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Edinburgh Scotland in 3 days - Day 2

3 Days on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile

Day 2 – Edinburgh Castle (west end of the Royal Mile)

Don’t you agree … Day 1 just whetted your appetite?

Day 2 explores Edinburgh Castle, tastes some Scottish Whisky and takes a Double Dead Haunted tour.

Edinburgh Castle on Castle RockEdinburgh Castle – built atop Castle Rock as a formidable fortress to house royalty, it’s roots date back more than a millennia. Edinburgh Castle has enchanted modern visitors with epic names across history like Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Stone of Destiny all making up part of the story of Edinburgh Castle.  

From virtually anywhere in Edinburgh, Edinburgh castle commands an imposing position visible on the landscape of the city. Climbing the west end of the Royal Mile the Castle Gates, with the great fortified walls, control entrance to the Castle proper. Follow the winding cobbled pathway as it snakes its way higher to the grand Crown Square that stands surrounded by the Edinburgh Castle's historic Royal PalaceRoyal Palace (housing the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Sceptre, the Sword and the legendary Stone of Destiny), the Great Hall, and the Scottish National War Memorial. Along the cobbled pathway also sit the Argyle Battery, the One o’clock gun, the Museums, the Barracks and Dungeons, St. Margaret’s Chapel, Mons Meg and the Half Moon battery – all well worthy of time to explore these historic locations.

At Edinburgh Castle:

  • Plan to spend 4-6 hours (longer in high season) to explore all that’s available
  • visit Mons Meg on the upper level batteryAudio tours are available at a small fee, free guided tours run throughout the day and the Historic Scotland app is available with lots of information about the castle.
  • Take time to explore the many Museums and exhibits on site
  • Plan to be along the Argyle Battery for 1pm to experience the 1 o’clock gun’s blast.
  • Food and beverages are available at The Redcoat Café and the Tea Room, and don’t forget to visit the gift shop.
  • Consider a visit during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August. A truly unparalleled experience of Scottish culture and music.

The Scotch Whisky Experience – Scotland and Whisky are quintessential intertwined pairs and a visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience is a must for all level of aficianado’s to review the basics and have a multimedia tasting experience. Begin your tour with an intriguing sensory whisky barrel ride tour through the distilling a scotch sampling of the major regionsprocess guided by a virtual, yet dapper ghostly tour guide. Follow through a hi-res video describing in grand beauty the 5 Scotch Whisky regions, then a scratch and sniff enlightenment of the character of those regions. Before being led into a crazy impressive “library of scotch” history for your tastings, get some schooling in the steps to creating perfect scotch blends - an impressive experience that tempts your senses and educates you through the process. Finish the tour in the decadent Scotch Whisky Shop to pick up those favorite samples from around the Scottish regions. Slainte Mhathi (pronounced Slan-ja-va means “good health” or cheers)!

  • Plan to spend 1.5 - 2 hours for the tour and sample shopping at the Scotch Whisky Experience Shop (and it’s huge!)
  • Tours range from Silver, Platinum and Gold through to Master Class to appeal to all levels of enjoyment. Scotch library (click to dream - courtesy of the Scotch Whisky Experience)Purchase online to reserve your tour spot.
  • A must-see stop: the Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection houses over 3300 unopened bottles of Scotch in an impressive “library” collection (free as part of the tour) – with some bottles dating into the late 1890’s.
  • Plan a meal at their Amber Restaurant with their sumptuous food and the best stocked Whisky Bar – maybe the best in the world with over 450 to choose from!
  • The Scotch Whisky Experience is located directly beside the Edinburgh Castle.
  • Check out the reviews of the Scotch Whisky Experience on TripAdvisor

City of the Dead, Double Dead Haunted Tour – you’re in a city nigh over 1000 years old with a tumultuous history of battles, plagues and other unspeakable horrors. As the sun goes down and the underworld awakens, why not give yourself a chance to get your adrenaline flowing? [GoGirlfriend Tip: Time the tour so you can have the Scotch tasting before the tour – just for some added liquid courage!] This award-winning series of tours is crafted by historian and novelist J. A. Henderson and delivered skillfully by the guides who are both historians and entertainers.

courtesy City of the Dead toursLet me say that we partook the Double Dead Tour with a group of about 15 others deep into the underground vaults and the Covenanters Prison seeking to experience the MacKenzie Poltergeist and it’s other mysteries. Our guide spectacularly crafted her stories and, whether imagination or truly something happened, I’ll leave it to say that the entire group was both spooked and entertainingly engaged – very highly recommended!

City of the Dead Tour Options (£13 – £16 per person)

  • underground vault tours (courtesy visitscotland)Underground City of the Dead tour (about 90 minutes deep in the vaults)
  • Haunted Graveyard tour with the MacKenzie Poltergeist (about 90 minutes in the Covenanters Prison
  • Double Dead tour visiting both the Underground Vaults and the Covenanters Prison (just shy of 2 hours)
  • Haunted Edinburgh phone app (£1.29) – with map, audio guide and e-book of haunted Edinburgh stories
  • Check out their awesome reviews on TripAdvisor

Pretty sweet recipe - taking some ancient Edinburgh Castle history, blending in a little Scotch Whisky Experience tasting, and then seeing if you can scare yourself silly with a haunted Double Dead night-time tour. Spice it up with some Royal Mile pubs, a dinner stop and some shopping between your venues and your Day 2 will be enrichingly filled with 3 major activities accomplished.

On to Day 3 and the Palace of Holyroodhouse with a climb up to Arthur’s Seat …

Have you been to Scotland ? Enjoyed the moors and highlands, or the lush hillsides of the southern regions? We’d love to hear your stories … connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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