So I briefly visited Scotland’s Capital, here are my thoughts…
My flight path took me over the Irish Sea from (Aldergrove) Belfast International (BFS) to Edinburgh Airport. At a cruising altitude of 11,000ft, the view was spectacular and worth paying for a window seat if not already allocated one, like I was.
Touching down on the runway and parking up to our arrivals gate, I noticed there was a Firefighter’s training station with a burnt out plane’s fuselage and an old jet on its side, of course I planted my face against the window because of the Aviation Geek inside of me. Scarred planes and firefighter’s training stations is not something I’ve seen before, however from my departing Airport – later in that week – at London Gatwick there is also an old McDonnell Douglas plane at their firefighter’s training station. In a way, it woke me up to the reality that no matter how technically advanced planes are, they do break.
On a much less serious note…
Edinburgh Airport itself is pretty average in size – bigger than BFS however – from my gate I had to walk through Departures lounge to get to my bags, which I found a little odd, however not unusual, parts of Stansted is like this. It was a pleasant walk through to get my bag, full of reflection and revelations. The walls were covered in Quotations and thought-provoking Poetry, it was probably the slowest I had ever walked through an airport (and I love airports), I just needed to read every word, each letter and wonder what they all meant.
Use http://www.skyscanner.co.uk to search and compare flights to the Scottish Capital
My first interaction with a Scottish person was when I asked “is baggage reclaim through here?” to a security officer, as there was a sign that said “Arrivals – No Return from this point” and I didn’t want to go through in case I had passed where I needed to be.
“It is aye.” He said in a thick Scottish tone. I smiled and thought Irish and Scottish people are so alike. “Cheers” I said and walked through to the baggage carousels.
Much to my disapproval, this trip away lacked planning. I pretty much booked flights, transport down to London and a Hotel, the rest was a rough sketch, (my sister didn’t even know until a few hours before that I was staying with her in London) And I don’t regret not planning.
Book your transport, your accommodation and your curiosity will sort the rest.
There are four ways you can get from Plane to City Centre:
Taxi, Car Hire, Bus (Airlink 100 and N22 Night bus) and Tram. The Tram is the option I opted for because Taxis are usually a small fortune, I don’t drive and the Bus didn’t offer as much of a scenic view as the tram. For £1-£2 more, with the tram you get a smooth, scenic and spacious journey, not to mention Free WiFi on board.
The tram is a recent development of travelling from Edinburgh Airport to the City Centre, so for me, I wanted to experience the new and something we don’t have back at home.
I alighted at St. Andrew Square, which is just around the corner from Waverley Station, Princes Mall and Waverley Bridge. St. Andrew Square tram stop is also opposite the city’s Bus station – on the same side as Bank of Scotland, not St Andrews Park and right beside Louis Vuitton – Going along with Google Maps’ directions will bring you through the Elder Street entrance which to me looked more confusing, so I was glad I found the Bus Station on my own.
Edinburgh is a city that is fairly easy to walk around and find your way about. Just pack some comfy shoes if you plan to venture far. If you are a traveller who likes tours, the is a man near Edinburgh Castle who offers free walking tours (don’t know how safe or accurate he would be though) alternatively, the safest bet is going on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour for £14 (Adults) or just get a Day Ticket (for use on Trams and Lothian Buses within the city – excludes Airport) for £3.50 and educating yourself.
I stayed in Jurys Inn, Jeffrey Street, just over the Waverley Bridge as it was one of the cheapest and looked easiest to get to. Once I Google Streetviewed my way to the Hotel it was very easy to get to and is in a great location, just opposite Waverley Station, a stones throw away from The Royal Mile and around the corner from Princes Street Gardens.
The Pros: The rooms are stunning, spotless, and beds are insanely comfortable and there are extra pillows provided.
In fact when I first walked into my room, I found myself saying “holy, f*ck, this place is incredible”.
If you book directly with Jurys Inn and under preferences you have the option to select to be on a high floor level – meaning better views of the city. Tea/Coffee, Freeview TV and WiFi are all included in the price. Like most places, Jurys allow you to keep your baggage in locked storage for a few hours after checking out – just keep your valuables with you at all times.
The Cons: The Bath is a little small and the body wash is attached in a way that you can’t directly squeeze it into the bath, so maybe bring your own. Although my room felt spotless, the bathroom didn’t have the same clean feeling to it, although maybe its because I’ve been a housekeeper before and I’ve seen the cleaning first hand. My bed kept moving on its wheels everytime I moved as it wasn’t attached to the floor panels correctly. The staff are a bit, well, not so friendly. My check-in felt rushed, one of the women was terrible at giving me directions and the whole atmosphere was a little bit ‘if you’re not well dressed or have a manicure paired with your Michael Kors Purse, you get looked down on.’
Never the less I didn’t let the cons of my accommodation put me off because it was the best night sleep I would have for the next four nights… However next time I’ll just stay in Ibis Styles by St Andrew’s Square because despite not having a booking, they were unbelievably friendly to me and let me come in from the cold, just to charge my phone and the manager even offered me a USB Charger. Also when I went to order food, the – good looking – receptionist said “you know you don’t have to order any food, you can just sit here and charge your phone, maybe order a drink?” How cute is that?! Luckily I was in need of dinner as I had hardly ate and they had a few options for Vegetarians. He even offered me free Coffee from the Guests’ machine.
That night they made me feel so blessed and offered me and my suitcase a safe space from the wind and darkness.
This experience has taught me that Jurys is for the fully independent grown ups with their leather clad briefcases just looking for an place that meets their lifestyle and Ibis Styles is for the curious go-getters with there shoe string tied rucksacks, just looking for comfort and friendship.