After my school officially ended (on September 1 2017, which happened to also be my 30th birthday), my student visa had a little over a month left, which means I can travel worry-free.
So my flatmates and I decided to go to Scotland. For UK from A to Z, E is for Edinburgh and I is for Inverness. Two locations, one trip and four hours on the train to each location.
This trip took a little bit more planning, because we were not fan of joining tour groups. My other flatmate is a photographer and we like to have more freedom and control of our time. We looked at some tour itineraries and they cram a lot of spots, but for some, you literally get off the bus then take a photo and that’s it. We are not fans of checking things of a list. We don’t want to be pressured to hit all the spots, and we want to spend more time just chilling and taking in the place.
So Scotland. We booked our train ticket from Birmingham to Edinburgh and that’s a good 4 hours.
From there, we contemplated about taking the “Harry Potter” train or seeing Nessie (Lochness). However, since we didn’t really plan in ahead, the “Harry Potter” train ran out of tickets. So Lochness instead. So we booked another train ticket from Edinburgh to Inverness (from there we can make our way to Lochness). Also for cheaper accommodations, we booked an apartment for two nights in Inverness instead of staying a night in Edinburgh.
I took snippets of videos that I put together in this summary video.
From the train station at Edinburgh, everything is actually pretty walkable (when you live in the UK, you get used to walk alot).
We walked to Edinburgh Castle, but we didn’t go in (because we are cheap and also when you live in the UK, you realize that castles are a dime a dozen, and all quite similar).
And from there we walked down the Royal Mile. It’s absolutely beautiful and you can hear people playing bagpipes. There are also shops that sell kilts, a beret (that my flatmate really liked but didn’t buy and then can’t stop thinking about after) and cashmere scarves.
We don’t really have an itinerary, we just walked around Edinburgh (we don’t like making itineraries, but we like randomly walking around and discovering things).
The Elephant House is where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter and there are also other Harry Potter related shops, like the Diagon House.
We later took the late train to Inverness.
The next morning, we walked around Inverness and then figured out our way to Lochness.
So, the tour operators will tell you, buses to Lochness are unreliable. It is a bit. But we took the bus anyway (don’t bother getting return tickets) and we made it.
We had some time to kill before our ferry and we just sat by the lake and just enjoyed nature (we don’t see a lot of nature in Birmingham).
We also saw these writings on the fence.
Obviously, we didn’t see Nessie (one shop owner joked that’s because she only comes out on other days).
Another reason, I wanted to visit Inverness was because of Outlander (sadly there weren’t any actual stones that I can touch and travel back in time too).
Instead, we just walked around.
Obviously Inverness has a castle too. You can check out all the Ye Olde castles in the UK.
We also spend some time at a second hand book shop across our apartment, and it was so charming.
Our train back to Edinburgh was in the day time and we got to see a bit of the highlands.
Where else should we have gone?