakes and was allowed to add all the homemade jam that her heart desired!

We climbed Arthur’s Seat! It wasn’t too hard of a climb until the very top which was just difficult to navigate because it was rocky and crowded. Plus it was incredibly windy that day! Even if you just walk up halfway, you get incredible views! We tried to take the hard way down because it got us to the other side, but we took a wrong turn and ended up taking the VERY hard way down. We rewarded ourselves with grilled cheese and waffles at the cafe called Cult Espresso.

Because we hadn’t been on our feet enough, we took the bus over to the Royal Botanic Gardens to walk around their stunning glass houses. The gardens are free and are beautiful, but I really think the glass houses are worth the 6£ ticket at least once! There were ten of them and each so different.

We ended our day with ice cream from Mary’s Milk Bar (I got rose almond) and then watched Netflix and rested our poor feet! We were heading to Glasgow bright and early the next day so it was early to bed again.

Day Four:

With one last breakfast at Nomad, we took a train to Glasgow. We were both at the very end of our colds (Kayla’s was much worse than mine) so we took a rest day. Our AirBnb had the Great British Bake Off on the TV so we sat around watching that and napping. We did take a nice walk around the city center (George Sq, the shopping street, etc) though dont worry! We also got some really delicious pad thai at Wagamama.

Day Five:

Our only full day in Glasgow! We headed over to the Kelvingrove part of town and had delicious donuts from Tantrum. After that we walked around the Kelvingrove Gallery and park (so many dogs!) That area seemed to have such a cool vibe, we wish we had more time to explore (and eat!)

Back near city center we visited the Lighthouse which is a free gallery focusing on architecture. It has a stunning view of the city and when we were there there was a man playing a piano at the viewing deck so we had a nice soundtrack to look at Glasgow with :)

We wrapped up our trip with a proper afternoon tea at the Willow Tea Rooms and then visited the Glasgow Cathedral. Dinner was fish and chips from the chippy on the first floor of our apartment lol! The next morning we woke up before the sun to collect our rental car and head out west, but more on that later.

Watch the trip here: