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Travel Tuesdays With Quilt: A 36-Hour Virtual Visit to Edinburgh

After last week’s virtual stopover at Bali, and before that Benicàssim, we decided to move from sun-kissed beaches to the majestic mountains of Scotland this week for a whirlwind tour of its capital city — Edinburgh.

The seat of the Scottish government, complete with cobbled streets, neoclassical buildings, old school clock towers, and bakeries around every corner — it’s not without reason that Edinburgh is touted as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Castles, hills, nightlife, cultural fix… whatever it is you’re looking for, there’s a high chance you will find it here!

When we turned to our Culture AI to study how the Scottish capital is experienced on the ‘gram, we found three dominant themes in the posts: a celebration of everyday life and moments, food (everything from bakery products to gourmet dishes and even pizza!), and adventure (found through day hikes and city explorations).

The top emotions detected from the same posts were Solitude, Nostalgia, and Creativity while the most dominant colors were hues of grey, black, olive green, and brown. A majority of the images feature buildings, cloudy skies, bird’s eye views of the city from Arthur’s Seat, and other hilltops.

Drawing from travel blogs, YouTube videos, and Instagram posts, we curated a 36-hour itinerary for Edinburgh inspired by the New York Times’ ‘36 Hours’ column. With a heady mix of popular and lesser-known experiences, here’s how you can spend 36 hours in Edinburgh:

36 Hours in Edinburgh

DAY 1

10 AM: Oldest Fortified Castle
A majestic castle sitting on an extinct volcano — does this count as enough drama to lure you to visit Edinburgh Castle?

Learn about the secrets of yesteryears while taking in the breathtaking views of the city from Castle Hill. Walk down the same cobbled streets that soldiers, kings, queens, and pirates once walked on and transport yourself back in time.

The castle also features ancient artifacts and exhibitions on Scottish culture and history, and guns are fired at 1 PM daily.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdqWUnpoJCG/

12.00 PM: Gothic Lunch
Bask in the grandeur of Gothic decor at The Witchery. Enjoy the Secret Garden dining room that boasts a handpainted ceiling and exceptional cocktails. Don’t miss the legendary Angus Beef Steak.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVlOjNeNDz2/

2 PM: Scottish Parliament
Visiting a Parliament may not be on the agenda in most capital cities around the world, but in Edinburgh, it cannot be missed! An architectural marvel located in the Holyrood area, you can take a guided tour or explore it yourself. Listen to recordings of parliamentary debates, see the ongoing exhibitions, and pick up a Parliament-branded souvenir from the gift shop.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CfG6V8Xg5iJ/

4 PM: Festival Time
If you’re visiting Edinburgh this August (you must!), you can attend the Edinburgh International Festival taking place from 5th to 28th August this year. Whether you’re into art, literature, films, or science — there’s something for everyone here.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CSoFyslH6Ne/

8 PM: Scottish Supper
Head to the Whiski Rooms for the best haggis dishes in town! It’s just a few minutes from the tattoo — where you’ll be headed next. If you like the place, come back for a breakfast whiskey tasting the next morning!

Source: www.instagram.com/p/CZNCNpQohEF/?hl=en

9 PM: Military Tattoo
Catch the iconic Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo against the backdrop of the Edinburgh castle! The performance showcases the military bands and display artists and attracts an audience of over 220,000 people every year. This year’s theme is ‘Voices’ and the shows represent the collective power and connection of voice through music, song, spoken word, dance, and writing. Enjoy the sound of the Scottish pipes, drums, military jets, and fireworks — this is sure to be an epic evening!

Source: www.instagram.com/p/CgRi2T0qJuU/

DAY 2

8 AM: Arthur’s Seat
Famously described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”, Arthur’s seat is arguable one of Edinburgh’s most popular attractions after the castle. It is an ancient volcano located east of the city center at a height of 822 feet. — making it an ideal place to catch panoramic views of Edinburgh.

Interestingly, it features extensively in pop culture — from novels such as One Day, Frankenstein, The Underground City, Holiday House, Moonseed, Seventeen Coffins, and the Waverly novels to films like T2 Trainspotting and One Day (based on the book).

Source: www.instagram.com/p/CgPsd1Yo2fW/

12.30 PM: Gourmet Mash Bar
Grab lunch at Makars Gourmet Mash Bar located in Old Town. Rated a ‘Best of the Best’ Travellers’ Choice Restaurant in 2021 on TripAdvisor, the haggis, neeps, tatties, lamb shank, and wild boar sausages come highly recommended. Read the reviews for yourself!

Source: TripAdvisor

2 PM: Enter the World of Illusions
Step into the world of optical illusions at Camera Obscura. Undoubtedly one of the most fun and offbeat experiences in Edinburgh, make sure to check out the vortex tunnel, rooftop telescopes, and try out all the interactive objects on display!

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CeBKTXroKVN/

4 PM: Take a Whiskey Tour
Have you even visited Scotland if you haven’t had way too much Scottish whiskey? Take a Whiskey tour to learn about the whiskey-making process and what makes Scottish whiskey so unique while getting to toast a whole lot of brews!

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CeTqEzyOZpz/

6 PM: Hit the Scottish Bars
There are so many exceptional bars in Edinburgh that we’re wondering where to even start! Start the evening with a stop at Under the Stairs — distinct and quirky in its decor with mismatched furniture and intimate lighting. Follow this up with a visit to Lebowski’s Bar which is famous for its White Russian selection and burgers.

There’s so much more to do in Edinburgh that 36 hours are far from enough to even scratch the surface of this incredible Scottish capital. If you have more time on your hands, escape to the charming Dean Village to get a taste of the Scottish countryside, or make a day trip to St. Andrews. Until next Tuesday!

LOGISTICS

How to get there
Fly into Edinburgh International Airport which is 12 km from the city center or catch a train from the United Kingdom.

Places to stay
There are a variety of options to choose from in Edinburgh, ranging from hotels and BnBs to hostels, apartments, and camps. The more adventurous and social travelers can try Couchsurfing. Check out The Balmoral — a Rocco Forte Hotel for a surreal experience if you’re a luxury traveler. The Edinburgh Grand offers luxury service apartments, while Castle Rock hostel and CoDE Pod are good budget options.

When to go
June to August is the best time to visit Edinburgh because of the warm weather. However, this is also the busiest time but worth it as August has a rich line-up of festivals that make the city come alive.

Follow our page for more such travel itineraries. Write to anurag.banerjee@quilt.ai to learn about AI-powered market research.

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