My holiday to Scotland this past week was a very special one. The best part about it was the fact that my family got to fly in all the way from the states to come and share it with my husband and I. Am I spoiled or what? Scotland has always held a special place in my heart due to the fact that my ancestors are Scottish, and I have learned about their homeland of Scotland my entire life. My husband’s side is also Scottish, so we knew that this trip up to Scotland was going to be quite a memorable one.
Together with my family, we took a five-hour train ride starting from London all the way up to the city of Edinburgh. It might have been faster to get there by catching a flight, but we wanted to experience the beauty of the countryside all the way up to Scotland. After arriving at Waverley Station in Edinburgh, we walked out to view one of the most enchanting cities I have ever seen. Scotland has always seemed like that fairytale place to me, but actually seeing it for myself was simply magical. It just didn’t seem real. The pictures on this post will not even do it justice. I have never before seen such a more stunning place in my entire life. The Edinburgh Castle on top of the hill with the surrounding greenery and city truly made me speechless. Stepping into Scotland for the first time, and knowing that my ancestors made this place their home was a moment that I will never forget.
That evening we got settled at our hotel and put on our heavy coats, (Scotland is freezing, even in August!) and went to do one of the coolest things you can ever do in Scotland.. The Military Tattoo! When I first heard about this “tattoo” I had NO idea what it even was. My parents had researched and booked tickets for it months in advance so that my entire family would be able to go. Every year in Edinburgh, for just the month of August, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo puts on an elaborate production at Edinburgh Castle to showcase military marching bands from across Scotland, and around the world. This means thousands of performers playing bagpipes and singing and dancing to represent their heritage. The show we saw also included motocross stunt riders, drummers, and marching bands from New Zealand, Mexico, and Mongolia (just to name a few). AND there was even a spectacular firework display to end the tattoo. This production was such an incredible event to witness! People come from all over the world come to see this, and it almost felt like we were at the opening ceremonies of the olympic games. This truly was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that I was lucky enough to view and be apart of.
On day 2, we rented a car and decided to spend the day driving through Scotland, and stop at different towns out in the countryside. I can’t tell you how nice it is to get off the beaten path and go exploring through a country. Having a car gave us the freedom to see what we wanted, and at our own pace. One of those things to see was the little Scottish town of Rutherglen. Rutherglen is special because it is the actual city where my ancestors are from. Thanks to some research from my dad, we were able to find the cemetery where a lot of my family members are buried. This was such a neat experience, and it was so fascinating to get in touch with my family history, and see where they lived. At that moment, I truly did feel Scottish!!
After Rutherglen, we drove to see the biggest city in Scotland which is Glasgow. This was such a cold but beautiful place! We stopped and walked around the main shopping square, and then had fantastic burgers at the restaurant Burger Meets Bun, which had some of the juiciest and most flavorful burgers we have ever had (my family all agreed). Unfortunately we didn’t get to stay in Glasgow as long as we would have liked, but we still had another major stop on our little road trip through Scotland…
Our last stop of the day had to have been my absolute favorite. We made our way from Glasgow to Stirling, Scotland. If you are a Braveheart junkie like my husband is, then you will know that Stirling is home to the epic battle of Stirling in which William Wallace and his small army of Scots defeated the large English forces. Could a city get much cooler than that?? Not only is Stirling known for their rich history, but the city is also known for its spectacular views and beautiful surrounding village. We arrived in Stirling just as the sun was starting to go down, which made for some killer photos. We explored around Stirling Castle, and then did a small hike up to the William Wallace Monument. Both of these landmarks are on top a hill which will give you the best views of the city. Stirling is the picture perfect Scottish town, and it’s definitely worth the short drive from Edinburgh to stop and make a visit.
To end our spectacular weekend in Scotland, we spent Day 3 wandering the lovely streets of Edinburgh. We found some awesome shopping in “new town” down Prince’s Street where we fell in love with the ultimate Scottish department store of Jenners. We also spent the afternoon exploring Edinburgh Castle that is a must thing to do when you visit Edinburgh! If you want to find some great souvenirs and Scottish trinkets then be sure to shop around “old town” for some really authentic finds. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the great shopping that Edinburgh had to offer. Another fun little surprise was to see “the birthplace of Harry Potter” at The Elephant House. This is the famous eatery where J.K. Rowling herself was inspired to write Harry Potter, so be sure to stop by see where the magic happened. We ended our day with one of the best meals of the trip at the Italian eatery Vittoria, where the pasta dishes and steaks here are to die for!
As you can tell, we rather enjoyed our time in Scotland and we are already wanting to go back! There is so much to do and see here but I have narrowed down a few places that you MUST do if you go to Edinburgh..
The Savvy Suitcase Top 3 Picks:
1. Stirling. The countryside, village, and views
2. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. A show you will never forget
3. Walking down Prince’s Street. The best shopping and views
Thank you for stopping by!
*Get ready for an Oxford & Paris post!