Weekend in Edinburgh: Family Visit & Hiking Arthur's Seat

So sorry for the recent hiatus everyone -- I spent about a week locked up in my flat with a nasty case of strep throat only to be rescued, shortly after beginning to feel a bit better, by my parents who had planned a visit to Scotland from November 7th to the 10th. It was so lovely to see my family and to be able to show them around Scotland. Given that I served as their unofficial tour guide, I thought I'd write a bit about what I showed them and the very exciting hike we got to take. Bare with me during this long post, I have so much to fill you in on!

Our family weekend together began with a short afternoon in Glasgow. My parents were more interested in staying in Edinburgh for their visit and I was happy to abide because this meant that I would get to shack up in a luxurious hotel room and explore a city I haven't been back in since 2011. I did, however, want to at least show them around my university and a few of my favorite parts of Glasgow. We walked around the shops in city centre which was lovely because the city has begun hanging up the christmas lights. I also made a point to take them to the Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis, which I wrote about in an older post, because it is one of my favorite scenic views in Glasgow. 

After a short 1 hour train ride into Edinburgh, we began a weekend jam packed with touristy goodness. Given the few weeks I spent in Edinburgh when I studied abroad as an undergraduate, I had a rough plan of the things that were "must sees" in the city. On our first full day we walked the Royal Mile, explored the Edinburgh Castle, tasted whiskey at the Scottish Whiskey Experience, and explored a variety of stores and famous pubs. 

My parents and I outside the Edinburgh Castle, my dad browsing in one of the largest whiskey collections in the world at the Scottish Whiskey Experience, and a hilarious marketing tactic by an Edinburgh bar.  

My parents and I outside the Edinburgh Castle, my dad browsing in one of the largest whiskey collections in the world at the Scottish Whiskey Experience, and a hilarious marketing tactic by an Edinburgh bar.  

On our second day, I attempted to satisfy my parent's love of golf with a day trip to St. Andrews (a tour that I had done before and thoroughly enjoyed). This tour stopped in a few places along the way to St. Andrews including Queensferry for a photo opportunity with the famous Scottish bridges, a handful of fishing towns along the Fife Coast, and finally St. Andrews. We were lucky enough to be there on a "Greenskeeper Day," meaning the famous and exclusive greens of the Old Course were open for pedestrians to explore. We spent some time exploring the town and university as well as the beautiful cathedral ruins.

St. Andrews cathedral ruins, Queensferry bridges, my mom and I taking a coastal selfie by the Old Course in St. Andrews, and the fishing towns of Fife. 

St. Andrews cathedral ruins, Queensferry bridges, my mom and I taking a coastal selfie by the Old Course in St. Andrews, and the fishing towns of Fife. 

On our third day in the city, I convinced my parents to accompany me on a hike. Arthur's Seat is the highest peak of a small mountain range right in Edinburgh city. It is about an 800ft climb which allows for quite honestly one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. This was the one thing I didn't do during my first trip to Edinburgh, as I was less fit than I am today and worried about my physical ability to enjoy the hike, and regretted it ever since. 

A view from one of the lower vistas on Arthur's Seat.

A view from one of the lower vistas on Arthur's Seat.

The climb to the peak couldn't have taken more than an hour and views along the way were breath taking. It was a great workout too, with a lot of steps and steep slopes I got a great burn. Luckily, we had picked an absolutely gorgeous day to go and the typically rainy Scottish weather held out for some spectacular photos at the top. While Arthur's Seat is the highest point on the mountain range, there are several beautiful vistas along the hike up.

Top: The plaque at the highest most point of Arthur's Seat. Left to right: The view from Calton Hill, the National Monument, and people on top of Arthur's Seat.

Top: The plaque at the highest most point of Arthur's Seat. Left to right: The view from Calton Hill, the National Monument, and people on top of Arthur's Seat.

Following our descent, we ventured over to the much smaller Calton Hill to check out the Scottish observatory and the National Monument. We ended the visit with a lovely high tea service at the Balmoral Hotel and it was back to America for my parents and back to the student life in Glasgow for me. Such an enjoyable and relaxing weekend! Despite the workout, hiking Arthur's Seat should not be missed--I was so lucky to get a second chance to climb it!  

Work hard and radiate positive vibes!

Meela Dudley

Meela is the founder of health, fitness, and lifestyle blog Irieday.com.