Here's a photo-based speedy account of our four day break in Edinburgh - a wonderful city we'd never visited before.
We started with the excitement of the Caledonian Sleeper train.
Pearlie reading in her bunk.
Leo writing in his diary - using the cute little table.
We got to Edinburgh at about 7am and went to drop off our bags at the hotel. After stocking up on info leaflets at the tourist info place, Dani and Pearlie went up Calton Hill.
Leo and I went to the Edinburgh Dungeon. This had some clever special effects but was frustratingly thin on good stories.
We all flaked out early after the short night we'd had on the train.
We got up slowly and ate as much as we could at the hotel breakfast buffet!
Then we set off to the castle.
After a quick lunch we went next door to the Camera Obscura - which was fantastic. As well as the thing itself, there were holograms aplenty and lots of illusions of other kinds.
We stayed in the city for tea and then went on the Ghosts and Ghouls tour run by the magnificent Mercat Tours. This was very well done - lots of good stories. One of the main reasons we went to Edinburgh was the kids' eagerness to visit the vaults below Edinburgh. This tour satisfied their appetites for scares and spookiness - though we were left wanting to know more about the history of the vaults.
On Saturday morning we went to the National Museum of Scotand and managed to catch a science show by Dr Bunhead. He did impressive things with liquid nitrogen and a hot water bottle - among other things!
Then we rushed off to catch a bus that took us to a little boat for a cruise on the Forth. It was a truly beautiful day - and we saw a seal.
We spent the evening in the hotel room watching Doctor Who.
We decided to go back to the museum to see some of the things we rushed past on our way to the science show the day before. We could have seen a lot more but started to flag a bit from all the walking around!
In the afternoon we took another tour with Mercat Tours, a history tour of the vaults. This was a brilliant chance to get some of the info that the ghost tour didn't cover. We felt braver in the vaults and managed to get some photos.
Today was a crowded train marathon to get home again.
We thought Edinburgh was a great place - so much to do. It also had a very particular feel that was unlike anywhere I've ever been before. I read the Terry Deary Edinburgh book to the kids while we were there. Dani read a history book about underground Edinburgh and I read a Rebus - so we all felt quite immersed in the place.
We think we need to go back. The kids are keen to see much more of Scotland.