I arrived at 7.30am, and checked in to Budget backpackers. There is no shortage of hostels in Edinurgh, but do book ahead, as they all seem to be full.
I found Edinburgh to be overly touristy. 90% of the shops were selling souvenirs and everything seemed to be charging admission for some tacky tour. I went to some of the free attractions.
I hadn’t come all this way not to go, and it was worth seeing. went on the tour to extract maximum value. It’s worth doing, but don’t expect a big castle with towers, as that’s been destroyed through various wars.
There’s also the National War Memorial, which is very tasteful.
There’s still an active garrison here, though small. The Royal Scots and Dragoons have museums.
They also have the National Military Museum here. It’s quite small but included in the entry fee. I found the first section to be quite boring.
They have quite a good gallery of recruiting posters.
I found the gallery about soldier equipment to be much more interesting.
I left and headed back to the hostel. It was full with a German school group. They may keep a lid on them at home but they do rather take over a place abroad. Hmm – that seems familiar somehow. . .
The next day I went around trying to find something to do. Nothing opens until 10am except souvenir shops. At 10am I went to Gladstone’s Land, a medieval shop fitted out in periods from the 17th and 18th centuries. If you aren’t a national Trust member it is £6. The guides are very good but it only has 5 rooms. One has an original painted ceiling from the 17th century. They also have some travelling spice cases and baby walkers. The baby walkers were made to measure so that they wouldn’t fit through doorways. Safe! They also had little cloth helmets for the children to wear so they didn’t bump their heads on corners. Awww.
I headed to the bus station and caught the 12.30 to York (£35). On the way we stopped for an hour in Newcastle. It was long enough to pop in to the city centre. I saw the football palace (Newcastle United stadium) and a wall.
There’s also a shopping mall. They had some very nice calendars. Commando comic covers anyone? Official RAF calendar?