Two days in Edinburgh will not be enough time to explore all the wonderful things the city has to offer. I knew I wanted to head to Scotland for the weekend while visiting London even if I only get a glimpse of Scotland.
One thing we wanted to try with kids is an overnight sleeper train. None of us have ever been, so it was an experience on our list. So when I learned of the Caledonia Sleeper train that goes from London to Edinburgh, it was settled. We booked the train for Friday night, with a Sunday return. Best of all, taking the train overnight saves time and two-night’s accommodation. Board the train, hop into your bunk, and wake up someplace magical.
With tickets books, I explored what I wanted to do in Edinburgh. All I knew for sure was I wanted to take the Edinburgh Ghost Bus and explore Edinburgh Castle. My grandmother, from Clan Stewart, always told us our we were descended from Queen Mary of Scots. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to see Edinburgh Castle. Then I binged watched Reign on Netflix to feed my obsession. I am not certain if I could trace my family all the way back to the Queen of Scots, but I wouldn’t argue with Grandma.
Once I looked for things to do with the kids in Edinburgh, I realized that two days would never be enough time. This was one of the hardest parts of the trip to choose just two activities. I am already dreaming of my return trip to Scotland and I haven’t even been there yet. There will be no time for the Edinburg Zoo with their 1pm Penguin parade, or the many free museums around the city. But there will be time for a castle, a Harry Potter tour, and a Ghostbus. The rest of our time I plan to eat in pubs (Edinburgh also has plenty of Gluten-free options so Mom can eat! I’m excited.) And roam the Royal Mile, and shop, and gawk at the archetecture.
So what are the plans?
Day One: Edinburgh Castle and The Royal Mile
Arrive via the sleeper train approximately 8am and make our way to Scottish Central Youth Hostel. We reserved two private rooms, each for three. This is the only place we wound up needing to split up into two rooms, but I am sure it will be fine for the one night.
After dropping our luggage and eating breakfast, we plan to head straight to Edinburgh Castle. We purchased a Five-day Scottish Heritage Pass that includes fast-track, untamed access to the castle. Even though this is the only attraction and day we will use our pass, it was worth the purchase. It cost us about 20 euros more than timed entry would have, but the ability to not schedule a time-slot and skip the line was worth the cost.
The rest of the day we plan to walk, explore, eat, shop and soak up Scotland. I considered the Edinburgh Royal Ticket, a fantastic value and would have included a 48-hour Hop On/Hop Off tour, and entrances to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and The Royal Britanica. But, with such a short time in Edinburgh I worried we wouldn’t make it to all three, and if I purchased the ticket, I’d want to use it. And then the kids would be miserable. If I had one additional day, this is the way I would go. I am bummed about not seeing Queen Mary’s chambers, but I will just need to go back again.
Day Two: Potter Trail and The Ghost Bus
Fun stuff happening on our second day starting with The Potter Trail FREE walking tail to explore places that inspired J. K. Rowling’s setting. Followed by the Edinburgh Ghost Bus.
The Ghost Bus offers a Family Deal, but, if you are arriving by rail you can take advantage of the 2 for 1 deal through National Rail. Print your vouchers before you go—it’s worth it as it is a great savings.
It will be a long busy day so the kids should be good and tired when we board our 11pm train back to London. And if they aren’t maybe the rocking and swaying of the train will lull them to sleep—hey, a mom can hope!
A few things we might wander into along The Royal Mile are the Scottish History Museum, The Museum of Childhood, and The Writer’s Museum—which have free entry.
It will be a busy two days in Edinburgh, but perhaps the part of the trip I am looking forward to the most.
I can’t wait to update you all on how goes!