Exploring Dalhousie Castle

After a wonderful dinner at the Dungeon Restaurant, Ioana and I couldn’t resist taking some fun pictures before calling it a night.

How many Ioana’s can fit on the bed?!

This was the view from our window the next morning 😍

Waking up in a castle does have its perks 😉

Eventually we managed to pull ourselves out of bed and headed down for breakfast.

Breakfast is served in the Orangery. For breakfast, I had the scrambled eggs with Scottish smoked salmon. Delicious way to wake up! In addition to a cooked breakfast selection, there was also a selection of tasty pastries, muffins, juices, fruits and yogurts to help you start your day off right!

After breakfast, we packed up and left our bags with reception so we could explore Dalhousie Castle and its grounds a little bit more before heading back to Edinburgh.

It was another gorgeous day – perfect for exploring the castle grounds! (and having some fun…)


There were some trails around the castle grounds and we went for a wee ramble – walking past the neighbouring fields, ducking under tree branches, stepping over roots… It’s always nice to be outside, enjoying nature and the scenery.


There is a falconry on site at the castle. And you can book one of several experiences to learn more about these birds of prey and to hold and fly one! If you’re getting married at Dalhousie Castle, you can even get an owl to fly in during your ceremony and deliver your rings!

We didn’t sign up for a falconry experience. We just happened to be out on the grounds when this bird had a practice session with its trainer. (We won’t go into the ethics, animal rights or morals of this here. We are just stating what we saw.)

Back inside, there was more to admire…

Eventually, it was inevitable – we had to say goodbye to Dalhousie Castle. (We contemplated hiding in the room, or even in the woods behind the castle… But figured we would be found and booted out pretty quickly!)

We had such a lovely stay here – from the wonderful welcome we received, our conversation with the Castle Steward, our Afternoon Tea, our relaxing and rejuvenating spa treatments, our three course dinner at the Dungeon Restaurant to the friendly and hospitable staff! We can’t wait to come back for another visit!

But for now, it was back to Edinburgh for us, where another adventure awaited us. This adventure would involve our noses, our palates and… perhaps a wee dram!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

LettersofWanderlust3


© Letters of Wanderlust, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any written material and/or photographs without express and written permission from this site’s authors is strictly prohibited. Please get in touch if you would like to republish any of our materials or if you would like to work on a project together!

A Photowalk Through Calton Hill and New Town

After exploring Holyrood Park (and attempting to hike up Arthur’s Seat), we headed off to our next destination – Calton Hill. A lot of “classic Edinburgh” photographs are either taken from here or are photographs of Calton Hill.

It was a beautiful afternoon as we meandered our way slowly from Holyrood Park up to Calton Hill. I wonder how many steps we took on this day – with exploring Holyrood Palace and Abbey in the morning, Holyrood Park and Salisbury Crags in the afternoon, and now this! We should have definitely worn a pedometer to check!

Calton Hill was worth the trek though! We’ll let our photographs convince you 😆

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The Nelson Monument, with the slightly obscured time ball – which drops at 1 o’clock

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The National Monument of Scotland, which was left unfinished unfortunately due to the lack of funds. But it still has a nice facade!

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An arabesque in Edinburgh 🙂

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Love the shadows and the city skyline

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Once we had had our fill of the scenery from the top of Calton Hill, we headed back down towards the New Town (Yup, more walking!)

Any guesses as to this iconic building?

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This is the iconic Balmoral Hotel. What a grand looking building, with a gorgeous clock tower. Maybe one day we can save up enough to stay here… but for now, we just admired it from the outside.

There is apparently a suite here at the Balmoral Hotel that has J.K. Rowling’s mark on it. She reportedly wrote a message on a bust of Hermes in her room, marking it as the room where she finished writing the seventh and final book of her world famous Harry Potter series. So cool! (It reportedly costs a very COOL £1,000 per night to stay in this suite…)

As we continued on Princes Street, we came upon the famous Scott Monument.

Walking further, we came upon a familiar sight – Edinburgh Castle. This time, we were seeing it from yet another angle! It’s really cool that you could see the Castle from a different perspective, depending on where you are in the city.

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The Royal Scots Greys Monument

As we were strolling down Princes Street, we noticed some of the shops were still open! So we wandered into some of them – from souvenir shops, clothing shops to drugstores. It’s always interesting to see what shops around the world carry! Like this…

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We found Teddy! Anyone who has watched Mr. Bean will instantly recognize Teddy. LOVE Mr. Bean and Teddy! We should have bought Teddy and taken him through Scotland with us! I think he would’ve enjoyed it!

