Myself and Ella had a day trip to Edinburgh recently which we absolutely loved. Ella had never been on a plane before so I wanted to surprise her. With all the complications that have happened since Cameron was born it has been hard to think about a holiday but I knew a day trip away would be fine.
On the morning we where leaving I told Ella we where just going on a girly shopping trip. She knew it was early in the morning but didn’t think anything of it and happily got ready. When I drove up to the airport she still had no idea, she thought we where going to one of the hotels for breakfast. Her face when I told her we where going on a plane was priceless. She was so overwhelmed and excited. I thought she would be a bit scared about the plane but she wasn’t a bit. She stared out the window taking everything in, and totally amazed at being above the clouds. We flew from Belfast on the 08:15 flight and returned on the 21:20 later that evening which was plenty of time for us to go shopping, take in a few sights and visit Edinburgh Zoo.
Once we arrived we got the Airlink 100 Service from outside the airport into the city centre. An adult return is £7.50 and a child is £3. We got off at Princes Street which is in the heart of all the shopping and later when we went to the Zoo we where able to get the Airlink 100 from across the road from the Zoo to the airport again. Buses pass every 10 minutes so it was very convenient. For any further information on the public transport refer to lothianbuses.co.uk
We where so lucky with the weather, it was so hot and sunny despite the forecast giving showers. We only encountered one very quick light shower lasting about 5 mins and that was after we had been round the Zoo and making our way back to the airport.
After hitting a few shops along Princes Street, Ella spied the ferris wheel and wanted to go on that. To my absolute horror I had to go along with it. I am absolutely petrified of heights so was near physically sick at the thought of it, but I had to suck it up and be brave for the sake of my 8 year old (the horrors).
I think I closed my eyes for the majority of the ride, it went round 3 times (to my horror again) and Ellas delight. When I watched the video back the views where amazing. I recommend this for those of you who want the best views of the city, but this is not something I will be rushing to do anytime soon.
20 minutes later and complete dizzy I was glad to find myself back on ground level and we set about more shopping for the next few hours and had some lunch. Edinburgh was getting ready for its famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo the next day so the place was really bustling.
When it was time to head up to the Zoo as we had pre-booked our times to see the Giant Pandas (this is something I highly recommend you arrange prior to your trip) we got a little bit lost as to where we should be getting the bus back to the Zoo. In the end we spoke with the very helpful Concierge Staff from the Balmoral Hotel who where able to direct us to the right bus stop. If you are ever looking somewhere to stay right in the heart of Edinburgh then I really recommend the Balmoral Hotel. This 5 star hotel is nothing short of spectacular. With stunning views of the Castle as its backdrop, extremely welcoming and friendly staff and exquisite décor this hotel will not disappoint.
The Zoo itself is set within 82 acres so comfortable footwear is a must. Parts of it is extremely hilly as well, so something to consider if you have young children or someone elderly with you. However there are a vast array of cafes and restaurants in the grounds so there is plenty of place for those to rest if needs be.
Each day there are plenty of daily talks including the famous Penguin Parade at 2.15pm which has to be one of my highlights. That and seeing one of the Giant Pandas. The pandas themselves prefer a secluded environment and it is hit and miss whether or not either one of them will come out. Lucky for us the male Panda Yang Guang came out for a brief moment. The female panda Tian Tian preferred to stay indoors, however the Zoo do have webcams which can be accessed through the Edinburgh Zoo app or online, so we where able to see her also.
The Giant Pandas, on loan from China, are the only ones in the UK. The Zoo are hoping to breed Tian Tian and already she has been impregnated, they are just waiting to see if the pregnancy will continue successfully.
Only two of the King Penguins decided to go for a stroll and the rest where happy enough to chill back in their penguin rocks habitat.
The Zoo has lots of trails including the Explorer Trial and Badge Trail where you can look for different trail points and use the QR scanner to answer questions as you make your way around the Zoo. Great for entertaining the older children.
The Zoo also have lots of play parks for the children and lots of accessible toilets around the route as well which is always a plus when your out for the day with the little ones.
We spent around 5 hours in the Zoo which literally felt like half the time. There is plenty to see and do and the added bonus of so many nice cafes and restaurants to relax inside or out, you could really put an entire day in at the Zoo.
There is a Holiday Inn situated right next door, so for those staying over and wanting to visit the Zoo, this is another hotel I would recommend. You could spend a night at the Holiday Inn whilst visiting the Zoo and then another night in a more central location like the Balmoral, but there are tons of hotels and bed & breakfast just check out Trip advisor for more options.
Like I said previously it was so easy to get the bus back to the airport. We literally had crossed the road when one came. The airport itself has a reasonable amount of shops but with a long day walking and shopping and taking in the sites, we where happy to grab some dinner and then just sit and watch the planes land and take off. That was until Ella got a new lease of life and decided to give the indoor play area a whirl. I wish I had half of her energy!
Goodbye Edinburgh for now, you where breathtaking but after a long day I was happy to see Belfast and its welcoming lights and skyline.
If you are thinking of taking a trip to Edinburgh or anywhere else, EasyJet have a sale on their flight prices right now, so hurry and snap up a bargain. And talking of bargains if you are flying with them I recommend this little bargain from Bare Minerals. Its a starter travel kit and for £39 an absolute must. I am obsessed with their products.
You receive a Prime Time Foundation Primer, Maximum Coverage Concealer, Bare Minerals SPF Foundation in Medium Beige, BareMinerals Warmth All Over Face Colour, Original Mineral Veil Finishing Powder, Full Flawless Application Face Brush and Flawless Application Face Brush, How-To Booklet and a cute black makeup pouch to store them all in.