We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Ish, a member of the Solo Travel Society. Ish is from Singapore, and submitted the following report about Edinburgh, Scotland. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English
Reasons to go: If all the capitals of the world had a beauty pageant, Edinburgh would probably win. Imagine a majestic castle on top of an extinct volcano, rising right out of the heart of the city. This was the first scene I laid eyes upon when I got off the bus from Glasgow, and I knew it was love at first sight.
Transport within the city is mostly done by bus or by car; it is easy to catch a sightseeing bus to take you around, or you can opt for a Day Pass with Lothian Buses.
Most of the action in Edinburgh happens in the Royal Mile – with Edinburgh Castle right at the top of the street to kick off your royal saunter. The castle grounds are massive; allow 1-2 hours to roam around the courtyards. Inspect the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny, pay your respects at the Scottish National War Memorial, and snag that killer aerial shot of Edinburgh's New Town.
Spend the rest of your day(s) fettering out the gems along the Royal Mile. They weren't kidding – it really felt like a mile – but the stretch of pubs, restaurants, nostalgia shops & beer gardens will keep you giddy and energized (don't you dare miss trying the haggis!). Street performers, a few armed with the ubiquitous bagpipes, compete for your adoration as well. At the other end of the Royal Mile, there lies the Holyrood Palace and the controversial Parliament Building, making for an interesting comparison of the old and the new. Even at night, the Royal Mile is alive; if you fancy a good scare, you can take one of the Late-Night Ghost Walks to peek at the Old Town’s haunted underground vaults.
Outside of the Royal Mile, take some time to visit the Edinburgh Zoo. Make sure to make it to the Penguin Parade (happening daily at 2 pm). As they tell it, it all began one day when someone forgot to close the door in the penguin sanctuary. A few curious penguins got out and went for a stroll, and the staff has kept that tradition ever since. It was a thrill to see an actual pack in action, roaming around and swinging their cute flippers behind them. If cuteness could kill, it would be a massacre by penguin.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)