Winter wonderland of delights in Edinburgh

The view from Edinburgh Castle
The view from Edinburgh Castle
Cllr Rob Humby (left) with Matthew Riches (right) Skanksa's business director for Hampshire Highways

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The sound of a lone bagpipe player wafted in the winter air as we climbed the steep ascent to Edinburgh Castle.

While walking up the Royal Mile – the succession of streets that form the main thoroughfare of the Old Town – we stopped to take in the sights across the city. And to catch our breath.

It was the week before Christmas and, despite being a weekday, the twinkling city was alive and buzzing with festivities.

Luckily for us, despite the grey skies, it remained an unusually dry December day in Scotland... until about 4.30pm.

Fuelled by mulled wine from the expansive winter market, we’d decided to walk off some of the calories and head up to Edinburgh Castle.

The fortress sits proudly on Castle Rock, dominating the skyline, but also enticing tourists below to make the trek and explore a bit of Scottish history.

We’d come to Edinburgh for a day trip, flying up from Southampton with Flybe, on a whistle-stop tour of the historic city and the castle was top of the agenda.

It was an easy flight – just an hour and 35 minutes plus half-an-hour at the airport itself – leaving us with plenty of energy and time to get to the city and take in some sights and enjoy some entertainment before catching an evening flight back home.

We landed at the airport at 10.20am, but after a quick bus journey into the city centre, we were in our seats at 11am at the Festival Square Theatre, a temporary venue set up for six weeks as part of Edinburgh’s Christmas – a six-week season of festive entertainment.

Comedians/magicians/children’s entertainers Morgan & West were putting on their version of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic A Christmas Carol.

The show was part of Christmas on Stage, bringing theatre experiences to Edinburgh’s West End, and a large group of primary school children were obviously enjoying the slapstick as an end-of-term treat.

After the hour-long performance, we headed to East Princes St Gardens, where a large big wheel, with 36 enclosed pods, gave us great views and a way to get orientated.

Onboard commentary tipped us off about the large Christmas tree hidden away in department store Jenners of Edinburgh, which was looked at in awe, before we embarked on the castle ascent. As we reached the summit of the crag, we tagged on to a walking tour with a friendly and very Scottish tour guide.

She regaled us with stories of past kings and queens, battles and sieges, prisoners and more.

Plus we got to see the wonderful Scottish Crown Jewels. We even got a taste of whisky – a great way to round off a day in Edinburgh.

My only regret is that with so much to see and do, we couldn’t stay for longer.

Kimberley flew to Edinburgh from Southampton Airport with Flybe. Flights operate fives time a day. Prices start from £34.99 including taxes and charges. Go to flybe.com. Edinburgh’s Christmas runs until January 7.