Top things to do in Edinburgh

When summer starts in the United Kingdom you've got to run with it, and July started wonderfully with scorching days and beautiful blue skies - so I of course took the opportunity to book a spontaneous trip to Scotland! I had only ever visited once before - to St Andrew's when I was about seventeen - and I had been interested in the idea of Edinburgh: people often have nice things to say about the place, and I was curious about its Harry Potter connotations.
I spent one day - from just after 10am to just before 9pm - exploring the city and made sure that I packed everything in. So if you're wondering what its like or whereabouts in the city you should visit, here's my tick-list!

Princes Garden
Amazingly, as soon as you step out of Edinburgh Waverly train station, you are pretty much at the gates of Edinburgh's Prices Garden. A winding path is paved between small green hills and towering trees, the perfect way to begin your Scottish adventure!

Scottish National Gallery
At the top of Princes Garden, up a tall flight of steps, you'll find the Scottish National Gallery. If you like amazing animal paintings, stunning rural landscapes and/or family portraits which include teeny tiny babies, then the Scottish National Gallery is 10/10 a top recommendation from me to you. This gallery contains an incredible array of phenomenal pieces and - with free entry - is unmissable.

Explore the University
Unless you're planning an undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD career at Edinburgh's University you may not be interested in exploring its campus. However, as someone who loves beautiful buildings and classic institutions I couldn't help but stop to admire Edinburgh's gorgeous School of Divinity. Located up the steps from the National Gallery, its a tourist hot-spot, especially on guided Harry Potter tours!

New Edinburgh
Whilst you will find the School of Divinity to the left of the Scottish National Gallery, you will find New Edinburgh to the right. Princes Street is famous for its new coating of modern shops - mirroring the kinds of streets one could find in Newcastle - but the best nooks include a small church and entry to more beautiful gardens.

Find a place to eat!
Without a doubt many tourists will scout across Edinburgh looking for a dark and traditional, fairy-light lit pub, but being a tourist magnet prices can be extortionate. It's thus sensible to find yourself a spot to eat and drink which won't unnecessarily break the bank, whilst being spacious, clean and perfect to sit down in. With fabulous company, during my trip I took a number of breaks to a popular cheap-and-cheerful restaurant chain for ice-smoothie breaks and hot French-fry snacking, just off Princes Street, near to Waverly station.

Old Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle
Up from the School of Divinity you will find an opening right upon the Royal Mile. To the left is a mile of quaint old nick-knack shops, selling fudge or offering Scottish wonders in an array of Edinburgh's museums, leading all the way to Scottish parliament and, beyond that, Scottish hillside. To the right, you will find the entrance to Edinburgh Castle (and a couple of guards taking photographs with tourists 😉)

Victoria Street
Some of my favourite moments from my Edinburgh trip occurred in Victoria Street! Famous for being the inspiration behind J. K. Rowling's Diagon Alley in Harry Potter this candy-coloured jumble of shops is what a Harry Potter fan's dreams are made of.
Beginning with 'The Boy Wizard' you will see a fabulous selection of wands, mugs and even a Nimbus 2000 to purchase!
And just across the street you'll see 'Museum Context', housing more purchasables (and a Basilisk)!
Enjoy your Scottish adventure!

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