Eat & Explore Scotland: Haggis, Royal Mile & Edinburgh Castle

I’m back in Boston with sore legs and a few extra pounds, after a week exploring London and Edinburgh. Scotland was our second stop, but I wanted to share some photos with the trip fresh on my mind.
Post 1 - Edinburgh train
Instead of taking the ~1 hour flight from London to Edinburgh, we opted for the 5 hour “scenic” route via East Coast trains. The route was very pastoral with roaming sheep and cows, plus a few beautiful cathedrals and oceanfront views sprinkled along the way. The 60GBP tickets came with wi-fi and unlimited food & drink – by the time we diddled on our computers, chowed down lunch (chicken & leek pot pies were surprisingly piping hot with a flaky crust), and had a few glasses of cider and wine, we were already pulling into the final station.
Post 1 - royal mile Edinburgh

J.Crew blazer (30% off w/ HELLOSTYLE), vintage Hermes scarf c/o LXR & Co (invite), Coach bag (review)

Edinburgh is a quaint city split into Old Town and New Town. The Old Town streets and buildings date back to the 1500’s, with the “Royal Mile” street (pictured above) stretching through town to the Edinburgh Castle. The castle is small and admission is a relatively hefty 16GBP, but I enjoyed it very much as someone who is not a history buff. Post 1 - Edinburgh Castle
^ The Royal Palace, which houses the Scottish Honours (crown, scepter, and sword) used in the coronation of 16th century monarchs. There were rooms of wax figures (terrifying in dim lighting…you can bet I don’t do well in haunted houses or wax museums) telling the story of the Honours, leading up to a room where the opulent treasures themselves were on display.

Post 1 - Edinburgh castle afar

The Edinburgh castle from afar, after a light drizzle.

Poast 1 - Sir walter scott monument

Wearing – Gap petite legging jeans (wearing 2011 version), Toms vegan classics shoes in sz 5

Post 1 - Scott monument

The Scott Monument for Sir Walter Scott – love the gothic architecture.

When traveling, I always try to sample regional specialties. Haggis (no need to click if you’re uneasy about innards) is hailed by some as the Scottish national dish, and was offered at almost every place we ate in various forms. Another common menu item was black pudding, which a waitress was hesitant to explain until I reassured her that I wouldn’t be grossed out.
Post 1 - Haggis and blood pudding

Clockwise from top left: Balls of haggis (not bad) with mashed potatoes, braised beef cheek with fresh pasta & scallions, black pudding atop crostini with quail eggs

Post 1 - Balmoral afternoon tea
After making our way to the New Town, we treated ourselves to overpriced afternoon tea at the Balmoral hotel. 25 GBP per person gets you: a little appetizer liquor, a tray of sandwiches and sweets, a course of warm scones w/ “clotted cream” & jelly, endless tea or coffee, and unlimited access to the cake trolley. I wish tea places would offer a savories-only option, as I usually wolf down the sammies but get nauseous from all the sweets. By the time the decadent cake trolley rolled around, Nick and I were ready to be rolled along home.
Post 1 - Balmoral afternoon tea tray

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  1. My husband has family in London, Scotland and Ireland who keep saying we should visit and take advantage of the free accommodation. Your post is my ammo to convince hubby that we should take up the offers — soon!

    Posted 6.9.13 Reply
  2. Hi CC – yes I plan to and have lots more photos on London (absolutely loved it there!). The weather was forecasted to be 50's and rainy but we got lucky with 60's (even a day of 70) and no rain. I'd pack for both situations to be safe!

    Posted 6.4.13 Reply
  3. How funny! Would love to hear any of your favorite destination/eats…checked out your blog but didn't see any posts!

    Posted 6.4.13 Reply
  4. What a beautiful hometown you have! I have not tried them recently as my old ones held up so well, so unfortunately I can't speak to whether any changes were made in cut.

    Posted 6.4.13 Reply
  5. Joules wrote:

    Hm, that's what I was worried about. Thanks for the reply!

    Posted 6.3.13 Reply
  6. Hello, Loving your blog post from my home town of Edinburgh – have you bought these gap jeans more recently than 2011? would you say the cut is still the same ? I can never find jeans that fit like this … you look great !

    x natalie from

    Posted 6.3.13 Reply
  7. Christy wrote:

    I was compelled to comment because it seems like we went to Scotland and London around the same time! My boyfriend and I took a train trip from Edinburgh to London as well. It took awhile, but the scenary was worth the time. I ended up wearing ankle high booties, which I thought was perfect for the weather (and comfortable). Looks like you have a great trip, loved the photos!

