The plan to go to Edinburgh has been brewing for a while. One of our good friends that has grown up there has always been nudging us to go visit there and check out how beautiful Scotland really is.
And finally bonfire night this year finally fell on the weekend, which meant our plans could expand from our local festivals to a bit further, and Edinburgh seemed to be the ideal spot.
What is Bonfire Night
It stems from the gun powder plot. A plot which was by a group of roman catholic revolutionaries who felt that their faith was being persecuted as King James I, a protestant king had risen to power. They aimed to blow up the house of Lords, which housed the King and his ministers on the 5th of November 1605, for the state opening of parliament. There was a number of people involved, however, Guy Fawkes, a military man, who had been put in charge of the gunpowder. He had managed to smuggle 36 barrels of gunpowder under the palace ready for the explosion. This however didn’t happen as an anonymous letter giving the details of the plot and letting Lord Monteagle know not to enter the House of Lords that day. Guy Fawkes was captured attempting to light the fuse that day.
Today in the UK, there are large celebrations with large bonfires, fireworks and huge events celebrating the day.
But back to Edinburgh…
The Scottish are well versed in their firework shows, and know how to celebrate the festival well. With lots of shows across Edinburgh alone encompassing the whole weekend.
Where to go for fireworks
- Scottish Love in Action has a wonderful fireworks show called FIREWORK EXTRAVSNGANZA. This was the one we attended. It was wonderful, it was the first time we had been to Edinburgh, and the beautiful blend of scottish pipe music, firedancers and the best fireworks i have seen to date, was spectacular. It is run by a charity and as such the proceeds go to the Scottish in love foundation which sponser countries such as India, and the girls there to recieve education and food.
This was actually perfect for us, since they have shows running on the 3rd as well as the 5th of November and as we could not attend the the 5th November fireworks (our flight was earlier in the day), we thought this was the best. They offered VIP tickets as well standard tickets. VIP tickets were 10 more, but provided reserved seating in the stands and also food. And who can ask for more on your first day in Scotland, home cooked soup (which i easily managed to slurp down), burgers and tray bakes that were passed around the George Heriot playing field, to the sound of beautiful pipe music. Families were gathering, hustling and bustling, getting ready for what promised to be a good night.
WE finally got to our seats, and it wasn’t long before indian (yes i said Indian) dancers were dancing to a background of folk scottish music, with breathtaking fire acrobats dancing with skirts of flames putting the girl on fire from the hunger games to shame.
But the best act was definitely kept for last. At 7.30, the firework show began. The lights dimmed down and a spectacle of light blazzed the sky. I think we could safely say, this was the best bonfire night we had been to.
2. Houpeton House Fireworks
This show is booked out very early! The firework display begins at 6.30 and doesn’t end till 8! The prices range from £7-15, depending on the type of ticket you want.
3. Meadowhead stadium Fireworks
This stadium has previously hosted 2 commonwealth games, and as such the firework show at this arena are absolutely amazing. The attendees are often given themes and this year was no different, with this year being a sci-fi related bonanza.
It is aimed at young children specifically, encouraging them to become involved in the cities activites, including a tug of war event as well as the fireworks.
Where did we stay?
For us comfort has always been important. Any added luxury on top of that is always a bonus. For this reason we stayed at the Dalmahoy hotel and country club, and couldn’t recommend this place any more!
This little castle getaway, was only 10 minutes away from the airport, is well connected, with busses no. 28 and 27 coming just outside, which meant easy access to the centre of Edinburgh for £4 for the whole day (not to mention the lovely drive along the way). Not only this, but if you were staying for a few days longer, the hotel has a driving range, with acres of land for playing golf and tennis courts, which basically left us wishing we had more time to enjoy all of this. The staff are all wonderful and kind and the rooms immaculate! One of the best things is the breakfast. We have stayed in a number of hotels in the past, where the breakfast nearly always dissapoints! This wasn’t the case here, a full english…ehm..i mean scottish, was provided with haggis on the side if you were feeling adventurous (unfortunately we weren’t).
An important note to those that are looking for a place to stay, Edingburgh airport is not inside main Edinburgh, however, it is well connected. Uber runs in Edinburgh, though be aware of the airport surcharge when taking one from the airport.
What else is there to do in Edinurgh
Edinburgh is so beautiful its unreal. Just like Rome its made on 7 hills. The highest hill of the seven is Arthur’s seat. At its height of 251m, it is an extinct volcano which hasn’t erupted in over 300 million years. It has since eroded and glaciated to its current height.
There are so many legends that surround how Arthur’s seat got its name and how it was formed. They range from being the actual place that Camelot was founded, to one of my favourites; the story of the sleeping dragon.
The dragon was a ferocious beast, that terrorised the people of Scotland. It ate and drank everything in sight, stealing from the people and making them suffer. But the more the dragon ate, the fatter it got and the lazier it became, until one day it decided to take a nap on top of a nearby hill. However, once it went to sleep it never woke up, eventually turning into rocks, which are seen at the top of Arthur’s seat.
The idea of a dragon sat on top of the hill made the whole experience feel that extra bit magical.
The view from the top of Arthurs seat is amazing. Its not comparable and no photo can explain the satisfaction you feel as you gaze over the whole city. It is a must do, and was definitely my favourite part of the trip!!
And as volcanoes go, Edinburgh Castle itself has been built on another extinct volcano called castle rock which is more than 700 million years old! Its been here since the 12th century (or at least castle in this place has!), and used for so many different things including the royal residence and a prison. It is amazing to visit and the view from the top is breathtaking, and is worth a visit just to look even if from the outside.
But not only good things are associated with this castle! A few spooky Scottish tales have also originated from within the castle walls, one of them being the tale of the piper boy.
The tale of the ghost of the piper boy starts with the tunnels under ground which lead to hollyrood house, the royal household that stands at the end of the royal mile. When these were first discovered, there was a lot of curiosity about the tunnels itself. However it was only small enough for a young boy to fit in. So a small piper boy was sent down and instructed to play the bagpipes so they knew exactly where he was. When he was down there the noise suddenly stopped. Search parties were sent down there but nothing anywhere they looked. He had just vanished. Even to this day people have reportedly heard quiet bagpipes in the quiet of the night. SPOOKY!
The Royal Mile
The royal mile is the stretch of road that connects Edinburgh castle to the rest of the city. It is a really well known street. There is so much to do on this road if you have the time.
Just a few things include:
- Camera Obscura
- Whiski Rooms
- Witchery Experience
We wish we had time to visit some of these, however with time constraints we weren’t able to visit these areas. But the experiences are available, so please have a look!
Where we ate
- Kyloe Restaurant and Grill – Found on the main Princes Road, this was recommended to us by one the locals. It is an expensive restaurant serving really well cooked meat.
Our opinion : The place was amazing, great customer care. The meat was cooked beautifully, however even though it was well cooked, it wasn’t the most flavour filled food we had eaten and left us wanting more!
2. Pattiserie Maxime – after eating at Kyloe, we were left wanting something sweet. We went to this small pattisserie just off princes road.
Our opinion: AMAZING! We love our patisseries and this one didn’t disappoint! As small as it was, it was cozy and provided the best atmosphere.
What did we think of Edinburgh!?
Wish we had time to explore more! But what we saw was amazing. Edinburgh Definitely needs more than a weekend to visit ideally, but we managed to see quite a lot in one a half days.