Towards the end of July, my flatmate and I realised we hadn’t actually seen each other in quite a while and were well overdue a good weekend together. When trying to decide what to do, naturally the first answer was to nip to Disneyland. However, when we realised this would be a bit tricky with the time we had and our budget, we settled on a super cheap day trip to Edinburgh. I have been to Edinburgh a couple of times already, but it’s not difficult at all to fall in love with such a beautiful city so I had no problems about going back at all.
We boarded the 7:44 train from Newcastle to arrive into Edinburgh at roughly 9:20, just in time for a quick cuppa and a morning stroll up Arthur’s Seat. Given how many times I had been to Edinburgh previously, I had never been to either Arthur’s Seat or even Holyrood before, usually focussing on Princes Street, the Royal Mile and the zoo.
The walk to the top of Arthur’s Seat took us roughly an hour, discovering AFTER we had got to the top that there was actually a shortcut that meant you could cut through the valley between the peaks, rather than going over both. The walk was completely worth it once we reached the top, however, as we had a complete view over the entire city which was absolutely breath taking. The other breath taking part of the experience was just how severe the wind was at the top. Trying to get a photo of us both with the monument resulted in us both clinging on for dear life and some incredibly blurry selfies. After a little while of being refreshed by the wind, we headed back down, sliding half of the way and headed off for a bite to eat.
Before coming, it had been recommended to us that we stop off for lunch at a hog roast called ‘Oink’, which was absolutely amazing! £4 for a regular sized pulled pork bun, with a choice of extra toppings (I particularly recommend the honey mustard with it!). What was great about this hog roast was that they offered a range of sizes for littler tummies to extra hungry mouths, unlike most.
After suitably filling ourselves up on pork sandwiches and Irn Bru, we wandered in the general direction of the National Museum of Scotland, stopping first in the tiny museum of Edinburgh to have a quick peek around. The National Museum of Scotland, however, far exceeded both of our expectations! The last museums we had been to together, had been the national museums of Bulgaria, so our expectations had been left pretty low. However, this was absolutely phenomenal! It was absolutely packed full of exhibits to interest everyone, with lots for kids (and adults really) of any age to do and experience. Everything from music, to animals, to space to fashion was on display, catering for all needs and just for a small donation for entry! Needless to say, we really loved the museum and it was definitely much better than the previous museums we had been to.
Another recommendation we were given was for Mary’s Milk Bar on Grass market. On our way to find said Milk Bar, we stumbled across a tiny little nature reserve which was part of an art exhibition and demonstrations later in the week. Unfortunately, we were going to miss the demonstrations, but the garden itself was beautiful and quaint, tucked nicely away into the side of the city. As we reached the milk bar, the heavens opened and it started pouring it down, as we reached the end of an incredibly long, outdoor queue. This didn’t put us off mind – after all, what’s a trip to Scotland with a good old rainstorm. Personally, I’m just glad that it waited until we were off Arthur’s Seat. The milk bar itself provided some weird and wonderful flavours for us to try. I stuck with a good old salted caramel milkshake, whilst Alison chose a whiskey and nectarine ice cream, both of which were simply divine!
This then left us with around an hour until we had to start making our way to the station, so we decided to kill some time with a little bit of shopping and hiding in a café away from the good old Scottish rain before we headed home.
The only real cost to this trip that couldn’t be avoided was the train, which ended up costing roughly £17 each for the return, using our 16-25 rail cards. Without the rail cards however, it was not much more expensive, so this is an easily affordable expense. A lot of the places we went to see were also free or relatively cheap. Arthur’s Seat was obviously free, so it creates a good start to a budget day, with a delightful morning stroll. Whilst we could have had cheaper food, this also didn’t add much to the cost, with us both spending roughly £15 on food throughout the day. The national museum was excellent value for money, only costing a suggested donation of £5, for a museum you could easily spend hours in, especially with any little ones! Aside from that, everything was just additional expenses on souvenirs/general shopping, that can easily be avoided if you’re trying to stick to a strict budget.