After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we bought day tickets for Lothian’s trams and buses costing £4 each and after taking a look in the beautiful Jenner’s department store, we caught a bus along to Leith. There was a small market taking place so we glanced round the stalls and sampled some Taiwanese Oolong tea which, as well as tasting delicious, warmed us up nicely on this bitterly cold but bright morning. Nearby, we strolled along the quayside which is very attractive with its characterful old stone buildings, many of which are now cafes and restaurants.
We wandered alongside the Waters of Leith pathway to Newhaven, expecting that the path would keep close to the water. Strangely, the path veered inland for a large part of our morning walk so wasn’t as scenic as expected. On arrival in Newhaven we strolled round the harbour towards the white lighthouse at its entrance. It was low tide so the little boats were sitting on the muddy harbour floor rather than bobbing about in the water. Newhaven, although small, is pleasant beside the quay with a good selection of eateries offering sea views.
Returning to the city centre by bus, we paused for a coffee and a short rest at St. Andrew’s Square then looked round the Christmas market and ice rink for a short time. St. Andrew’s Square is the second stop on the tram line and at 3.00 pm there was already a large number of people waiting on the platform for the service towards the airport. We just managed to squeeze on board for the 10 minute journey to the home of Scottish Rugby Union, Murrayfield.
After we had booked our hotel accommodation for our pre Christmas weekend in Edinburgh, we noticed that one of the Autumn International rugby matches would be taking place during our stay so we managed to get a couple of tickets to experience our first ever live rugby match.
We arrived at the ground around 90 minutes before the 5.00 pm kick off but there was so much to see and do around the stadium that time flew by. Scottish pipers were entertaining the crowds on their bagpipes with a medley of tunes and over on the other side of the ground a band played on a temporary stage.
The ground holds just over 67,000 spectators and we had good views from our seats in the North Stand. Before the match started all the stadium lights were turned off and everyone was asked to turn their phone torches on which made the arena look beautiful. This was followed by a stunning firework display from the top of the stadium just before the teams came out onto the pitch.
Scotland were playing Argentina and when the national anthems were played it was no surprise that the stadium erupted to the sounds of Flower of Scotland, the unofficial Scottish national anthem. The first half was very stop and start, both teams making mistakes and at half time the score was level. The final 40 minutes proved much more exciting with much more action with Scotland scoring a winning penalty on the last kick of the ball to win 19:16 so almost everyone left the stadium feeling happy at the final score.
We were wrapped up warmly from the cold but when I got up to leave the stadium my feet felt frozen after sitting in one place for so long! There was no chance of returning to the city centre without a lengthy wait for a tram so we followed the crowds and walked back into town. Roads had been closed to traffic making it easier to walk back and it wasn’t too much later that we were warming up with chicken and chips in a cosy pub.
Our verdict on attending a Rugby Union international – an amazing experience, both the build up and the match itself, perfect for families too as all the spectators were impeccably behaved – perhaps we’ll try Twickenham next time, we’re definitely keen to return. Tickets were moderately priced, we had excellent views and paid just £20 for each ticket.