Travel Tales: Edinburgh

Each time I travel, I share what I saw, ate, and did on my particular trip no matter how near or far I went. For previous travel tales, click here.

After London and Ireland, our last stop was Edinburgh! As I nearly decided to study abroad in Edinburgh, I was SO excited to be able to finally visit Scotland’s capital city. (My decision to not study abroad in Edinburgh had nothing to do with the location but rather my language studies, which is why I wound up studying in China for a year.) Whisky, shortbread, and argyle: I couldn’t wait to begin exploring Scotland’s capital.

Scotland 1 Scotland 2 Scotland 3 Scotland 4 scotland 5 Scotland 6
Breakfast at Elephant House, where J. K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter | Edinburgh Castle | Lamb stovie | Part of the world’s largest whisky collection | Meeting Amy! | Scottish breakfast

First thing on the itinerary was to have breakfast at Elephant House, the cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter! She’s not the only literary figure to have spent time writing at Elephant House, but she was the only one I’m interested in, heh. The food there was good, but what impressed me was the view from the back of the cafe which overlooks Edinburgh Castle. Not hard to see where Rowling got the inspiration for Hogwarts from! After eating at the cafe, a trip to the castle was in order. What we hadn’t planned was picking the windiest day ever to visit the castle; it was so windy that they did a slow evacuation and the wind almost carried me and slammed me into the stone walls!

I didn’t really know much about Scottish food besides haggis, but I enjoyed the Scottish breakfast and lamb stovie I ate during my time in Edinburgh. The lamb stovie was especially good and perfect for that cold, windy, rainy day. I also did a whisky tour where I learned all about Scottish whiskies, got to try some, and meet my friend Amy! Unfortunately Amy and I didn’t get to hang out for very long but it was great to finally meet her in person.

Scotland 7 Scotland 8 Scotland 9 Scotland 10 Scotland 11 Scotland 12
Afternoon tea at the Palace of Holyroodhouse | Palace of Holyroodhouse | Ruins of Holyrood Abbey | Palace of Holyroodhouse Courtyard | My first Irn Bru | Princes Street

When we were in London, my mom and I completely forgot about getting a traditional afternoon tea. We remedied that with an afternoon tea at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is Queen Elizabeth’s official residence whenever she visits Scotland. After afternoon tea, we toured the palace and the ruins of the abbey. Part of the tour includes Mary, Queen of Scots’ chambers, which I was fascinated by as I LOVE the Tudor period. We wound down our last night in Edinburgh by wandering around Princes Street, where I visited Topshop, and trying our first ever Irn Bru. Apparently Irn Bru outsells Coca Cola in Scotland! I really liked it; it reminded me of a mixture of cream and orange soda. I wish I could obtain it in the States, but at least I got to try it in Scotland.


  1. says

    Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the whole world. I would LOVE to live there. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    if you ever go back, you should visit a pub called The Guildford Arms. They have live music on sometimes.

  2. says

    I’m going to use this as a jumping off point if I get to do my year abroad in Edinburgh! EEEE, it looks so exciting and wonderful, hopefully in ~9 months I’ll be there! I can’t get over how cute that picture of you and Amy is, ahhh.

  3. says

    So awesome that you got to be in the same cafe as JKR and get a feel for what it might have been like for her as she wrote the first book.

  4. says

    That first picture with the coffee cup is quite artsy. I’m almost expecting the coffee to be brewed with bits of an original Dali in the grounds.

  5. says

    I feel like the people in China may have been easier to understand than the ones in Scotland. For the life of me I can not make out the words in that accent. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to go though! Great photos. Looks beautiful!

    • says

      Haha, I love Scottish accents! Truth be told I couldn’t get enough of all the accents I encountered on my UK and Ireland adventures. Plus, the people are SO NICE. My taxi driver from the Edinburgh airport to my Airbnb gave me a whole long list of things to check out once I told him what I’d love to see and do.

  6. says

    Please tell me you went to the bathroom at Elephant & Castle! That was one of my favorite parts about the cafe (weird as it sounds, but it’s probably the one bathroom that has given me sappy feelings).

    I’m loving all your photos — it sounds like you had such a fun time in Scotland. And you got to meet Amy — ahh! :)

  7. says

    I’ve only been to Edinburgh once. It’s a beautiful city though and would love to go back again. The Edinburgh Fringe Festivsl looks worth a visit. What I liked was after walking down
    Hollyrood Road you emerged into beautiful countryside.

    I’ve never drank Irn Bru but I did eat a lot of the Irn Bru bars when I was younger. They were yummy! The Scottish breakfast is making me hungry! :)


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