From London – 5 hours by train or 7 hrs 50 minutes by car
(416 miles) Notice it is quicker to get there by train and once
you get there, you don’t need a car.
Edinburgh was one of our shortest stops in the UK, but what a stop. We can’t wait to go back. One thing we enjoyed was taking a free walking tour. Yes free, but at the end of the tour, you should be prepared to tip your guide. The tour will give you an excellent overview of the area, lots of history and fun facts. During the tour, we were lead through many interesting back alleyways that we would never have discovered on our own. The castle is a good half-day of exploring if you have the time.
There are two train stations in Edinburgh so be sure you know where you want to go before you head out. For us, since we mainly wanted to see the old town, we used the Edinburgh Waverley station. From Waverley to the castle is around a .6 mile walk, which will take about 15 minutes, if you are not too distracted by the many other things to see along the way.
Because we did not have a lot of time, our focus was on High Street. We did get a chance to see the historic St. Giles’ Cathedral and touch the nose of Greyfriars Bobby (dog statue), which is suppose to be good luck. Bobby guarded the grave of his owner for 14 years. If you are a Harry Potter fan, there are several places here that were an inspiration to J.K. Rowling writing her books. The town is hilly, so beware it may be a bit of a trek to get from here to there.
We agreed with our taxi driver, the number one thing people say to him is, “everyone wishes they had more time and plan on coming back.” So maybe plan to stay longer in the first place if you can, there is a lot to see and do.
Other places to go in Scotland
Glasgow is about an hour train ride from Edinburgh, so why not visit them both! Other places that are off the beaten path that we visited in Scotland included Loch Doon Castle and Culzean Castle. You will need a car to get to these destinations, but each is uniquely different, and we enjoyed seeing them.