Viking UK’s Head of Sales Neil Barclay is an Edinburgh native. Here he gives us his top tips for exploring this elegant Scottish city.
When you live somewhere for 27 years then leave, you leave behind everything you have taken for granted. Every time I return, I make a point of discovering something new, as well as revisiting haunts (both good and bad) from my childhood. I love to see the city with fresh eyes and feel like a tourist in my home town.
First things first, I get my bearings by heading to Edinburgh Castle for the most magnificent views across the city. It takes my breath away every time. The views from Carlton Hill are also spectacular.
I always head down the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile and pop in to the Writers Museum. This fascinating place celebrates the works of some of Edinburgh’s most renowned literary heroes, Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott.
To discover Edinburgh’s past, I love visiting Mary King’s Close, a maze of underground passages where you can hear stories of murders, mysteries and intrigue. Continuing down the Royal Mile you will reach the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh the Palace of Holyrood House, with the Scottish Parliament just beyond.
There’s a saying in Edinburgh “You’ll have had your tea” a phrase used regularly by my Auntie Cath, which is a presumption you have eaten so don’t come knocking on my door for your dinner. Auntie Cath’s neeps & tatties aside there are some great cafes, bars and restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes. From traditional cafes and live music bars along the Grassmarket, to the upmarket restaurants of George Street in the city centre, you can enjoy traditional Scottish dishes or a great choice of international cuisine.
My Top 10 Edinburgh Must-Dos
1: Hop on Hop off Bus Tour – great way to get around the City, see all the landmarks and as the name suggest hop on and hop off when you want to explore more
2: A brisk walk up Arthur’s Seat
3: Scottish National Gallery
4: Mary King’s Close
5: Afternoon Tea on the Royal Yacht Britannia
6: Take a Ghost Tour
7: The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
8: Discover Dean Village
9: Look around the Georgian Architecture in the New Town
10: Grab a Dram in the nearest Pub (maybe that should be number 1 on the list!)
You can explore Edinburgh with Viking on our Into the Midnight Sun ocean cruise.