Over the last year, I’ve visited Edinburgh quite a few times. From staying at friends’ houses, to attending events and most recently spending the afternoon at the LUSH Spa; one thing is guaranteed: I will ALWAYS have a good time.
A few days ago, I was invited to spend a fun-filled day in the capital as part of The Great City Swap by ScotRail and experience one or two new things while I was at it.
Encouraging the people of Glasgow and Edinburgh to literally swap cities for the day, The Great City Swap is all about sharing must-do activities, hidden gems and celebrating what makes these two destinations awesome!
Before I hopped on the train, I made a plan for my day out using another new feature from ScotRail…The Swapatron! This name immediately conjured up Futurama-esque robots in my mind, but what it actually involves is a bank of knowledge and insider tips from the people who know the cities best – their own residents!
Yup, within the 200 (and counting!) suggestions for a grand day out in Glasgow and Edinburgh you’ll find unique attractions, shopping , foodie recommendations and much more. You just enter the kinds of things you’re interested in and the Swapatron does the searching and sifting for you. Easy!
As a firm believer in supporting local businesses, I was over the moon when the app brought up several suggestions based on independent boutiques and cafes! My personalised itinerary also included a trip to Dynamic Earth, which I’d never heard of before but liked the sound of.
With my plan in hand (literally – seeing as it was emailed straight to my phone!) all that was left to do was sit on the train for the 50 minute journey to Waverley Station.
First up: lunch! I’m no stranger to the award-winning Hula juice bar, but I hadn’t been back to visit since the cafe had been redecorated by none other than the fabulous Karen Mabon. I was excited to revisit them and fuel up for the day ahead!
I had the avocado on sourdough toast and had to order one of their famous juices (I tried the Whirling Dervish – it was delicious!). So far the Swapatron got things spot on!
Next, I headed for a walk through the quirky and colourful shops of the Grassmarket area and on towards Dynamic Earth – which you couldn’t possibly miss on Holyrood Gait because it is HUGE! Before stepping inside I was already impressed by how cool it looked, it was obvious why it is currently rated as the top visitor attraction in Edinburgh.
The enthusiasm of the team was infectious, “are you ready for some science?!” one whooped at me when I arrived, with the same manner you might expect from someone warming up the crowd for Beyonce. Yes, yes I was!
Over the next few hours I experienced walk-through simulations of The Big Bang, active volcanoes, icy tundras, tropical rainforests and much more. Oh, and watch out for raptors! Clever girl.
I really enjoyed it and if it hadn’t been for The Great City Swap, I might have never have thought to spend a day there. I didn’t do every single thing, but since Dynamic Earth hold special events from time to time I am sure I’ll find a good excuse to go back one day.
Thanks to another walk (this time back towards town), I got to appreciate all of the vintage touches dotted over Edinburgh. From original buildings, to old street signs and even a fully restored red double decker bus, the city seemed to ooze retro charm around every corner!
I finished my day cosied up at Hendersons for a vegan dinner and a slice of home-made pumpkin pie. It felt like the perfect finish to the perfect day out and, as I headed back to the station with the sun dipping down and the castle sitting looking all majestic in the distance, I was already wondering what I would get up to on my next visit.
What I wore…
Dress: River Island at Intu Braehead
Bag: Marc b
Boots: Dr Martens
If you fancy planning a trip to Glasgow or Edinburgh soon, take a tip (or three!) from the locals by visiting one of the Swapatron information hubs (located on Buchanan Street in Glasgow and St Andrews Square in Edinburgh), or click here to use the Swapatron app and learn more about The Great City Swap. You can also see what other people are up to on their visits by checking out #GreatCitySwap.
Tell me some of your favourite things to do in your city. Where should I visit next time?
With trains, toast and tundras,
This post was created in collaboration with ScotRail, though all experiences, thoughts and Futurama daydreams are my own.