A Fibromyalgia Mum and her sons exploring Edinburgh

Each year the boys and I have a holiday away. It is usually a beach holiday but for the first time, we decided on a city break. I was a little apprehensive at first as my energy levels and legs are not that good so would I be able to keep up?

Our usual holiday is a Haven caravan one and I know the facilities are suitable to my needs so this change would need to be planned well.

Edinburgh was our destination of choice. This is the capital city of Scotland.  It has a medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings. Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. 

As you can imagine the city is packed with beautiful buildings, breathtaking architecture, and fascinating history. This is wonderful for a forty five-year-old but would it be enough for the boys? 

Scot Monument was my favourite as I adore Gothic architecture. 

St Giles was breathtaking.

This is a great view of the castle taken in Grassmarket. We never actually got inside Edinburgh Castle as my legs would not have lasted all the steps. The boys were great about it and totally understood it was not feasible for me. Still great to look at from a distance though! 

No idea what this building was, I just liked it for what it was.

1622 this building was made and looks fabulous today. 

Queen Mary's Bath House.

Although I researched on line a little about where to see the best buildings prior to our stay, it is easy really as everywhere you look there is architecture to swoon over. Like most large cities it also came with the fair share of homeless. Whilst taking pictures of a grave yard a small area was "home" to some homeless people. (photo below) I apologised for disturbing them, it was their home after all. A small section of a grave yard hidden away would guard them against the elements. I always feel saddened that so much money is spent within cities daily and yet there is still homelessness.

One of the tour guides (The Witchery Ghosts and Gore Tour)  explained to the boys about the begging in Edinburgh long ago, it was fascinating to hear that even then the rich protected the beggars of richer origin and gave them the freedom to beg where they wanted whilst the lower class were restricted.

The atmosphere in the city was electric as it was The Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh Tattoo.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of Military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and artistic performance teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh castle.

The tattoo was all enclosed in the castle grounds for the paying public with tickets but the performing arts of the fringe were everywhere and amazing. Street performers, singers, buskers at their best. We loved watching and absorbing the performing arts buzzy atmosphere. 

We had a list of places to see and never managed it all. There is just so much to do there it is such an incredible place. The way I would describe Edinburgh is, as busy as London with as many amazing building, places of interest, bars and restaurants but without the designer flash fakery and public transport arrogance of the South. Travel on an Edinburgh bus and then a London tube and you will know exactly what I mean. 

The Thistle Chapel at St Giles Cathedral.  

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

JK Rowling wrote the Potter books over coffee and cake in this relaxed writer/reader-friendly cafe.

This shop was fabulous, the boys loved it. 

Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, also known as the Royal Yacht Britannia, is the former royal yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in service from 1954 until 1997.

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

We also went on an hour and a half sightseeing cruise and explored the views of the magnificent Forth Bridges from the open top deck. The boat trip to Inchcolm Island was beautiful as we saw Grey Seals but on lucky days they say you can see Grey Seals, Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills and the occasional sightings of porpoises, dolphins and even Minke whales. (Details of tour) 
We felt lucky to be this close to a seal living in his/her natural environment. 

Most of the things we went to see were free and even little things such as finding Greyfriars Bobby and touching his nose for luck was funGreyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier which became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of its owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872.

When I asked what the boys enjoyed most both sons agreed what they enjoyed the most was  it was an 80 minute walking tour of the old town but was so informative and funny.  Links to company Twitter  and Facebook

If you have children or love history this is a must, well worth the money.

I thought this would be a disaster as the previous day we went on a tour of the under ground vaults and my youngest hated every minute. It was way too scary for him. The Edinburgh Vaults or South Bridge Vaults are a series of chambers formed in the nineteen arches of the South Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was completed in 1788. For around 30 years, the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen, and as storage space for illicit material, reportedly including the bodies of people killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for medical experiments.
As the conditions in the vaults deteriorated, mainly because of damp and poor air quality, the businesses left and the very poorest of Edinburgh's citizens moved in, though, by around 1820, even they are believed to have left too. That people had lived there was only discovered in 1985 during an excavation when middens were found containing toys, medicine bottles, plates, and other signs of human habitation. 
I thought it was fascinating as did my Mr 13 but too dark and haunted for little people.

