The second leg of our UK journey took place in Dundee & Edinburgh. Rather than take a flight, we decided to take the train into Scotland. Travel by train took up the entire day however we really wanted to admire the landscape and my mom and I secretly wanted to re-live the Harry Potter train ride into Scotland! As we left the big city behind us, we could see the landscape morph into lush green rolling hills, lochs, the ocean and finally the River Tay.
We spent a few days in Dundee visiting family and admiring the city sights. In comparison to London, Dundee is a quiet town. It is a great place to walk around and relax but still offers a nice nightlife with cozy pubs and bars. What I enjoyed most was seeing the places Jonathan grew up; Jonathan spoke about Dundee so often, it was great to finally see it with my own eyes.
Some of the main Dundee attractions were the Dundee Law (a hill with a spectacular view of the River Tay and the city), the City Square with its little shops and restaurants, St. Mary’s Church and Discovery Point. It is worth taking the time to walk around and admire the old homes and small streets. One of the things I noticed in Scotland were the many beautiful gardens. I would also recommend a walk along the water to see the Tay Rail Bridge. This bridge has an interesting history: “The Tay Rail Bridge – at just over 2 miles long, it was the world’s longest when it was built – was completed in 1887 and replaced an earlier bridge whose stumps can be seen alongside. The original bridge collapsed during a storm in 1879 less than two years after it was built, in the infamous Tay Bridge Disaster, taking a train and 75 lives along with it” (Lonely Planet, Scotland). You can also get a great view of the bridge from atop Dundee Law.
During our stay, we also went to Broughty Ferry, Tayport, and St. Andrews. The small town of Broughty Ferry is really charming and I would recommend an afternoon of fish & chips and a visit to Broughty Castle. We visited Tayport for a day to see Jonathan’s brother who lives there. If you have a little time in your travel schedule, I would recommend a quick drive over the Tay Road Bridge for a visit to Tayport. After dinner, Jonathan and I left the family and went for a walk along the water and sat in the little marina. As we watched the sun set over the River Tay and Broughty Castle, we noticed movement in the water. As we looked closer, we realized it was dolphins! Dolphins were swimming just a few feet from us…it was amazing!
That concluded our trip to Dundee and I am so happy to have visited. Everyone we met was so nice and there were some great sights. The highlights for me were meeting Jonathan’s family, seeing where he grew up and watching the dolphins at sun-set in Tayport.
We spent three days in Edinburgh and that was enough time to see most of the sites in the city without feeling rushed. During our stay, we visited Edinburgh Castle, walked the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyrood, strolled around Holyrood Park and went to the underground and saw Mary King’s Close. We also enjoyed some delicious pints, lunches in pubs and good food. I had my first haggis in Edinburgh! It was really good…perhaps because it was “fancy” haggis. I would recommend to everyone visiting Edinburgh to take the time to walk around the city and explore. You will discover secret staircases, beautiful parks and statues, and fall in love with the city! The only caution is to wear good shoes, you will be walking up many hills.
Edinburgh castle is definitely worth a visit and I would also recommend the audio guide. There were so many things to see and so much history in the castle that you need a few hours to explore. If you are lucky and are visiting Edinburgh in August, I also recommend tickets to the Military Tattoo. We were there in July so were not able to go however everyone I know who has been says it is an incredible experience. Next time…
I fell in love with Scotland after visiting these two beautiful cities and cannot wait to go back again!