Our Operations Director Jacqui recently spent the weekend in Edinburgh for a spot of sightseeing to try out some of our most booked sightseeing attractions. Read how she got on…
I arrived into Edinburgh on Saturday morning and checked into the 4* Apex Grassmarket which is incredibly popular with our clients due to its central location and great facilities including a car park! The bedrooms recently underwent an upgrade and are bright and spacious.
It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky as I made my way down the Royal Mile and the Canongate to Holyrood Palace. The audio guide with its handy touchscreen pad helps you to explore the Palace’s close associations with some of Scotland’s most well-known historic figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and learn how today it is used by The Queen when carrying out official engagements in Scotland. I was also lucky enough to view the exhibition – A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The wedding dress was on display along with Prince Harry’s frockcoat uniform. The exhibition runs from 14th June to 6th October.
Our next stop was The Real Mary King’s Close on the High Street. Shrouded in myths and mysteries, the Close and its warren of streets, homes, and passageways offer a truly unique five star visitor experience. Our excellent tour guide helped us unlock the secrets of Edinburgh’s only preserved 17th century street, as we wandered through a labyrinth of Old Town alleyways, avoiding the cry of gardyloo, and discovered the stories of the people who lived, worked, and died here.
Food was next on the agenda with a short walk across the street to Burgers & Beers where we indulged in delicious chicken wings, halloumi fries and amazing burgers!
Fuelled up again, we walked a few steps to the Mercat Cross to meet up with our tour guides, Ana and Scott from Mercat Tours for our “Doomed, Dead and Buried” tour at 7.30pm. The tour took us to the haunted Blair Street Underground Vaults. As we descend into the darkness and pass through the various chambers with the only light coming from candles, our guides tell us about the history of the vaults from their original purpose as workshops to their eventual use as hideouts for the down and outs of the City. Once safely back out in the street we made our way to the Canongate graveyard stopping off for more tales along the way. The graveyard is the resting place of the city’s most famous figures: Adam Smith, the father of economics; David Rizzio, confidant of Mary Queen of Scots; and James Douglas, 3rd Marquess of Queensberry – the infamous cannibal of the Canongate.
After my smartwatch informed me I had done more than double my steps target for the day, it was time to call it a night! The following morning, awakened, refreshed and ready to go after a lovely breakfast in the Apex, I made my way to Camera Obscura right next to the Castle at Castehill. I had always thought this was an attraction for people with children but how wrong was I? I loved it!!! Camera Obscura is one of Edinburgh’s oldest visitor attractions opening back in 1853 it is an Aladdin’s cave filled with illusions, tricks, puzzles, hands-on experiences, unbelievable effects and the best rooftop views of the city. It is spread over 6 floors without a lift so perhaps not one for people with mobility issues.
All in all, I had a wonderful weekend in the capital City exploring why our clients enjoy visiting these places so much!