It was 8.00 am when we roused from our slumbers and on opening the curtains we noticed it was raining so our first stop was to Wetherspoon’s on George Street for their traditional Scottish breakfast. Next, we wandered up to St. Andrew’s Square and spent a leisurely hour in the Virgin Lounge sipping cappuccinos and reading the newspapers.
Still raining, we decided to do some shopping, and conveniently our favourite store, John Lewis, was just around the corner so we browsed in there getting some inspiration for Christmas present ideas.
On leaving the store we found the rain had stopped so we walked along Princes Street and climbed the Playfair Steps at the side of the Scottish National Gallery and made our way to the old town. We looked over the castle walls and then wandered along the Royal Mile passing St. Giles Cathedral on our right and a little further down the hill we visited the Museum of Childhood. This museum is quite small but contains a large collection of toys and games from Victorian times to more recent days. I pointed out a metal spinning top similar to one I used to have and a ‘ride on dog’ on wheels almost identical to the one I played with many years ago. It was lovely reminiscing about my old toys and finding it amusing that toys such as the ones I used to play with are now museum pieces.
A few doors further on is the Museum of Edinburgh so we looked inside before visiting the modernist building of the Scottish Parliament. It’s free to enter the Parliament and after passing an airline type security check we took the lift to the viewing gallery of the Debating Chamber.
The Scottish MP’s were not in session but it was still interesting to view the chamber. Across the road stands the majestic Holyrood Palace . We had been inside before so today we just looked through the gates and viewed Arthur’s Seat from Holyrood Park, this is a dormant volcano rising 251 metres above the city.
We considered walking up the path to the summit but as it had been raining a great deal recently the path looked very muddy so we decided against it. Instead, we clambered to the top of Calton Hill, home to an old fort and the observatory. The wind was very strong on the hilltop but we didn’t mind as we had splendid views over to the Firth of Forth and its road bridge and looking the other way we could see the Scott Monument and Princes Street.
For dinner we feasted on a traditional favourite of battered fish, chips and mushy peas, delicious comfort food on a bitterly cold night. Later on we walked through the Christmas Market in the Princes Street gardens, such a beautiful setting for the ice rink and the many little wooden stalls selling festive fare and gifts. Eventually we returned to our hotel feeling tired after walking more than 10 miles around the city.