Edinburgh August 1-8, 2020 Part 1

Our first COVID-19 trip was only 6 hours away by train. I stalked train times which weren’t being released until only a couple weeks out and was able to find tickets from our local train station in Bury St Edmunds with a stop in Peterborough for super cheap (£100 for 2 adults, 2 children with a family rail card which costs £30). I got an amazing deal on the Travelodge Princes Street. It was less than £200 for a full week in a family room. The hotel is sort of in an alley but only because it’s right behind Princes Street. The location was a 2 minute walk to the train station and was super easy to catch buses and just walk around from. I’d definitely stay there and as a budget traveler it exceeded our needs.

Itinerary:

  • August 1- Train to Edinburgh, we left around 2:30 and got in around 8pm
  • August 2- Edinburgh Castle (pre-booked, free with English Heritage), Camera Obscura (pre-booked), 2 day bus tour
  • August 3- Royal Yacht Britannia (pre-booked), Holyrood Palace (pre-booked)
  • August 4- Rabbies Highland Tour (used credit from cancelled tour in April)
  • August 5- Zoo
  • August 6- Arthurs Seat, Royal Mile, Tattoo
  • August 7- Stirling Castle (pre-booked free with English Heritage), Dean Village
  • August 8- Morning train home

Obviously traveling with kids is finding the balance of activities and down time.

Day 1, August 1- Train ride and checking into the Travelodge

Day 2, August 2- Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura and 2 day Hop On/Off bus tour

I decided to look into the Hop On/Hop Off bus for the 2 day ticket knowing we were going to the Royal Yacht the next day and would make it easy to get to. It was also nice for the kids who sometimes start to complain if they have to walk too much. Sometimes when traveling you spend so much time going places you don’t get a lot of the history. I only paid £25 for 2 days for the 4 of us which seemed like a steal. We got the Grand 48 which included all 3 lines (and we used all three over the two days, I’d buy on arrival).

I pre-booked tickets for almost everything during this trip that I could. Edinburgh Castle we got in free with our English Heritage card that we’ve had since moving to England (50% off 1st year, and free for those who’ve had it more than one year). I really enjoyed Edinburgh Castle but could also tell that a lot of the areas were shut down since they were indoors and we couldn’t socially distance. After the castle we had some down time and went to Mary’s Milk Bar.

Probably one of my kids favorite things all week was Camera Obscura. I pre-booked us tickets and it was right before masks were required in museums so we went mask free. Probably a bad idea in hindsight but we didn’t get Covid and cases were still super low thankfully in Edinburgh. Definitely worth a visit! We then finished off the day with some Korean BBQ which I’m a total sucker for and seek out when we go to bigger cities.

Day 3, August 3- Royal Yacht Britannia, Holyrood Palace

We used the second day of our bus tour to get out to Royal Yacht Britannia. It’s a bit further out so the only way to get there is by bus, taxi/Uber or like we did with the tour. It worked out cheaper just using the tour I think though which was an added bonus. The Yacht was really nice and I’m glad we made the trek. A week in Edinburgh sounds like a ton of time but I really tried to add some stuff to make it more well rounded. The Royal Yacht tea room was really nice and on the water (plus it was Eat Out to Help Out so super cheap) and it was neat to see how the royals get around on holiday and tours. We then went to Holyrood Palace and I realized I don’t have any photos… but I swear we went! It was rainy so not the best and we kind of rushed through. The tickets are good for a year and we’re planning to go back in April, when we hopefully go back to Scotland for a big family trip.

Day 4, August 4- Rabbies Highland Tour

Back in April our Rabbies Tour got cancelled. We had planned a huge trip with my parents that didn’t happen and decided to use the credit when we could just in case things change again. The tour was really nice and we stopped in Glencoe, Fort Augustus and then up into the Highlands a bit more. It was a rainy and long day but we had a good time. It definitely sparked my want to do a lot more traveling in Scotland (hello full week in Inverness solo a month later). We opted not to do the boat tour (which was an extra cost) because we want to do it with family next year and the weather was crap too.

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