Stating the obvious – it’s been quite the rollercoaster over the last few months. I ended 2020 with an optimistic mindset, I thought travel would return and it’d be easy to move on from the pandemic we’d conquered. Naturally, we’re 9 months in and this is my first post of year – plus it’s a staycation so does that even count? We actually took this trip back in June but it’s taken me a while to feel like blogging.
Scotland ended up being a lot of fun and I’m glad Haydn and I packed the car along with some friends and headed even further north for a long weekend away. We drove from Leeds to Edinburgh, where we stayed for a couple of days before driving from there to Glasgow for a night.
On Friday we set off just after lunch and made the drive from Leeds to Edinburgh. It took about 4 hours which meant we didn’t need to stop, other than for a wild wee (due to Ryan) and a mini photoshoot at the Scottish border (due to me).
We booked a big room in Edinburgh to share amongst the four of us, and whilst I usually prefer somewhere with breakfast included, it was a great city-centre location with lots of cafés, restaurants and bars nearby. The hotel really was an ideal location with all the main sightseeing spots being within walking distance away.
On the first night, we didn’t plan to do much, we wandered around the city to take in the sights and then headed to a pub for some dinner. The weather was overcast but dry so we were able to explore without the added worry of rain.
For a full day in Edinburgh, we decided to do all the typical tourist things. Starting with a visit to Camera Obscura which is a museum of optical illusions. The walk there took us down some pretty streets with lots of gorgeous architecture.
The optical illusions varied across the many floors within the museum from ones you could simply look at and try to make sense of, to ones you could take part in and create yourself. The interactive ones were definitely our favourites.
At the top level of Camera Obscura, there is a 360° viewing deck which allows you to gaze out over the city. The weather was treating us to sunshine and blue skies so we were lucky enough to see quite a picturesque view.
After we came out of Camera Obscura we were just down the road from Edinburgh Castle. The scale of this castle is unbelievable! There was a display of cannonball firing at the time we arrived and whilst we couldn’t quite see that we were able to hear the roar throughout the city. The echo of the buildings and down through the streets was really impressive.
Naturally, the photo lover in me had to stop and take a picture of these red stairs which feature all over Instagram. I can’t remember what the name of this street is but I can almost guarantee you’ll find them on Instagram if you’re wanting to explore Edinburgh for yourself.
We couldn’t miss an opportunity to take in some great views so climbed Arthur’s Seat to look back across the beautiful city. The climb was surprisingly steep, we had trainers on but there were some people in flip flops and crocs!
Edinburgh is one of those places that people always say they love and I can see why. There are quirky shops, great views and plenty of hidden gems to explore across the city. Arthur’s Seat was relatively busy but is definitely worth doing because the view at the top was great, even if the wind did make it difficult to take a nice photo altogether.
After our adventures of the day, we went back to the room where we split up to either go shopping or to the gym… I choose shopping! Even though I have gotten into the gym a lot more this year I’m not committed enough to go whilst on holiday.
Finding somewhere for dinner was easy despite us not making a booking. Since everyone liked Italian we kept it simple and went for a lovely meal near the hotel. Afterwards, we wandered through the city, me and Ryan were wine drug and singing whilst Cam and Haydn followed behind – probably embarrassed. All part of the fun though.
For our final morning in Edinburgh, we found somewhere for breakfast before getting in the car and driving to Circus Lane. This is another location that can be seen all over social media and it’s clear why… It’s beautiful! We were able to drive down but it’s definitely easier to go on foot since there are a lot of pedestrians about and it’s quite a narrow street.
This was our last stop in Edinburgh, next up we’d found a stop not too far from the city which seemed to have a great walk. The boys swapped drivers to give each other a break and we drove to Devilla Forest.
The forest was lovely, the walk was much shorter than I thought it would be. It was about a 40-minute loop around the pond which was really scenic. I think the break from driving as we did hit a little bit of traffic was much appreciated. We were able to stretch our legs and go to the toilet before setting off again to Glasgow.
So… turns out we really hated Glasgow. We really struggled finding something to do or just anything of value to go and see. We did want to go to the transport museum on the last day but we couldn’t book it online and when we phoned they said we had to book online so that wasn’t an option. In the end, we did a little bit of shopping, played mini-golf and went to KFC for dinner. We got some snacks and drinks and went back to the hotel we had booked which was quite nice. The boys then went to the pub for a drink and I stayed back to drink wine and watch YouTube. The following morning we went to the botanical gardens which were fairly nice and killed time before we got in the car and headed home just before lunchtime. Even though we had wanted to spend the full day in Glasgow setting off earlier meant we got back to Leeds at a reasonable time.
Personally, I really enjoyed our little road trip. It’s the first time I’ve really gone anywhere with friends and that was really the part of the experience I enjoyed most. If I were to go back I think I’d go further north and find some of the gorgeous hiking spots. I definitely wouldn’t go back to Glasgow though!