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Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

edinburgh, scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland (view from the Castle)

Where to Stay Castle Rock Hostel is a great accommodation for backpackers, especially if you are traveling alone, as this hostel is extremely social. When I stayed there it was St. Patrick’s Day and the hostel had planned a free pub crawl that included more than 5 bars (by bar 5 I was a little too drunk to continue) and tons of drink specials. There was also a pizza making night hosted. Moreover, there is a board in the kitchen/common area that they update daily to give travelers ideas for places to eat, things to do, and what bars/clubs to go to each night and when. Perfect location, as well, as it is near a ton of bars, clubs, the train station, and the castle. Expect to pay about from £15 for a 8-16 bed dorm room. Nightlife Sin is a great for those who love the real club scene, with tons of hiphop and techno music. Espionage, open seven nights a week, is on the same level, as you will find the more hardcore clubbers in these two venues.  Frankenstein’s is a great choice for those who like to dance but aren’t looking for a hardcore clubhead experience. With fun dance music from every decade, the bar is decorated with cobwebs and scary decorations that compliment the name of the bar. The Three Sisters was also a good choice for those looking to dance or chill at the dance without being bombarded with heavy beats and fist pumping. Things To Do Edinburgh Castle is a must, especially for those Braveheart fans out there (the movie even has plaques with the names of the men whom the main characters are based on, Sir William Wallace and Sir Robert the Bruce. There are a ton of shops along the cobblestone streets as well, allowing visitors to buy souvenirs and see some of the merchandise that Scotland is so well-known for, such as kilts, polos, and bagpipes. In Edinburgh, there are many tour options, including Mercat Ghost Tours. There are a range of tour options, and you can choose to learn about haunted places, heinous crimes of the past, explore the nature of ghosts, made your way through hidden chambers, and more. These interactive tours are entertaining, scary, and fun. Ticket prices vary based on tour package and date so check the website for prices. One great museum that I visited during my trip was the Museum of Edinburgh, located right on the Royal Mile (basically the main hub of Scottish society) . Here I was able to learn a lot about Scotland, past and present. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. It is open 10-5 Monday through Saturday (open on Sundays in August only). Take a day trip outside of the city over to Beecraigs County Park in Linlithgow, West Lothian and take part in a tree-tops obstacle course at Go Ape! Imagine project adventure set in a lush forest in Scotland where you will climb trees, balance yourself on unsteady objects as you walk precariously from one tree-top to another, and zipline back to the ground. This site is also home to the notorious Tarzan Swing (my favorite part of the course!), a thick rope that allows you to literally swing like Tarzan in the jungle into a giant net. There is also great hiking in this area so you can easily make a full day of it.
edinburgh, scotland

Pentland Hills

Other great hiking spots exist in the Scottish countryside. Think about taking a 4, 11, or 15 bus from the train station over to Pentland Hills. While the trails are flat (unless you veer off the main path) you will be able to take in some picturesque scenery and crisp air that you would not be able to in the city, such as rolling hills spotted with sheep and serene streams bordering the mountains. I went with my boyfriend at the time and it was a very romantic setting. We also saw parents walking their strollers and pet owners walking their dogs in this very relaxed atmosphere.
Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

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