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Solo Traveling in Edinburgh

Hello,

It's been over 3 years since my last travel adventure and I'm so excited!! This will be the first time I'll be traveling alone, but only for the first stretch of my trip. A bit nervous, but more excited :-)

Neighborhoods -- I'll be in Edinburgh for about 4 full days and I'm looking into Airbnb for places to stay north of the city center. Just started looking into New Town area, Stockbridge... would this be too far/safe or me to walk/bus in the evenings? I'm a bit of a night owl and was wondering if I stayed out and for example, took one of the night time tours, if it would be safe for me to walk or bus back to Stockbridge (or other neighborhoods a bit further away from the city center? Being a female from a big city, I am assuming most cities will have safe and unsafe areas? I'd love to stay in an area not too touristy, so I can get a more local experience.

Itinerary -- I literally, just booked my tickets. Traveling end of April. Would love suggestions on cultural events I can check out. Maybe even day trips if not too far. My to-do list so far consist of... Edinburgh castle, Arthur's Seat, local farmer's markets, checking out different neighborhoods/local stores, whiskey tasting, local cuisine...

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Any suggestions, tips or feedback would be greatly appreciated :-)

Posted by
2534 posts

Yes, Edinburgh is a very safe city and Stockbridge an ideal area,I was actually born in Stockbridge and if I could afford to move there would move tomorrow. lots of nice cafes bars a restaurants. You can walk from the city centre but many buses in the area,Dean Village is nearby and a favourite area for a stroll along the water of Leith walkway (look it up),there is a small farmers market on a sunday in Stockbridge and lots of quirky independent shops.
There are no real bad areas to avoid,some areas are a bit rougher than others but certainly no no go areas.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you so much for your response and suggestions. I feel a bit more at ease and will definitely check out Dean Village and Leith walkway.

As I look at listings for places to stay, I noticed some listings have internet or Wifi access, but some don't. I plan to use Skype or a similar app to stay in touch with my family back home. Is it similar to the states where you can pretty much get free wifi access at any cafe?

Posted by
2534 posts

loads of free wifi about even the buses and tram have free wifi,most shopping mall have free wifi too.

Posted by
2534 posts

there is a farmers market every Saturday morning at Castle terrace ( above the car park), not as good as it used to be but the last time I was there was just before Christmas,some nice craft stalls there and sometime on a Saturday there is a market in the grassmarket area but it seems to me that it is only on occasionally

Posted by
5669 posts

Are you into mysteries? Ian Rankin's books are mostly based in Edinburgh and there are some walking tours that I am longing to take that you might find interesting.

Pam

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for the suggestion, Pam! I'm going to do more research on this writer. I've actually downloaded an Ian Rankin walking tour app that sounded interesting, even though I didn't know who he was :-)

Posted by
2534 posts

The Ian Rankin Rebus Novels are very interesting and worth looking out for places mentioned.In the early books he used fictional places and street names but after book 3 or 4 he started using real places and street names, he used to have a thing where for a fee (which went to charity) he would use your real name as a character in his books.

Posted by
569 posts

Arthur's seat is quite a hike! Calton Hill gives you a great view of the city and is near the royal mile. I got some of my best photos from here. I stayed at a B&B near Calton Hill and just walked into the center of town and back each day. I was also on my own and did not feel unsafe at all. Besides the usual sights to visit (the castle, Holyrood house, the royal mile) I really enjoyed a visit to the Victorian house. I also just wandered around the base of the castle and the park. I also did a day trip to Hadrian's wall and Rosslyn chapel. Dress for rain, I got soaked out at Hadrian's wall.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for your suggestions Anita! Good to hear from another solo traveler :-)

Authur's Seat is definitely on my list! How much time did it take you to hike up there, plus stopping to absorb the scenery? Trying to figure out if I should go for the sunrise or sunset :-)

I'll be staying near Broughton street area, so I will be in walking distance to most sites too. I'd really like to take one of those late night tour of the underground. Would love to hear/learn about the history. I haven't done extensive research on the tours yet, but I did come across one that starts at 8pm and is 2 hours. This is when I wish I had a buddy. I just need to figure out the best transportation back to where I'm staying afterwards. Maybe will cab it.

For your day trip to Hadrian's wall and Rosslyn chapel, did you just take public transportation or a day tour?

Posted by
569 posts

I ended up not doing Arthur's seat as it was going to take too long and I had many other places nearby I wanted to see. I seem to recall researching how to get there and realizing it was going to take up most of a day to do it, and the weather didn't always cooperate. It was a few years ago, though, so maybe there is an easy way to get there now. I remember standing on top of Calton hill and seeing people way off in the distance walking up to Arthur's seat and thinking how far away they are. If I get back I will do it. I did a day tour to Hadrian's wall and Rosslyn Chapel. I did a ghost and torture tour, and also a tour of Mary King's Close. Both take you into the underground areas of the city. I liked the ghost and torture tour better, but I think it was because the guide was so much better.