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Our favourite purchase that day? An amazing dry shampoo that smells heavenly! And wouldn’t you know it – that particular scent is a limited edition. We have searched high and low for it at home (and even in Seattle!) but it seems like this scent is not sold anywhere near us.😞

As the sun began to set, we noticed our tummies grumbling. It was time to go in search of dinner! We decided to head back up to the Royal Mile and caught these stunning views of the city on our way back…

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Looking out over East Princes Street Gardens on our way back to the Royal Mile! Gorgeous!

We took another couple flights of stairs to get back up to the Royal Mile. It was definitely a LEGS Day!

In the end, we ended up heading to Deacon Brodies Tavern for our dinner. Being in Edinburgh, we decided to pair our dinner with Crabbie’s Ginger Beer.

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After a filling dinner, we walked it off by browsing around some of the shops on the Royal Mile before heading back to Castle Rock Hostel.

We had an exciting day ahead and it was also someone’s birthday – which called for a splurge and a celebration! 🎂🎉

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

LettersofWanderlust3


© Letters of Wanderlust, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any written material and/or photographs without express and written permission from this site’s authors is strictly prohibited. Please get in touch if you would like to republish any of our materials or if you would like to work on a project together!

Exploring Holyrood Park

After exploring Seattle, let’s get back to Edinburgh!

In our last Edinburgh post, we had just spent the morning at Holyrood Palace. After a lovely and most Royal visit, we set off to explore Holyrood Park, right across the way from the Palace.

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The view of Holyrood Park from the Palace

Holyrood Park is right at the end of the Royal Mile. (On the opposite end of the Royal Mile is Edinburgh Castle.) Within the park, you’ll find lots to explore – St Margaret’s Loch, Duddingston Loch and Salisbury Crags to name a few. One of the most famous spots of Holyrood Park is Arthur’s Seat.

Arthur’s Seat is the highest point in Holyrood Park, at a height of 251m. It is the remains of an extinct volcano, right in Edinburgh! We had heard that the views of Edinburgh are amazing from here, so we decided to pay a visit!


We didn’t consult a map beforehand and just decided to explore the park freely. Now in hindsight, that probably was not the best idea. At the base, we were faced with deciding which path to take. With no prior research on which was the most scenic, the fastest, the easiest or the steepest path up, we took the one that didn’t look as steep from the bottom 😆… Now that I’m reading more into this after our visit, I think we actually may have taken the steeper and harder route up?!

It wasn’t an overly difficult or strenuous walk but it certainly wasn’t… a walk in the park (even though it technically was a walk in the park! Couldn’t resist 😆) There were some steep areas and it was definitely a good workout – hello Legs Day!

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Besides not looking at the map of the area beforehand, we also incorrectly assumed all paths led directly to the same point – Arthur’s Seat. We didn’t know it at that time, but we ended up atop the Salisbury Crags instead. It was only when we turned around and saw people on another peak that we realized we hadn’t actually reached Arthur’s Seat. Oops! 😆

But some “oops” are good “oops”! The views from the path that we took, near the edge of the Crags, were breathtaking! The photo stops also made our walk much longer than necessary. 😉

Here’s one such photo stop:

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Just taking a break and taking a selfie in our matching shirts and team Canada sunglasses!

And no adventure is complete without a gazing photo/selfie!

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The Signature Gazing Selfie!

These photo stops became more and more frequent as we neared the top. (And as I was pretending to be a photographer and playing around with the different shots…)

Here are some of our favourites!

Holyrood Palace:

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Looking over to Calton Hill – our next destination on this busy afternoon!

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Just trying to be artsy with the grass…

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We climbed up a bit further to a bit of a flat area, where many others were lounging and enjoying the afternoon sun. We decided to stop here for our picnic lunch, while admiring the view!

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Boy, it is a long way down from here! It sounds like rock climbing is permitted in parts of the Salisbury Crags. I think that would be super cool, although I’m not sure I would do it. I’ve done a bit of outdoor climbing but definitely nothing like this rock face!

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The views from here were stunning. You can see straight across the city*, all the way to Edinburgh Castle – almost 2 km away!

*in good weather… No guarantees in inclement weather!

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It was such a lovely viewpoint and such a beautiful day with the autumn sun and a light breeze, that we stayed here longer than we planned to. (We may have also napped and reflected on life 😉)

We contemplated continuing onto Arthur’s Seat but since we also wanted to check out Calton Hill and the New Town that afternoon, we decided against it. This means we’ll have to add it to the list of things to do when we’re back in Edinburgh. And… We’ll be sure to consult a map beforehand to make sure we really make it up to Arthur’s Seat this next time!

Eventually we dragged ourselves up from our perch and headed back down – excited to explore our next stop – Calton Hill!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

LettersofWanderlust3


© Letters of Wanderlust, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any written material and/or photographs without express and written permission from this site’s authors is strictly prohibited. Please get in touch if you would like to republish any of our materials or if you would like to work on a project together!