    Posted 6.3.13 Reply
  8. Teresa wrote:

    Edinburgh was my favorite stop last summer when I studied abroad. So glad you posted these pictures and that you enjoyed your stay!

    Posted 6.1.13 Reply
  9. You live in such a beautiful city! They should offer castle discounts for local residents, and special touring times when it's not flooded with visitors like myself : )

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  10. Hi Dez – I used a canon 6D here and also own a T2i which is easy to use.

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  11. These are Gap petite legging jeans and I love them! And glad you're enjoying the longchamp…it's a daily work & travel staple for me, plus they supposedly repair damage for free.

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  12. They held up just fine for me while traveling but that was only a little over a week…my friends have the crochet pair for commuting and they also look fine so far, but other pairs have gotten dirtied up and scuffed from rain/mud/prolonged wear. They are comfortable and lightweight but overall not a shoe that will last you a long time through heavy wear and still look good, in my opinion.

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  13. I didn't realize East Coast service is typically so bad! We booked late so this class was all that was left, glad we missed the inebriated passengers…

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  14. Sure, I wore an old, Old Navy maxi skirt, sweater, denim jacket and Gap flat shoes (plan on posting soon_. I felt pretty casual and touristy in it but was warm and comfortable so that's all that mattered at the time. The locals wore a lot of skinny denim and flat ankle-height boots, leather jackets and trench coats.

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  15. Hi Billie,
    The Toms have more arch support than most of my flat shoes, but I realized that more would've been more comfortable for walking bumpy grounds around Edinburgh. It was surprisingly nice in the 60s and even a day of 70s on our trip. The day I flew home it was a frigid high 40s, so must be some of the unseasonable cold you're speaking of (we definitely got lucky during the visit)!

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  16. Thank you! I used a Canon 6D here. Have never heard of "trainspotting" before!

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  17. Oh really? The places are usually so stuffy, I'd feel shy to ask!

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  18. Thanks! It's a very old basic from Old Navy kids.

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  19. Hi Joules, they were pretty comfortable but since the sole is thin, you'd probably be able to feel some roughness from cobblestone roads. If you like the style of Toms, some have suggested insertable insoles to add a layer of cushioning for more comfort and support.

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  20. Hi there – I wore these Toms canvas shoes when walking around, which many would not consider stylish. I bought them after several discouraging shopping trips trying on shoes for walking at the mall and these were the most comfortable pair I found that were available in a 5 (at Nordstrom). They do have cushioning and arch support and did not require any "breaking in," but I would personally prefer more arch support. Since it was forecasted to rain the entire week, I didn't consider nicer leather shoes, but if the weather is nice perhaps try leather slip on loafers with thicker cushioning and arch support.

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  21. CC wrote:

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us! I hope we get to see more photos and I also hope you'll do a blog post on what you packed for the trip. I'm planning a trip out to London later this year and would love to see where you went! How was the weather?

    Posted 5.31.13 Reply
  22. Lovely pictures. I love Edinburgh, it's such a beautiful place. I went there for my honeymoon.

    Posted 5.30.13 Reply
  23. Thanks for sharing on Edinburgh. I was recently in England, few days after you based on your tweets. I only traveled within England and didn't explore Scotland though but this post will be bookmarked when I make plans to visit Scotland!

    Posted 5.30.13 Reply
  24. Cute outfit, lovely pictures, and beautiful girl.

    Name brand inspired statement necklaces:

    Posted 5.29.13 Reply
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    As an Edinburgh resident, I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit. It looks like you made the most of your time here. I, on the other hand, have lived here for almost 12 years and have still never visited the Castle. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of your book!

    Posted 5.29.13 Reply
  26. Pwan wrote:

    I also love taking my Toms for traveling and day trips with long urban walks! I add a couple coats of waterproof fabric spray (Kiwi in shoe section, or 3M Scotchguard) to help keep them dry during light rain or walking on wet ground after a heavy rain. I will say that I think the classics are much more cushiony and comfy than the pair of cordones style (super cute!) that I bought recently.

    Posted 5.29.13 Reply
  27. Dez Offril wrote:

    Such great photos! What kind of camera do you use? I started blogging recently and I am thinking about buying a new camera for this purpose. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

    Posted 5.29.13 Reply

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