Posted by
5669 posts

Here's the Walk Highlands link for the walk up Arthur's Seat.

You do get great views from Calton Hill, but also you get marvelous views from the Castle.

I think it's generally safe to take the bus or even walk. And if you feel uncomfortable, catch a cab if it is really late.

If you like walks, think about walking the Leith Water walk. It's urban, but along the river and I quite liked it.

I went alone to Sandy Bells to hear some music sessions. I sat up at the bar and chatted with some locals and listened to the music.

I also went to Dynamic Earth. I love geology and I loved the exhibits that put the concepts and processes in a Scottish context instead of North American. It was great and it was packed with Scottish children. :)

Posted by
9 posts

Gosh, I have about a month and a half to prep myself for the hike! It does sound like it would take most of the day... especially, since I've haven't really worked out since my daughter was born over 3 years ago ;-)

Thanks for the additional information Anita and Pamela as well for the helpful links... I will definitely look into Sandy Bells and Dynamic Earth looks like a fun place. You both are making me feel more at ease for my solo trip :-)

On the food side... can anyone recommend a good place for good authentic Scottish cuisine? A good steak house? A must try place?

Posted by
2534 posts

Authur's seat will take 2 hours or so up and down if you start at the Commonwealth pool area, relatively easy walk just a bit steeper as it get to the top

Posted by
4 posts

I used to live in Stockbridge also. A great choice, a lovely little villagey feel and totally safe like most of Edinburgh.
One of the best things about Edinburgh is its compactness - its small enough to get to most places by walking. And you'll be safe at night too. You can walk back or take public transport - lots of buses run late and the tram also. If you're a night owl, you couldn't be in a better city. Lots of great places to eat and bars and clubs open very late.

Posted by
5669 posts

We had a very special dinner a few years ago at Stac Polly on Dublin Street. I see that they still get strong reviews.

I've had good sea food at the Mussel Inn in New Town also in Leith at The Shore. Also, Howies is well known for good affordable food. Unclegus may be able to comment on them.

But Edinburgh is packed with restaurants. So, you can also have food from almost any ethnicity. Sometimes it is good to pick by location. i had a great lunch one day in the Grassmarket sitting outside in the sunshine.

Pam

Posted by
237 posts

On our recent trip we stayed in the Cannonmills area and found we were able to walk to all the sights on the Royal Mile, as well as Calton Hill. The Royal Botanic Garden was just a few minutes away and was well worth a visit! We were there in September so most of the blooming had finished, but late April could be lovely. Our favorite spot to eat was Cross and Corner, a nice little gastropub near our B&B. They had some lovely specials that came with a bottle of wine. And if you like pulled pork, Oink (on the Royal Mile) is a good bet--very no frills but delicious! And you can get your sandwich with haggis if you're interested in local cuisine:-)

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you all!! Here's what I'm thinking for a general plan during my stay. I might've packed too much on some days, but just though I'd list out places I'd like to check out and then will go from there.

Friday/Day 1 - Late afternoon arrival:
Explore New Town neighborhood, dinner

Saturday/Day 2 -
Farmer's market near castle
Edinburgh castle
Royal Mile, Old Town, Grassmarket
maybe check out Whiskey Experience tour

Sunday/Day 3
Stockbridge Farmer's Market
Dean Village
Botanical Gardens/Inverleith Park

Monday/Day 4
Daytrip to Rosslyn Chapel or ?
Or stay in town and further explore neighborhoods.
Tour?

Tuesday/Day 5 (Last Day)
Arthur's Seat/Calton Hill
??

One mistake I did do was view videos on YouTube that covered folks experiencing poltergeists at some of the historical sites. I freaked myself out and I'm now contemplating on the night tours. If I wasn't traveling alone, I would go with a buddy... but now I don't know. Maybe a daytime tour of the historical sites instead, LOL!

Posted by
5669 posts

It sounds like a great itinerary. You've really thought it through. You'll come home and say, "when can I go back?" :)

I did the Vaults night tour from Mercat on my own and I was fine....

Pam

Posted by
2534 posts

sounds like a decent plan. I was in the Botanic gardens last week,place is looking lovely .
I also did the Whisky Experience Platinum tour but that costs £65, but I got it as an early birthday present.
Hope you enjoy your trip and the weather is good to you.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks Pam... the itinerary has been in my head for a while and that was the first time I wrote it all down... feels good to have a plan. ...and I will decide on the Vaults tour when I get there, LOL. I'm sure I'll want to come back and will plan on bringing the whole family. Been finding a lot of kid friendly things to do as well as festivals as I'm there. But for now, this mommy needs some 'me' time ;-).

Thanks Unclegus... I have my rain gear ready just in case. Happy early birthday! I hear Gin is a big thing there too, but I'm a whisky drinker, so I will stick with that :-).