I recently traveled to Edinburgh, for a few days away in a new city. I can’t believe I’d never been to Scotland before! It’s a beautiful place to visit, and I’ll look forward to exploring more of it at some point!

Anyway, I traveled there by Virgin East Coast Trains from York, traveling first class. I have to say, traveling first class made the journey SO much more comfortable. If you’re going a long distance – upgrade your ticket! If your journey is delayed for any reason, it’s MUCH nicer to be cosied up in first class – it’s harder to grumble! Purchase early to catch a good deal. The staff were a delight and it was nice to watch the scenery go by from a comfy chair, with tea on tap and delicious meals.

Here are a few of my favorite spots from my short trip, well worth a visit!

Where to drink: Panda & Sons: Hidden Bar

Panda & Sons is a little gem nestled into an unassuming street, beneath a barber shop. It gives you the feeling of a prohibition-era Speakeasy, with details down to the barber shop itself, and the door hidden behind a false bookcase at the bottom of the stairs!

It’s a lovely chilled environment, with great music and comfy seats. The decoration is incredible and the staff are great fun. Not to mention – on arrival you get delicious popcorn and water for the table on arrival! If you get the chance to visit – check it out and indulge in their cocktails and the ambiance.

Somewhere to visit: Edinburgh Castle

edinburgh-castle-961107_1280

Now, of course, I can’t mention Edinburgh without mentioning the castle. You can see it high up on the hillside from the city center. It’s a striking building. If you have the chance, be sure to go on a tour of the castle. We didn’t have that chance but we visited at night and sat out front for a while admiring the castle whilst it was lit – and imagining what it’d be like to have a moat around your home!

A day out: Edinburgh Zoo

I’ve never really been to a Zoo before I went to Edinburgh and I have to say it was a sweet day out. It took a good four hours or so to explore the whole zoo, with plenty to see and plenty of information. I really appreciated that the keepers were so informative. Big shout out to the guy in the Rhino enclosure – he seemed amused at my amazement at the size of the rhino. I knew they’d be big but it was BIG! Of course, we also visited the pandas. We saw one of them, the male panda – a truly magnificent mammal! The keeper was incredibly well-informed and gave me an appreciation for the conservation and breeding schemes zoo’s contribute too. It was sad to see the information on so many endangered animals – but amazing to see the work that has been done to fix the problem! Overall, it’s a perfect day out for kids and animal lovers alike.

Somewhere to walk: Princes Street Gardens

Now, there are many places to take scenic walks in Edinburgh, but if you’re staying fairly central, Princes Street Gardens is a good shout – you also have a beautiful view of the castle! There’s sometimes events, stalls and other things on, so it’s worth a nosey through. I imagine it’s even better in summer!

Where in Scotland should I go next?

Sarah x