Not only is this a great place to watch New Years fireworks but it’s great for a walk and to see another side of Edinburgh. Calton Hill is one of three dormant volcanic areas in Edinburgh. Pretty cool eh?You can see the monuments of Calton Hill from Princes Street, if you continue to the end of the shopping strip, you come to the entrance of the park so it is really accessible from the centre of Edinburgh. It’s a nice little park that’s not a very strenuous walk. There are a couple of observatories and monuments up on the hill for you to take a look at and get great pictures with but I think the best view is the look at Arthurs Seat. Look at all the tiny humans!The best thing for me is the views of Edinburgh. As you walk around there is a panoramic view of every bit of the city. You can see the gorgeous princes street with cars, trams and people milling around below. There is also the view of the Firth of Forth and of course Arthurs Seat.
The Royal Mile, the road that leads to Edinburgh castle, is in the middle of the oldest part of the city. This cobbled walk is full of history, medieval architecture and lots of things to do. There is something for everyone.
Landmarks Worth a Look
- Edinburgh Castle
- St Columba’s Free Church of Scotland
- Mercat Cross
- St Giles’ Cathedral
- Canongate Kirk
- Scottish Parliament Building
- Palace of Holyroodhouse
Fun Things To Do
- Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
- The Royal Mile Market
- The Scotch Whisky Experience
There is also lots of places to eat including The Elephant Cafe, aka the Jk Rowling Cafe and it’s Scotland so there are lots of pubs. There is also The Hive, a club that sells cheap drinks and has free in days so really there is so much to do!
Edinburgh Castle is the main attraction at the end of the mile. I recommend going in and experiencing the views and different sections of the grounds. As you can see it gets really really busy so go early! You can also catch a beautiful sunset from up here. The Royal Mile is somewhere I will always gravitate to it’s beautiful and has a great energy.
The Scott Monument is a key piece along Princes Street. The monument is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott a writer in the 1700s. After his death in 1832 a commission was held to design his memorial monument. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world and went way over budget but it is an amazing building that is definitely worth a visit. It’s blackened exterior from smoke damage is an eye catching feature but it’s height really gives it power and as this was my third trip to the city I had to go up. There are 287 spiral steps like with so many towers, it is a tight squeeze and it gets narrower as you get to the top.With the entrance in Princes Street gardens, admission for me was £5. I would recommend you say if you are coming up or down and listening out for other people because there is a lot of visitors. The views on the three platforms are panoramic and beautiful. All of the main attractions can be seen from each level so it’s the prefect place to take in the city. I love a good tower and this is one of my favourites. If you don’t have a crippling fear of heights I recommend!
Hogmanay is Scotlands way of celebrating New Years and they go all out. It’s a three day affair of festivities which are all amazing.
Edinburgh Castle is the focus of New Years Eve in the city. There is lots of events that go to over three days but on New Years Eve there are a couple of options, pay in or free. The pay in option is the Street Party around Princes Street Gardens and the Christmas Market. It costs £25 and has stages and food, it is perfect for a group. There is also the option to go to the Concert in the Gardens event, which is inside the street party. I didn’t go for these options because I’m cheap and it wasn’t really what I was interested in. I went for the free option! There are a number of places you can go to see the fireworks for free. I walked to Usher Hall, with a great view of Edinburgh Castle, it is a great location to see the fireworks. There is also Calton Hill, Arthurs Seat, where a lot of people go to see an amazing view of Edinburgh and the fireworks. The fireworks are really impressive, it’s six minutes of noise and colours and you can’t help but smile ear to ear! There is also a song that Scots sing after the fireworks to come together and celebrate. It’s really quite lovely. The fun doesn’t stop there! The morning after on the 1st of January, there is the Stoats Loony Dook parade and dip in the Forth for charity! It’s wonderful and you can go and watch these mad lads get jump in the water. Additionally the christmas market will still be on, so you can get trinkets, food, drinks, and go to the fair. It’s a great place to go for come comfort food and drinks after the night before. With Princes Street next to you and Calton Hill so close there is lots to do on a sleepy New Years Day. Edinburgh is a great city to spend the last day of a year and the start of a new one. I recommend going and see this beautiful and vibrant city at any time of year but New Years is really special.
I chose to stay in the Haymarket area because it was cheap, not going to lie, I wanted a hotel, with my own room and an en suite for not a lot of money. This hotel is right next to the train station, there is a tram stop and lots of taxi’s outside. Best part is the Airlink stops right outside the station so there are lots of transport options for you.The hotel itself is in three Victorian townhouses so it has a lovely feel of home to it. I chose a single room, it was clean, nicely sized, all be it a small room. With a table and flat screen tv, there really is everything you need to be comfortable. There are 4 sockets in the room with two USB outlets in the sockets. So as a solo traveller there is lots of charging possibilities. The bathroom is clean and bright. It had a multi-purpose shower gel/hand soap/shampoo on the wall of the shower, so bring your own. Outside the hotel there is a Tesco express a couple of doors down, there aren’t many great restaurants but there was a cafe opposite the hotel called Jacob’s Bakery, it has lots of fresh pastry and cakes with hot food served all day. I once again chose my favourite, eggs benedict. It was very tasty, the coffee was good. It could do with a little finessing but it was a good sized meal that set me up for the day and was about £10. If you are in need of a place to eat and then get on the Airlink back to the airport this is it. FYI, I stayed here during New Years so prices might vary. I do recommend this hotel if you can find a good price but be aware that if you book early enough and I do mean quite early you can get a good deal on some more central hotels. It’s a great location if you want all forms of transport and want to walk everywhere.
I have been to Edinburgh twice now and I plan on going again this year on a little solo trip. In 2010 I went just before christmas with a group of college friends and it was a great weekend.This was the year of the big freeze so there were delays and cancellations because of snow. I was frantically checking the weather and the airport websites to see how our flight was doing and for some strange turn of fate we got out with no problems at all. There is something so amazing about a white blanket of snow covering a city. We got into the city centre where we were staying and the smell of the brewery filled the air. This smell is quite strange if you are not used to it but it grows on you.
Edinburgh is a fantastic city, I have a lot of great memories of this place and I am excited to go back. It is a perfect weekend getaway spot. I really recommend going in winter, the christmas markets are great, the place is beautiful and festive and it will most likely snow, it is just magical.