Travel | Things to Do on a Day Trip to Edinburgh

I’m going to come out and say it; in the 10 years that Jordan and I have been dating, we have never been away on holiday where it’s just the two of us.

Sure we’ve had weekend breaks in our second-home, Sheffield, and we’ve headed to various festivals over the years, but we have never intentionally gone elsewhere in the country.

Last Tuesday evening, we decided to spontaneously go somewhere the next day to actually make use of the time we have together. I have never been to Scotland before, and Jordan has been once when he was very young. Rather than spending a fortune to travel down to London (which was another option we had thought about), we decided on Edinburgh… but what is there to do?

We went last Wednesday and came back again in the evening to try and cut down on costs as we will be heading to Iceland in February.  Being on a short time constraint wasn’t a problem, and here are just some of the things that we managed to fit into 7 and a half hours in Edinburgh!

National Museum of Scotland

This was the main reason I wanted to head to Edinburgh. I absolutely love natural history museums and I’d had a look online before we went and found that they had a huge T-Rex skeleton there – that’s pretty much what sold it for me.

Admission is free, but you can make a donation if you’d like!

With three floors full of exhibitions, there’s a lot to see and do. I think we ended up spending around 2 hours in there, which isn’t a huge amount… but we weren’t really staying at any one exhibit for too long. This wasn’t because they weren’t interesting, though.

As soon as we hit the first floor, I saw the most incredible thing I have ever seen – the skull of a sperm whale. I just had to take a picture, didn’t I?

National Museum of Scotland Sperm Whale Skull

There was also a plethora of replica cetaceans on the ceiling of the main nature room – so cool!

National Museum of Scotland Whales and Dolphins

The T-Rex was unfortunately a cast of the skeleton and not the real thing, but it was still incredibly impressive to see, and as a huge dinosaur fan, it was definitely a highlight of my day – those beasts were huge!

National Museum of Scotland Tyrannosaurus Rex Cast

Greyfriars Bobby

We’d both heard the story of Greyfriars Bobby and knew that we wanted to head to see the fountain and have a pint in the pub of the same name.

If you don’t know, Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye terrier who reportedly stayed at the graveside of his master for 14 years until he passed away himself in 1872. Bobby was said to be buried near his master in Greyfriars Kirkyard. There is a fountain which was erected in Bobby’s memory in 1873, and is situated to the south enterance to the Greayfriars Kirkyard.

As we were already in the area after being in the National Museum, we headed to the pub which is behind the fountain, and saw the infamous pooch sat proudly outside. He was surrounded by tourists and I didn’t manage to get a good picture -boo!

However, the pub seemed cosy enough, and the menu looked pretty tasty, even though we didn’t eat anything from there at this point. Definitely a tourist stop-off point for sure.

Edinburgh Castle

This is a bit of a weird one to mention as we didn’t actually go in the castle.

Before you start wondering why I mention this if we didn’t actually experience it, let me explain. We knew that we had to see the castle – it was on our “must see” list. However, once we had figured out where to go (follow the road down from Greyfriars and follow it round to the left – you wont miss it!) and managed to walk up to it, we realised that you had to pay over £16 to go in.

Edinburgh Castle

Now, we’re not stingy by any means, but we thought that it was a bit steep, especially as we didn’t really know what to expect inside. We have a castle in our hometown, so we decided to skip actually going in.

Instead, we stood and marvelled at the outside. The weather was good to us, and I managed to get some incredible pictures with my new camera of the view from the hill. The castle is built into rock, and it is actually a beautiful thing to see!

Edinburgh Castle

If you want to see the castle but not have to pay – I definitely recommend walking up there, anyway. The views that you get are spectacular – and you can go far enough in to see the canons poking out of the wall!


We didn’t do much more as we just wandered around and went in a few shops. If we had planned in advance rather than the day before, there would probably have been a lot more that we could have gone and seen – like the Camera Obscura attraction which we saw on the way down from the castle on the hill; that looked pretty cool.

Also, shoutout to the staff member on our train back from Edinburgh. Both myself and Jordan were so tired and we were both dozing off. The guy looking after first-class came into our carriage (unfortunately not first-class) and kept our spirits up with jokes and just general, cheery chat – best train ride home, ever!

Have you been to Edinburgh? Where did you go?




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