We only had about six hours between the time we landed in Edinburgh from New York and when we needed to be on the train toward Berwick-Upon-Tweed. We had a few things we wanted to get to including exploring around the castle, roaming the streets, and having breakfast at The Elephant House. Successfully marking all of these off, we even had a nice break in the train station for relaxing and people watching. Also check out the pictures of Edinburgh for more of the great sites.
The Elephant House
Located on George IV Bridge just over the overpass for Merchant Street, The Elephant House is just over a half mile from the bus station where we stored our bags so we did not have to carry them around. Since Princess Street Gardens and the Edinburgh Castle were in between the bus station and The Elephant House a meandering walk through the garden and around the castle will allow for some great views and prime the appetite.
With the Harry Potter fan base I expected a line out of the door like when we walked by the first Starbucks in Seattle. A pleasant surprise was when we almost walked right by the front door, but were able to see the red store front on second glance. Being a cafe and not a museum, we went in with the intent to have coffee and breakfast. They were fairly busy because it was during the morning rush, but the menu was fairly easy to figure out. They accept credit cards and cash, which early in our trip was a nice convenience to use credit cards because my mind was still numb from the travel.
After ordering you get a number and can pick your own seat in the dining area. The walls are adorned with various elephant paintings and photographs. Many books about elephants line the book shelves and it appears to be a place that many locals come in and enjoy a coffee with friends. There is a few pictures on the wall near the restroom that pay tribute to J.K. Rawling and her books. The bathrooms are really were the fan base can add to the tribute. As it is always nice to have a clean and free bathroom while traveling step in to see what others have left on the wall.
Since we only had a few hours, we did not want to allocate a large chunk to anything like trying to explore a castle and not get to see much else in the city. We elected to just meander around Princess Street Garden, which is beautiful and provides some nice vistas of the grandness of the castle. Walking around the base of the castle and around the west side of the castle also provided some nice views of the city as we walked up and down the paths at the base of the castle.
Walking around a mile in the city does not seem like much, but you must account for the very dramatic up and down hills that surround the castle and other parts of the city. The Edinburgh Castle webpage has a wealth of information in regards to hours, things to see, and the cost of admission to see the castle.
–More to come on the next update.