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Newcastle to Edinburgh: Day Trip Review

Alya Omar Out and about

So you want to take a day-trip somewhere. Durham? Been there, done that on numerous occasions. York? Nah, don’t feel like it. Yet, you really want to get away for a bit and go somewhere cool. Well, why not visit another country?

Now I have to admit, Edinburgh is one of my favourite places for a getaway. It’s not that far either, being about 1 hour and 30 minute by train (there’s plenty of them passing through Newcastle), and you can get return tickets for around £20! It’s seriously an awesome city to visit on a nice, sunny day, and the route to Edinburgh itself is amazing when you get to see the sea (a little sight SEAing, if you will), which is one of the reasons I enjoy travelling there! Plus, you’ll have boasting rights to say you’ve visited another country,  if you catch my drift.

It is advisable that you stay more than a day if you plan on taking on a whole bunch of activities around Edinburgh (and even outside, like looking for Nessie… who may or may not be real). However, there still are plenty of things to see and do in a day, depending on what kind of activity you’re looking for, and how long you’re planning on staying in Edinburgh.

Some of the things you might consider doing include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Arthur’s Seat: An ancient volcano, which makes for a good walk and a good view of Edinburgh. Nothing like a nice reward after hiking, eh? It’s like a two-in-one! However, the important question is: Did Arthur really sit here aeons ago, though? We shall never know, but that’s why we have a plethora of mythological literature out there to feed our imagination!
  • Edinburgh Castle: Sadly, I’ve never been inside, despite visiting the site twice. Unbelievable, I know. Still, the exterior is a pretty cool site with a cool view; you can see Arthur’s seat from here and if you squint hard enough you’ll even be able to see the people on the top!
  • Camera Obscura Museum: Literally a 3 minute walk down from Edinburgh Castle. There’s lots of cool things to see and do, like going through disorientating vortex tunnel that makes you look like a fool from the outside for clinging on to dear life on the railings, and an actual camera obscura on the top floor (plus, MORE great views of the city! Like the world’s smallest roundabout which people actually go around.) Unfortunately, the building has no lifts, so please bear that in mind if you have any disabilities!
  • The Elephant House: You don’t have to go inside, but you’ll most like just nod your head in a “So, this is the place” way when you pass by the ‘birthplace’ of Harry Potter.
  • Edinburgh Zoo: I’ve never been there, but apparently the have giant pandas, and they’re the only one in the UK to have them. GIANT PANDAS. How awesome is that? I mean, have you ever seen one in real life? Me neither, which is why this is the perfect opportunity to do so (I highly doubt Kung-Fu Panda counts). I mean… I guess the penguins are cool too, and the lions. According to the website, ticket prices for students are £14.50 online and £16.50 walk-up, making them considerably cheaper than the London Zoo, in my opinion (I still think about the day I forked out all that money to go… on Boxing Day).
  • Princes Street: Right next to Edinburgh Waverly, this street ideal if you have some time to kill before catching your train home! Of course, you can find most of the shops back home in Newcastle, but you never know when you might need to buy something, like when  I suddenly remembered I needed new shoes because the only every day pair I was owned was worn-out beyond belief.

There are plenty of other places I haven’t mentioned that you could visit depending on your interests such as the Scottish National Gallery, the National Museum of Scotland and the Surgeon’s Hall Museum. As far as food is concerned, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants (and pubs, if you’re looking for a pint) located around the city that is sure to suit your fancies! If walking around the city (or Arthur’s Seat) itself has your feet sore and tired, Princes Street Gardens is a great spot to relax before heading towards Edinburgh Waverly to catch your train home.

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