A Day Trip to Edinburgh

This past fall, while attending The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature  Can-Con , I had the pleasure of meeting Guest of Honour Kevin Hearne, author of the Iron Druid Chronicles. During one of the sessions, Kevin mentioned he would be traveling to Glasgow in February 2019 to do some research for a new story he was developing. Interestingly enough, I was wearing my Edinburgh t-shirt that day and decided to ask him if he had plans to visit Edinburgh on his trip; Edinburgh being my most favorite place in this world to visit. Kevin mentioned they may have the opportunity for a short side quest and if there were any places to check-out, send them his way.

Following @KevinHearne on the Twitter, I see that he has landed in Glasgow and I thought that I would wipe the dust off my blog and post the itinerary I shared with him as it may prove useful to others who find themselves in Edinburgh for a quick visit.

Edinburgh Quick Visit (Map)

This itinerary assumes you are starting and stopping at Waverly Station and aims to give you a glimpse of Old Town, the oldest part of the city. There is much to see along the way including Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland and an endless supply of pubs, coffee shops and bakers. For Harry Potter fans, there is much to see including Tom Riddles grave, the inspiration for  both Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, as well as a few coffee shops where Joanne Rowling wrote the story of the boy who lived. Stay tuned for a post of all the Harry Potter related locations I visited on my last trip to Edinburgh.

  • Exit Waverly Station towards Waverly Bridge.
  • Turn left onto Waverly Bridge towards Cockburn Street.
  • At the top of Cockburn Street, turn right onto High Street (Royal Mile) walk up towards Edinburgh Castle.
  • On your right you will see Lady Stairs Close, which will take you towards the Writers’ Museum. The museum showcases Scottish writers Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • Before the Castle Esplanade there is a staircase on your left after the Whisky Experience, Castle Wynd Steps that will take you down to Grassmarket. Grassmarket is full of pubs, including The White Hart Inn which is said to be the oldest pub in the city dating back to 1516.
  • Turn right onto Grassmarket and it will turn into West Port.
  • Continue onto West Port to visit a number of used and antiquity book stores.
  • Head back towards Grassmarket.
  • On your right, at 2 West Port (Kick Ass Hotel), there is a stair case (Vennel Stairs). Climb these stairs to see a unique view of the castle.

The Vennel

  • Head back down towards Grassmarket, turning right when you climb back down the stairs.
  • Take your first left after the pubs onto Victoria Street. (Inspiration for Diagon Alley)Visit Oink for an amazing hog roast roll!
  • Turn right onto George IV Bridge, walk towards Chambers Street.
  • Turn Left onto Chambers Street to South Bridge
  • Turn left onto South Bridge towards the Royal Mile.Visit The Piemaker and try the Haggis pie.
  • Turn right onto the Royal Mile (away from the castle).
  • Blackfriars Street is the second on your right, grab a scone at Edinburgh Larder Cafe. They also have gluten-free goodies.
  • Turn left onto Cranston Street.
  • Turn left onto E Market Street.
    I never visited The Pop Up Geeks as I didn’t see it until I was headed to Waverly Station to catch the train to London.IMG_0275
  • Continue on E Market Street until you are back at Waverley Station.

Depending on time, you could head the opposite direction from Waverly Station to visit Princes Street, Walter Scott Monument and the New Town.

If there’s time for a haunted tour.


Links to various spots labelled on the map.

Peter Bell Books
Armchair Books
Edinburgh Books
Black Bull – pub
Biddy Mulligan – Irish pub
Elephant House – Coffee house where Joanne (JK) Rowling wrote part of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Blackwell Books
Canon’s Gait – craft beer bar & kitchen
Baba Budan – Coffee shop with fresh baked donuts!

If you happen to find this post and it proves useful or you have something that I should have noted, please let me know.

DISCLAIMER: Don’t blame me if this taste of Edinburgh makes you fall madly in love with the city and causes you to spend every remaining second of your lives wishing to go back for more.


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