Weather was no good when we woke up, it was raining non-stop. Luckily the rain was not very heavy. We know we need to drive for at least 3 hours before reaching our destination, Edinburgh – the capital for Scotland. When I think of Scotland I think of men wearing skirts.
We passed by a few small towns on the way to Edinburgh, each small town has their own characteristic and you can see from their buildings and houses.
The drive up through the green hills was so breathtakingly beautiful, of course we get to see more sheep and cows. No, I never get bored of that! We also encountered some farm animals or wildlife on the road, dropped dead – probably hit by the cars when passing through the road. So be extra careful and avoid hitting them if you see the wildlife crossing the road.
One thing you may want to take note is driving to Scotland can be a bit remote and fewer petrol stations so fill up your tank is always a good idea.
The view get prettier when the rain stopped!
Renting a car enable you to set your own pace and bring you through this magical scenery! Get ready some snacks and enjoy the view along the Scotland highlands.
No toll roads and bridges throughout our 3 hours drive to Scotland. There are simply too many jaw dropping “wow” sights to drive through Scotland’s landscape and this is the most beautiful moment along the way. Three words to describe my feeling – Free, Relax and Peaceful.
We stopped by a park and used the public toilets. There is a school next to the park. As it was Saturday, there is no students in the school compound.
Primary school in the countryside.
I walked over to the opposite of the school and take a look at the farm. Most of the livestock ran away from me, the uninvited guest.
We continued our pleasure highlands journey. In the countryside you will encounter a lot of aging drivers as countryside has more aging population. These aging drivers are really patience and always give way to us. Really nice people.
Even the farm houses look so pretty in the countryside of Scotland.
Finally reached Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Surprised to came across an old Scottish man wearing a skirt. The skirt wore by Scottish man is called a kilt, also part of the national dress of Scotland. I was happy to found one on the road. Not the performer or soldiers, just an ordinary old man walking on the streets.
This is a very busy city with many medieval buildings. Any big city would have more cars and a little bit more traffic so be mentally prepared when driving into big city. This city has a lot more tourists too compared to the other location we have been to earlier.
Where to park your car?
We wanted to visit Edinburgh Castle so we parked near the castle – NCP car park Edinburgh Castle Terrace. The location is good but quite expensive, GBP 15 for about 4 hours. Go for other cheaper car park if possible. Avoid this one.
Address : Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2EW, UK
We looked for something to eat for our lunch before visiting the Edinburgh Castle. Behind is the Edinburgh Castle built at the top of a hill, castle normally built at a very high place.
We had a quick Mexican lunch, ordered Burito filled with beans, rice, pork and some vegetable plus some Tortilla chips with salsa.
Let’s go, exploring Edinburgh Castle. Since it is located on top of the hill, we have to walk for about 15 mins to reach the top. Edinburgh Castle is very famous and considered an iconic landmark in Scotland! Can you believe it is built high on an impressive 700 million year old extinct volcano called Castle Rock, in the middle of what is now the city of Edinburgh.
When we arrived at the top where the entrance is, there were already many visitors waiting to get in the Castle. The Castle is carried out some work so many cranes and tractors can be seen and it made the picture quite ugly.
Not sure what they are building, looks like a spectator/ arena seats?
Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most-visited paid tourist attraction, with over 1.4 million visitors every year. In fact, over 70% of all visitors to Edinburgh also visit the castle. So you should not be alarmed by the number of visitors line up at the entrance. We queue for about 20 mins to get our tickets.
A young Scottish soldier at the entrance of the castle, performing some marching in front of the tourist.
One O’Clock Gun fire is a Time Signal
Many visitors time their visit to the Castle to see the firing of the One O’Clock Gun. Originally used to assist mariners on the Firth of Forth and to allow the townspeople of Edinburgh to adjust their clocks, the firing of the gun is retained now solely as a tourist attraction. We have missed the firing time and these soldiers were packing up.
The Castle has a magnificent views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Edinburgh has too many visitors so taking a picture with no other people blocking your way is not easy.
There are few important attractions in the castle, the Crown Square is one of them. The courtyard was built in the 15th century which is surrounded by the former Royal Apartments, the Great Hall, the Scottish National War Memorial and the tower containing the Crown Room.
Crown Square is also known as Palace Yard.
The square is formed by the Royal Palace to the east, the Great Hall to the south, the Queen Anne Building to the west, and the National War Memorial to the north.
The Great Hall
There are many canons line up at the wall, to defend Edinburgh Castle. These canons no longer in use, only for show.
The Scottish National War Memorial
This building was opened on 1927 as a memorial to the Scottish dead of the 1st World War also commemorates the men who fell in the Second World War.
There are many castle mysteries. One tale warns University of Edinburgh students not to pass through the castle gates or they will fail their final exams. Many waited until they graduated and step foot inside the castle.
Some said the castle is haunted as it house many prisoners of wars. How true? You need to find out yourself.
- Adult – GBP : 17.00
- Child (5 – 15 yrs) GBP : 10.20
Edinburgh Castle vs Cardiff Castle
If you asked me Cardiff Castle and Edinburgh Castle which do I prefer? I would prefer Cardiff Castle, yes the size of the Castle is smaller but it is a beautiful parkland with fairy tales towers. And most importantly, it is less crowded! Edinburgh Castle has too many visitors! But if you happen to visit Scotland, this is a must visit attraction.
After the castle visit, we explored a little around the city. But we have an agenda, we wanted to have some tea/coffee at a special coffee shop in Edinburgh city.
We walked in the busy street of Edinburgh, enjoying the old architectural buildings. As you can see, the street is full of tourists, some time making a bit hard to walk. I remembered when we were about to leave the city at around 5 pm, more crowded started to flood into the city as it was a Saturday night, a party night. Quite scary for country bumpkin like me.
Found Yoda in the busy street of Edinburgh, looks like he is lost! 🙂 Just some street performer.
National Library of Scotland
This cafe is famously known as being one of the places where JK Rowling would get her inspiration to write her Harry Potter stories. It was said she spent a whole afternoon writing in this small cafe.
Address : 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN, UK
The Cafe is so full, mainly tourists, serving good deserts and nice coffee and tea. The next door of the cafe is also very crowded, thanks to JK Rowling. If you want some dessert and coffee plus some inspiration, visit the Elephant Cafe 🙂
Some bikini cyclists passed by the city with loud sound system so it attracted a lot of attention. Their body were painted with some words, can’t really see what were written.
The city is full of old buildings so it is really interesting to just explore and enjoy the architecture. We don’t have anymore energy to explore any other museums so we just walked around the city freely.
One last glance of Edinburgh Castle before going to the car park. Walking on the cobble streets of Auld Reekie – the nickname of Edinburgh, meaning in Scots word as ‘smoke”. This is the place to get a feel for Auld Reekie (Old Smelly) but nowadays no more smelly smoke, a very nice and clean place.
Self Drive in UK : Edinburgh – capital of Scotland
- Self Drive in Scotland
- Edinburgh Castle Car Park
- Edinburgh Castle
- Edinburgh City
- The Elephant Cafe – JK Rowling
- Auld Reekie – nickname of Edinburgh
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- Complete UK Self Drive Guide – Itinerary Covering England, Wales & Scotland, the entire Great Britain!