After travelling through Glasgow, we took a short bus ride to Edinburgh and arrived at St Andrews Station. Our hostel, Budget Backpackers, was perfectly located in the centre of the city so we didn’t mind a room with eight bunk beds.
On the first day, we didn’t really have any plans so we walked around the Royal Mile and found the beautiful Princess Street Garden near the Scott Monument. It is a gorgeous public park right in the middle of the city. You can just sit there for an entire day and watch the world go by.
The next day we visited Arthur’s Seat and St. Margaret’s Loch. It turns out that many locals go on regular hiking trips on Arthur’s Seat since it offers spectacular panoramic views of the city. We picked up our trail maps from the entrance and picked a route that required moderate hiking skills. For adventurous hikers there are a few challenging routes that include a number of step climbs as well.
As we climbed higher and higher on this grass covered dormant volcano that rises around 800 feet above the sea level, we were able to see some pretty amazing and unobstructed views of Edinburgh. We tried asking a few people why the Arthur’s Seat is called “Arthur’s seat”, but it turns out no one really knows where it got its name from. If we look up history books, we can see that people started documenting the highest of Edinburgh’s seven hills as “Arthur’s Seat” from as early as the fifteenth century.
On the way back, we stopped by St. Margaret’s Loch to feed some swans and geese. The panoramic view of the lake with a stunning backdrop of grass covered hills at St. Margaret’s Loch is the perfect relaxation spot for nature lovers. You may be surprised to know that this beautiful marshland is actually a man-made loch built in around 1850s to beautify the park. This gorgeous loch was also used as a boating pond for a while, but now it is home to quite a few ducks, gulls and swans.