30 Things You Can Strike Off Your Bucket List By Visiting Edinburgh (Part 2 of a 6 Part Series)

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

“I’ll gift you with feelings you didn’t know were there, that’s the pleasure of crossing paths with a mystic.” ~Nikki Rowe
Princes Street Gardens in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle

Welcome back (part 2) to the Edinburgh bucket list series. Today we tackle the next 5 in our list (numbers 25 - 21).

Enchanting Edinburgh: mysticism, tours, paranormal activity, the SCOTTISH BREAKFASTS! Read why we love this medieval city.

We have compiled our top 30 MUST SEE, DO, and EXPERIENCE in Edinburgh in a six part series.


25. Princes Street Gardens

On the main street that separates Old Town from New Town is a plush green landscape filled with flowers, walkways, monuments, take-aways, and lots of people.

Expect a concert, festival, street performers all in this area.

It's peaceful and serene.

But... it wasn't always this beautiful. Imagine living in the walled city of Edinburgh 300+ years ago amidst thousands of people. Their waste, as well as animal waste, and dead bodies flowed in to a "loch" at the exact place of these beautiful gardens you see now.

Back then, the stench was so putrid. Oh! The clincher? There was so much sewage and excrement over the years that on the top of the lake it crusted to a tough brown layer that you could literally walk on. Don't crack the surface, because the lovely aroma of sulfur and decay would literally knock you off your feet. #imwalkingonsunshine

Edinburgh was also known for their kind heart back in the day. If you were suspected of being a witch, the so-called-witch would be tortured and dunked in this cesspool. Oh Edinburgh - so sweet. If you were caught as a criminal, you would be thrown in the wasteland lake to drown. The friendliest award goes to: medieval Edinburgh!

It's hard to imagine the cruelty, the fear of the townspeople, the poverty during these dark years. The only thing we can assume about the greenest grass and all the flowers growing in this garden was the incredible fertilizer that was used!

Why We Give This A Huge Thumbs up:

  • So green

  • Nice walking paths

  • The views of the castle and Auld Reekie

  • The colorful flowers

  • Nice and serene from the bustling Prince’s Street, Old Town, and New Town

  • Easy cut-throughs to Old Town (just expect lots of climbing hills and steps)

Some Cons To Our Adventure:

  • The amount of homeless people

  • The litter along the sidewalks


24. Rosslyn Chapel

Just outside of Edinburgh, in the town of Roslin, is a 15th century beautiful chapel.

Its white-washed stone walls, intricately carved domed ceiling, and statues are breathtaking. If you have watched The Da Vinci Code, you will recognize this.

What is fascinating about Rosslyn Chapel is the pristine white stone of the chapel. It wasn’t always like this. For many years it stood in disrepair and practically ruins.

In 1571 the Chapel began its decline in to disrepair. The walls full of mold and the ground saturated, years of standing water seeping in to the stone crevices.

In 1736, some repairs began: the windows were glazed for the first time, the flagstones relaid and the roof repaired. Again, the chapel falls to ruin in the overgrown landscape.

Over 100 years later, Queen Victoria visits the Chapel and believes it should be preserved for the country. Restoration begins again in 1862 and took many years to restore the interiors of the chapel to the looks that it displays today.

The night we visited, we went on the wine and candlelit tour. Check out their website. This tour is (mostly) offered on the last Friday of the month.

Why We Give This A Huge Thumbs up:

  • Stunning

  • The candlelight tour

  • We could take photos inside the chapel

  • Coming at night is so worth it

Some Cons To Our Adventure:

  • It’s a little damp

  • Can’t take photos in the interior during day hours.. Only on this tour.


23. John Knox House

Located halfway between Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodpalace is a brown stone building on the corner, a stone's throw from the oldest house in Edinburgh and one of the water wells that provided "clean" water to the people of Edinburgh in medieval times.

