This blog post will certainly be more about what NOT to do in Edinburgh. First, don't drag your sick kid through the city. Pushing Elijah to walk up and down steep hills, fight the crowds of the festivals, and sit through an agonizingly long lunch was definitely the wrong call. He kept saying he was fine, and we only had one day so he wanted to be a trooper and see everything. I conveniently believed him because Edinburgh was one of the cities I was most looking forward to, even though I saw signs of fatigue and fever. Unfortunately, one bad afternoon turned into four really horrible days for him in Dublin. However, I made myself a list and I was not going to let anything get in the way of checking those boxes!
Edinburgh DON'T list
Stay too far outside the city
The Balmoral Hotel is widely regarded as the best hotel in Scotland!
Miss the Scottish Whisky Tour
Even if you are not a fan of the strong stuff, this tour will at least give you an appreciation for why so many people love it!
Forget Scotland's literary history
The Scottish Enlightenment was a time for science, reason, and politics, but unlike similar movements in other parts of Europe, the Scots help on to their freedom, independence, and strong sense of community.
Miss a classic Afternoon Tea
You have so many choices for tea in Edinburgh, but I highly suggest Mimi's Bakehouse or Palm Court for a wonderful experience.
I am the first one ready for a culinary adventure, but everyone has their limits!
Forget a Rain Jacket
We had very pleasant weather while we were there despite a few light showers. We found that no matter the forecast it is always worth having one with you.
Edinburgh Do List
Go to Victoria Street and Grassmarket
These places may be on the top of every tourist list but there is a reason. We could have spent the whole day in the charming shops and fantastic pubs.
Eat at The Witchery
The name says it all, but besides being a beautiful destination it serves wonderful food!
I don't have any room for souvenirs but a beautiful wool sweater, tartan blazer, or cashmere scarf is 100% worth the extra space in your luggage.
Check out Some of the Free Attractions
There are so many to chose from! I suggest the National Gallery of Scotland, the Royal Botanical Gardens, St. Giles Cathedral, and Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Take a Day Trip to the Countryside
On a long day trip you can get to Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Scottish Highlands!
Saint Andrews is sacred ground to most golfers and my husband was beyond excited just to have a chance to see this legendary place!
A strength of character is one of the things that drew us all to Scotland. Historical triumphs, perseverance, and a fierce loyalty to family bonds are hallmarks of the Scottish culture that made us enamored with the country long before we arrived. It is ironic, that the things we went to Scotland to learn about were the same things that we ignored in our overwhelming desire to check Edinburgh off of our list. I found a statement on beauty that helped put into perspective the magnetism that I feel for Scotland and the misguided approach I took for my trip around the world. A.P.J Abdul Kalam says, "Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world". I found myself skipping righteousness of the heart, to find beauty of place which threw of harmony and balance in my family. There will always be a next time, and Scotland won't go anywhere. Our trip to Edinburgh was an early reminder to reset my priorities, focus on my family, and find beauty of character.