Thankfully everything besides the Vaults is just so beautiful. I really do believe I have fallen in love with Scotland. Quaint old cobbled streets with brightly painted designs, polished brass door knockers and even when the sun goes to sleep the old chimleys silhouetted against the clouds so magically.

Places to eat and drink are everywhere but my favourite were these delightful eateries. Not only were they delicious, the decor, ambiance, and staff were brilliant.

This is my kind of eating place. Fresh ingredients with a menu that is great for both vegan and meat eaters. It is always a blessing to get a decent cuppa made with soya milk. It was really laid back and friendly with a great vibe.

I absolutely love this place.

Give them a follow on Facebook, they deserve some payback love.

Marys Milk Bar is a must visit experience. It is a retro ice cream parlour for homemade gelato, plus coffee and hot chocolate.

They even sell dairy free! 
Try the whiskey and rhubarb wow and Mmmmm are my choice of vocabulary. 

This fabulous find was by accident. I was desperate for a cuppa and the National Museum cafe only had cows milk. Around the corner from the museum is what looks like a regular pub so as it was raining we decided on a pub lunch. Inside it was like home and the staff so welcoming. A family was sat playing cards at the table and others were chilled and happy. 

The food was delicious, the boys had a steak sandwich, fish and chips and I had a bowl of what can only be described as the best leek and spud soup I ever had. 

It is hungry work in Edinburgh as it is all hills and steps. If you are like me and mobility is a factor for you then please don't be put off as they have a brilliant solution to this. 

Edinburgh tour bus is a magical godsend to people like me. The hop on and off buses take you exactly where you need to go in the city. They have ear phone tours on the buses that are so interesting to listen to as you travel.

I would have been lost without these buses and would have been very limited to what we could see. The drivers and staff were so helpful and jolly it was a pleasure to ride on the bus.

Humour in Scotland is very close to that of Liverpool. This made me chuckle at the bus stop. It is the little things like this that I found lovely. A city so far away yet felt so homely. 

The last day is always tough but this one really is. So much more to see but we are running out of time. My two boys are the best people in the world to be away with. We are just sorry we only booked Tuesday to Friday as it seems to have gone so fast. I was unsure the boys would like it as much as they did so opted for a shorter holiday but we could easily have stayed longer and had fun. 

We are home from Edinburgh and the unpacking is all done. The pride is huge as usually the bags are left for a few days till I trip over them and decide it is now time. 

I have started a new CBD oil (CDB Brothers) and I am pleased with the results so far as things like this are unusual for me to be able to do post holiday. Also, I usually have to max up on Tramadol the day after holidays but nope not this time (touch wood/fingers crossed) 

On return, I waited for the passengers on the train to give me a standing ovation for getting it correct (I missed the outward train) but alas it never happened. We were gifted with two Hen parties from Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh that made me laugh all the way home singing songs.

As a single Mum, I always feel a sense of pride each year that we get away on holiday. I am not a blogger that gets trains or accommodation free although I have had some wonderful things. I am just a normal Liverpool working-class Mum that borrows from Peter to pay Paul each week so to be able to save a few pennies to take my sons away is an accomplishment. 

Do you ever stop to think all the things you do as a parent that you should be proud of? 

So my reward was being handed two sweaty Skittles from a tired Mr 11. Now to the untrained eye this may not seem much but for a child to pick out your favourite colours in his sweets, put down the XBox controller and walk into the next room to kiss me on the cheek and place these sweaty sweats in my hand and say, "I love you Mum" is better than a Blue Peter badge in my eyes.

We will return to Edinburgh as we all loved it. I can not recommend this beautiful city enough, it certainly stole our hearts. 

 Love and gentle hugs to you all


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