Scouse Bird Problems – Edinburgh: Glamping & forgotten underground cities

Posted On: 12/09/2014

By: Scouse Bird

As we head towards the referendum which sees Scotland decide whether it wants to stay married to England or become a strong Independent country who don’t need no man – I decided to try out ‘glamping’ in a place which may soon no longer be united with our kingdom.

I first visited Edinburgh about 9 years ago (I’ve just done a little sick in my mouth at how long ago that was) during the Fringe festival and if you’ve never been – GO. It’s an amazing atmosphere, none stop stand up comedy and street performances all throughout the month of August. Any stand up comedian you see on the TV today will have earnt their stripes at the Edinburgh Fringe. This time I decided to see what Edinburgh has to offer when she’s not ‘all dolled up’ for the festival.

Where to stay

I’ve done the whole camping thing many times before (see my post on 10 things a princess needs to survive when camping) but I decided to really spoil myself this time and go ‘glamping’. We found Wigwam holidays and booked a gorgeous little site called ‘Hilly Cow’, just a half an hours drive outside of Edinburgh. It’s on a working farm so if you’re into the whole animal thing, there’s horses and pigs to pet, if not you don’t have to be anywhere near them. The owners Lesley and Stuart are absolutely amazing and their 3 dogs Misty, Maggie and Taz are so friendly that you feel like part of the family within minutes of arriving.

Our Wigwam was en suite which meant no walks to the toilet block (good for when you’re campfire drinking and break the golden seal) but the toilet block is about 5 steps away from the wigwams anyway so it wouldn’t have been a problem staying in another one. The wigwams are kitted out with kettles, plugs (for chargers and straighteners), heater, table and chairs, comfy beds and the nicest touch of all; fairy lights.

What to do

There’s tons to do in and around Edinburgh. We only had 2 nights there so we tried to cram in as much as we could!

Go Ape – This was one of those treetop adventure courses, near Peebles, about a 40 minute drive from Hilly Cow campsite. I went on one of these sort of courses a few years ago in Knowsley safari park and completey bottled it. I ended up clinging onto a wooden post, 40 foot in the air, crying, while the instructor had to talk me down. To say I was nervous about trying Go Ape would be an understatement. The instructors took load of time to explain the safety features and the failsafes they have in place to stop you from being in any actual danger at any time and, yes, I still screamed a lot and nearly shit out a few times but I made it all the way through to the end. The zipwire through the trees and over the lake on the final part of the course was totally worth it – breathtaking.

Edinburgh castle – Every princess loves a good castle and the views from Edinburgh Castle are spectacular. Make sure you’re there before 1pm though so you can catch the famous ‘One O Clock gun show’, then get your fella to put his top back on and you can watch the famous cannon being fired at 1pm sharp.

Mary King’s Close – This is a long forgotten deserted underground city. At some point during Edinburgh’s history when they were regenerating after the plague, rather than demolish buildings and start again, they just lobbed off the tops and built right over them. Just off the Royal Mile you can take a tour down ‘The Real Mary Kings Close’ and you’ll find a network of abandoned houses, shops and streets… all supposedly extremely haunted. The shrine of Little Annie is a must-see – one of the younger plague victims is said to haunt her old bedroom complaining that she’s lost her favourite dolly so visitors from all over the world have left thousands of toys for her.

Edinburgh Dungeons – Much like the horrible history books you can find out about the more grizzly elements of Edinburgh’s past including “Sawney Bean the incenstuous cannibal” and “Burke and Hare the bodysnatchers” all with a lively comedy element. The highlight of the tour is a ride where you can experience the drop of the hangmans noose – not for those who don’t like thrill rides!

Where to eat – When I visited Edinburgh all those years ago, one place that really stood out in my memory was ‘Frankensteins bar’ and I had to go back to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was. I love the way the bar is kitted out like Dr Frankensteins laboratory and you could be mid meal and Frankensteins monster could descend from the ceiling unannounced! I recommend the chicken and haggis mash (when in Rome), it was unreal – in fact I’m craving it right now. Sly.

Getting around – If you’re staying in the wigwams at Hilly Cow then the nearest station is Kirknewton. Ediniburgh is about 20 minutes away on the train and it costs £5.20 return. Bargain. Check the train times carefully and leave yourself plenty of time to get to the station – unlike me who missed the train home by about 7 seconds and had to wait 2 hours for the next one!

Och aye the noo!

XOXO

Scouse Bird

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