John Knox, 1513-1572, known for his fiery sermons and wanting everyone to be able to read the Bible, was the Father of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

This museum shows the life and times of John Knox but there are some historians that claim John Knox never lived in this house.

This is an informative museum with period rooms, relics, passages from John Knox, and his thoughts about his nemesis, Mary Queen of Scots. Take your time here. Have fun dressing up in a cap and gown. Sit at the table with the feather pen for a fun photo op by the beveled glass window. In a small cubby, sit at John Knox's desk. Pretend that you are back in his time and smile for the camera!

Why We Give This A Huge Thumbs Up:

  • John Knox being an intricate part of Edinburgh's and Scotland's history

  • The intimate look at the reformer's life

  • The price is just right for the tour

  • Fun dressing up photo ops

Some Cons To Our Adventure:


22. The Standing Order

Built between the years of 1874-1875, this "new" building by Edinburgh's standards is located in what used to be the Union Bank of Scotland.

The visual aesthetics of the bar, stained glass, and columns were absolutely pleasing to the eye but that's not what kept us coming back every single morning (and sometimes for dinner).

Honestly, we preach about traveling simpler and saving money. What kept bringing us back morning after morning?: The hearty "stick to your ribs" breakfast cost less than 5.00 pounds.

A full Scottish breakfast which includes: Two fried eggs, bacon, two sausages, baked beans, three hash browns, mushrooms, two slices of toast, and roasted tomatoes. We liked to order the black pudding haggis for about 1.00 pound more. Then get coffee (specialty or regular) for another pound. So, for less than 10.00 pounds, we ate like queens!

When we arrived in Edinburgh, we hunted for the best Scottish breakfast. We had several, and they were fantastic, but nothing held a candle to this gem! When we woke every morning, we knew where our foggy brains would automatically take us: The Standing Order.

While here, take a look at all the interesting paintings and photographs.

Why We Give This A Thumbs Up:

  • The price of a full Scottish Breakfast

  • The refills of specialty coffee

  • The beauty of the building

Some Cons To Our Adventure:

  • Couldn't get the WiFi to work to try and order online

  • The confusion at the bar when it is busy

  • People cut line to try and order at busy times


21. Farmer's Markets

There are several farmer’s markets throughout Edinburgh, but the one that we shopped at was behind the castle on Castle Terrace, located in a parking lot.

Walk down Johnston Terrace and don't forget to gaze up at the fortress above you. When was the last time you went to a farmer's market in the shadows of a medieval castle?! Our thoughts exactly.

“The Edinburgh Farmers’ Market takes place on Castle Terrace under the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Listed by Lloyd Grossman as one of the World’s Best Farmers’ Markets and now in its 18th year, we have a huge variety of fresh local produce from over 35 specialist producers. The majority of stallholders grow or rear what they sell.” ~https://www.edinburghfarmersmarket.co.uk/

The day that we went here, it was snowing and rainy. It didn't scare away the people from coming. Field of Dreams mantra kept playing in our heads, "If you build it, they will come." The vendors' tents were all set up and it was busy. The fresh fish, the veggies, the ice cream, the cheese... you name it, it was a farmers market heaven.

One of the vendors that sticks in our memory: we began chatting it up with one of the local chaps working his wares. Come to find out, he was the clan chief. The clan had been in his family for about 1000 years.

We had rented an apartment for the week in Edinburgh, and this was a perfect stop. We, I mean Natalie's husband, cooked the savoriest salmon and to know that it was caught locally, made it even tastier.

Why We Give This A Huge Thumbs Up:

  • Supporting locally

  • Tasty venues

  • Lots to choose from

Some Cons To Our Adventure:

  • First come first serve. When it's gone, it's gone

  • Bring bags to carry your purchases

  • Be prepared for the weather


There ya have it. The list of 5 amazing things to experience in Edinburgh. Stay tuned for our next five coming up in a future blog. You don't want to miss it.

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