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Travel itinerary: One day in Edinburgh

Rick and I were so excited to finally, finally visit Scotland in 2023, seeing as we originally booked the trip in 2018 for a 2020 travel date!

We went to Scotland on our trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland with EF Go Ahead Tours and our Scotland portion was concentrated on Edinburgh. Since this was a multi-country trip, our time in each city was a bit limited and we essentially had a day and a half-ish in Edinburgh.

I do like these types of trips as we get just a taste of a place and can decide if we want to return (Edinburgh, hell yes) or if we’ve seen it and don’t really need to go back (Nice, France, was cool but not worth revisiting to us).

But, we already know we want to go back to Edinburgh and really want to see more of Scotland too. And without further ado, here’s what we did with our time in Edinburgh!


We took the LNER train from London to Edinburgh and arrived mid-afternoon. We got checked into our hotel and then we joined our tour director, Colin, on his guided walk of Edinburgh.

Colin lives in Edinburgh so it was great to get his perspective on what to do in the city and he gave us recommendations of pubs and restaurants to check out while we were in the city.

Calton Hill

Our guided walk ended with a hike up Calton Hill to take in the amazing view over the city–and to try some typical Scottish snacks and drinks.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing like sipping some Scotch whisky after walking up hill!

That night we had an included group dinner at Indigo Yard at 7:15 p.m. After dinner, Rick and I checked out our neighborhood and went to one of Colin’s recommendations, Pickles, the wine bar. It was a cute spot and we each had two glasses of red wine.

Luckily the bar was practically right around the corner from our hotel. We had to get back to get some sleep as we had a full day of exploring scheduled for the next day.

Full day in Edinburgh

The next day we had a free morning in the city as we opted not to do the excursion to Abbotsford House and Melrose Abbey (8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.). I do think the abbey would have been neat to see, but Rick and I also just enjoy wandering through cities and seeing what we see as we stroll.

Dean Village

We took the time and wandered over to Dean Village for the picturesque views. It was a lovely little spot and quite easy to get to.

We both noted how much we loved the city’s architecture and Old World style. It’s just interesting as I normally gravitate toward places like Venice with bright colors, but Edinburgh is beautiful in its own right.

I will admit I think a bit of it was feeling like we popped into the world of Harry Potter as the city feels magical and we were here for it. We really fell in love with Edinburgh and are already figuring how soon we can return!

Royal Mile

After checking out the charming Dean Village we then wandered up toward Edinburgh Castle, and then down the Royal Mile while popping into some souvenir shops along the way as I was not leaving Scotland without some shortbread biscuits!

I would have loved to have a bit more time to peruse the Royal Mile and maybe even do the Scotch Whisky Experience, but again, we were a bit limited on time and had other things we had to get to! At least we got to walk down the Royal Mile and take in the stunning views.


After walking along the Royal Mile, listening to the locals play the bagpipes and buying some Scottish souvenirs, we made our way to the end of the road to have lunch at The World’s End pub, where we dined on the traditional dish of haggis!

As soon as we had driven past The World’s End pub we knew we were going to be eating there at some point as I’m a huge Simon Pegg fan!

After lunch, we met back at our hotel to join our group for a guided tour of the city that ended at Edinburgh Castle. We had to be back at 2 p.m. as the bus was getting us at 2:15 p.m. for our tour of the city.

Edinburgh Castle

Our guided sightseeing tour was by bus and we drove around the city while learning about Edinburgh’s history before being dropped off at the Castle and walking around the grounds. We got some time to visit the castle, enjoy the views, and see the Crown Jewels.

I do wish we had had a bit more time to explore the grounds as I think we had an hour of free time there, but it goes by very quickly when waiting in line to see things or get into certain buildings.

After our tour of Edinburgh Castle we jumped back on our coach to go back to the hotel to change, get some more cash, and our chargers so we could head out for our ghost tour! The activity I was super excited about in Edinburgh as the city is supposed to be extremely haunted.

We didn’t have time for dinner as we were done at the castle around 4:30/5 and our ghost tour was at 6:30 p.m., but it was fine as we were sooooo full from our giant lunch.

Blair Street Vaults

Ghost tour of Edinburgh

So, we made our way back to the Royal Mile to meet up with our ghost tour guide and group.

On our ghost tour of Edinburgh we got to explore the Blair Street Vaults and Canongate Cemetery.

Some of the highlights from our Edinburgh ghost tour include:

  • The grave in a parking lot that’s used today
  • The story of half-hanged Maggie
  • The story of William Barton and his deal with the devil
  • The Blair Street Underground Vaults and the ghosts that reside there, including Jack, the cobbler, and Mr. Boots (AKA The Watcher)
  • A visit to Canongate graveyard
  • The story of Burke and Hare, the Edinburgh body snatchers and murderers

Greyfriars Kirkyard

After our great ghost tour we made our way to Greyfriars Kirkyard to recognize some names from Harry Potter. We weren’t ready to turn in yet so we walked back up Calton Hill to see the view over Edinburgh at night.

We ended our evening at Keller which was just around the corner from our hotel and got a charcuterie board and some beers. It was a cute pub and had a neat selection of brews and cocktails.

We truly cannot wait to get back to Edinburgh and see more of the city! How many days would you stay in Edinburgh? Sound off in the comments below!

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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