We simply could not come to the UK without paying a visit to one of Jake’s top bucket-list places—Scotland. So after a few days in England, we hopped on a train to Edinburgh. Now while England was pretty chilly do not get me wrong, Scotland was next-level cold. Surprisingly, we found out after the fact that the cold temperatures were uncommon for this time of year and typically temperatures were 10-20 degrees higher in December. The irony was not lost on us that we were dead set against a tropical honeymoon and ended up in colder than average temperatures for our winter honeymoon.
At barely 3 in the afternoon, the sun was setting as we got off the train. Tired from the travel and the nearly zero-degree temperature outside, we turned in early (after a very hot shower to warm up).
Day 1: Walking the Royal Mile
We bundled up as much as we could the following day and made our way to the iconic Royal Mile. Thankfully, our hotel was located along the Royal Mile and a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle. We ducked into cute shops when we needed to warm up and even found ourselves exploring the road which Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley was based off, and the shop that commemorated it. Next we walked through Greyfriars Kirkyard, the graveyard where Thomas Riddell now lies, occasionally listening to stories tour guides were telling their groups but mostly reading the old headstones. We did a lazy pub crawl on our way back to the hotel, even trying some vegan fish and chips, before the sun set and temperatures plummeted even further.
Day 2: West Highlands, a Loch or two, and Winterfell Castle
Day two started bright and early as we hopped on another tour bus to take us to the highlands. Our tour guide made an unplanned stop along the route to show us The Kelpies, 30-meter tall horse head sculptures that pay homage to the mythical Scottish water horse. You may be familiar with one of the most famous of these creatures, The Kelpie of Loch Ness. We then made our way through the beautiful Scottish countryside to Doune Castle. Built in the 1400s, Doune Castle sits right on the River Teith and has been a popular filming location for shows such as Game of Thrones and Outlander. With the snow on the ground, it definitely looked like we were in Winterfell! After a quick stop for some late morning coffee near Loch Lubnaig we made our way to the next destination, Kilchurn Castle, where we got to spend some time with some sheep. We stopped for a late lunch in the small town of Inverary, home to the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and then our final stop along Loch Lomond.
Day 3: The Scott Monument
On our last day before heading home, we opted for another chill day exploring Edinburgh. After a quick bite and some coffee at Deacon’s House Cafe, we made a second trip to Museum Context, an official Harry Potter retailer, to pick up a gift for one of our HP loving friends. We continued to window shop until we stumbled upon The World’s End Pub where we enjoyed a quick pint (or two). Before the sun set we walked our way to the Scott Monument and Calton Hill. We took as many photos as we could, sitting above the Edinburgh skyline, before our fingers started to freeze and we had to make our way back to our cozy hotel, where we cracked open a small bottle of some local scotch next to the fireplace.
The next day we woke before the sun to start our journey back home. After a quick flight from Edinburgh to London, we boarded our nine-hour flight to Dallas. And while there were some bumps along the road, I wouldn’t trade our honeymoon in for anything because it was just like us, one-of-a-kind.
Until next time,