Edinburgh Castle, so much to see, so little time!


St. Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh Castle
Day 2 Edinburgh, July 24
Lovely, lovely day. The weather is perfect and we’re in Scotland! Our first full day. There’s a nice little breakfast place next door to the hotel good for a cappuccino and scone. From there it’s an easy 10 minute walk to Edinburgh castle. It’s about 10am and there’s bustle on the Royal Mile as the street vendors open readying for the onslaught of tourists. I keep trying to picture the Edinburgh of 300 years ago. Much of the architecture remains, St Giles Cathedral dates back to the 1400s, it would be considered old to the people in the 1700s.

The narrow, dark “close” we take to get from our hotel on Cockburn Street to the Royal Mile is stark with very little sign of modern life, high stone walls and worn stone steps. I’m sure it’s a bit cleaner than it was in the 1700s though.

Our walk to the castle is about 10 minutes, we have tickets from the hop on hop off package, so no lines. Audio guide in hand we walk into the past – if I can erase the crowds (taking pictures with iPhones, video cameras, foot long lens, and selfie poles).

View of Edinburgh from the castle

Dog cemetery!

The castle is well preserved, well organized and the audio guide easy to follow. St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building on Castle Hill and actually the oldest in Edinburgh. It was constructed by King David I, let fall into ruin and restored in 1990. It’s very small and simple without much adornment, but their are lovely stained glass windows and simple but pretty alter.

Coming out of the chapel we heard a bag pipe playing. There was a young boy tucked into a corner of the wall expertly playing with his father beside him. The pouch for the pipes was on the ground beside him set back from the path. I thought he should be further out and have the pouch more available for people to put money. A small boy walked up and put a coin in the pouch. A short time later I talked to the father who explain that he wasn’t there to play for money, he was warming up to play at his cousin’s wedding in the chapel! He was 12 years old and had been playing for 4 years.

We thoroughly enjoyed touring the castle, the crowds were manageable and the weather is brilliant.

We’re finding we’re running out of time as usual and make the decision to go to the Museum of Scotland first and hope to make it to Holyrood before it closes at 4:30. We leave Edinburgh first thing tomorrow so we won’t have time. Must return to Edinburgh someday!

The Museum was very interesting and that will be the next post. We did get to Holyrood and it was closed. Not enough time in Edinburgh!


I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.


  • Bev July 28, 2015 at 7:03 am Reply

    Enjoying reading it all, Kath and great pictures! Thanks for taking the time. Feels like we’re right there with you as always. The stories and intrigues that must emanate from Holyrood Castle. Fascinating. As well as Mary, Queen of Scots’ ghost, I wonder if you might be passing Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie on her travels in the streets and closes of Edinburgh??

    • Kathryn Schlitzer August 7, 2015 at 8:46 am Reply

      Thanks Bev. You’re right. Being there made me want to know more about the fascinating history of Scotland. Such intrigue and brutality, however it was fascinating to hear about all the inventions and ideas that came from the Scots. Something we don’t hear about often enough.

  • Karen August 6, 2015 at 9:00 am Reply

    Your blog makes me want to travel to Scotland even more than before. Especially with the sun shining!

    • Kathryn Schlitzer August 7, 2015 at 8:34 am Reply

      Thanks Karen. Strangely I didn’t mind the clouds and frequent light rain. The hard rain and wind on Staffa was the exception, but everywhere else the weather was refreshing and made the large amount of walking we did quite pleasant. Back in Massachusetts they were having really hot weather so we were happy to miss it. I hope you’re having a good summer. I saw some great pictures of the gang at the cottage. So nice that you can all get together in such an ideal place.

  • Betsy LaPlaca August 8, 2015 at 9:23 am Reply

    Love the pictures….looks so charming….enjoying catching up with your trip!

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