Sometimes you just want to escape the city without having to queue at security, check in bags and get ripped off by buying £5 burgers on the plane. An easy, cheap getaway perfect for even the most broke of Manchester’s students? Edinburgh. You could spend an entire week in the Scottish capital without seeing all it has to offer so if you’re heading up north for the weekend here’s a quick guide to what Auld Reekie has to offer.
Drop off your bags, grab your camera and head out onto the Royal Mile. The road connects the castle at the top to Holyrood Palace at the bottom and the entire Old Town and New Town have been labeled as World Heritage sites, remaining preserved in their Medieval and Georgian styles. Take a trip up to the castle for some amazing photo opportunities and to look down at the bustling Princes Street Gardens and the Grassmarket below. If you’re wanting a spooky experience however, as many who visit what is said to be one of the most haunted cities in Europe are, forget going inside the castle. The Edinburgh Vaults were rediscovered in the eighties and are now thought to be filled with the ghosts of Burke and Hare’s victims and those trapped during the Southbridge fire.
The underground passages hosted Most Haunted Live during 2006’s Halloween and this year between the 27th and 31st of October you can book midnight tours of the vaults – the ultimate way to spend this year’s All Hallows’ Eve. Similar creepy experiences can be found at The Edinburgh Dungeons and the old plague riddled Mary King’s Close. To relax after an evening of paranormal activity numerous student friendly bars and pubs can be found on Cockburn (yes, that’s really its name) Street, leading off the Royal Mile.
In search of culture? The city is home to five National Galleries and the Scottish National Gallery is situated on The Mound – conveniently next to Prince’s Street, home to the high street shops, if art isn’t really your thing. Museums can be found throughout the city with the National Museum of Scotland being free of entry charges and full of everything from Egyptian mummies to robots you can interact with.
The museum is located near George IV Bridge, near which you can find W. Armstrong and Sons vintage shop. If you are looking for top hats, bomber jackets or just something quirky to dress up in, look no further. If you don’t mind hopping on the bus, easy to do from the roads surrounding Prince’s Street, then visit two of Edinburgh’s most famous residents. Yang Guang and Tian Tian are the two giant pandas who now live at Edinburgh Zoo. A busy day might have left you craving some comfort food, head back to George IV Bridge and grad dinner for less than a tenner at The Elephant House where J. K. Rowling spent time when writing Harry Potter (they even have themed Hogwarts toilets to commemorate the event).
Stay – easyHotel rooms are available from £19 per night per person.
Get there – Coaches leaving Manchester Coach Station daily and cost £30 one way.