Edinburgh Castle in the wind

Our pre-baby break

edinburgh view from the castleSo when I first found out I was pregnant all the websites I read and the apps I downloaded suggested that during your second trimester that the mum and dad-to-be should go away, spend some quality time together before the baby comes along and that kinda stuff isn’t possible anymore.

It was obvious that this pre-baby break – or baby moon which I have heard it be known *shudder* – would have to take place on the last weekend of a month as we don’t have T’s son then, and January, albeit cold and miserable, was the perfect month. It was before I hit the 27 week/third trimester mark and once we’d chosen our destination, Edinburgh, it turned out train tickets and accommodation that weekend were cheap!

I previously spent the weekend in Edinburgh for a hen do and T had never visited the city so we thought it would be a brilliant location to spend some quality time together on our pre-baby break. We booked everything, promptly forgetting that January is THE WORST MONTH EVER money-wise. We figured we’d be ok cos the train and hotel were paid for up front, but food and entry to places is so expensive, we didn’t get to do as much as we’d hoped!

visiting Edinburgh CastleIt wasn’t too bad though, we managed to do the entire weekend for around £300 and we got a fair bit done. The first day saw us walking around the city and in particular going up to see the castle and the incredible views it gave out over the city – even if it was a bit windy up there! Then after a walk up to the hotel and back we went to Las Iguana’s for tea and hit The Stand Comedy Club for our evening entertainment!

The castle was good, it was worth a visit but probably, in my opinion, isn’t worth the £16 each it costs to get in. it was pretty cool to actually go in and see the crown jewels of Scotland but the exhibition leading up to the shiny wasn’t anything to write home about. Neither of us are especially interested in the royal family or the history surrounding the monarchy at the best of times! Tea was brilliant and despite Las Iguana’s being a chain and the fact there’s one just down the road in Manchester, I’d never been before! I loved the food our waitress was nice and the fact hat we were sat by a table with a family of four on it led to me and T talking about our future outings with baby Spike in tow. I loved that it was just a chilled tea out.

The highlight of the first day had to be the comedy club experience though. The Stand is a well known comedy club and the week before we visited they had Dylan Moran at the venue, I’m kinda gutted we weren’t there for that one tbh! But never mind. The show was funny, and I was blown away by the performance of one of the comedians in particular, Larry Dean, who did a brilliant sketch which included an impression of a velociraptor!


The Saturday morning had us waking up early to hit a local cafe for brekkie then we did the crazy thing known as walking up Arthurs Seat. For those of you who don’t know Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the hills in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, which were formed from the extinct volcano that Edinburgh sits upon and stands at something silly like 581m high. It was one bloody big hill and we did the stupid thing of walking up the step stone steps leading up the side of it… instead of the easier path which we didn’t see that all the sites say to use! I was knackered walking up it and had to stop A LOT, but we made it to the top, almost, and it was worth it for the breathtaking views. We hit the top bit and the final summit looked a bit too much for me to handle in my current state so T went to visit the rock declaring the summit reached and I stayed in some shelter at the bottom of a particularly treacherous-looking path waiting for him… we walked the easy way back down.

dinosaur at Our Dynamic Earth EdinburghBy this point it was lunch time and following a walk past the actually disappointing to look at Scottish Parliament building we hit a local cafe for food. We then followed the trip up the ex-volcano with a trip around a discovery centre – obviously meant for children, but we are big kids – called Our Dynamic Earth. This discovery centre takes you right back to the start of the world, with interactive displays and videos which tell you what the creation of the universe must have bene like as far as we know through science, then into the ice age, through the rainforest and finishing with a video in a pretty epic doomed cinema. There were displays about volcanoes which involved the floor moving as if one was erupting in front of your eyes and a 4D cinema experience with ‘snow’ falling on you. Best of all was the video at the end, that changes a lot I believe, which included narration by David Tenant (whose voice I could listen to for days!) all about space and the findings from scientific explorations. The place was amazing and I would love to go back with actual kids to see what they thought of it all! Best of all the gift shop had dinosaur stuff and I managed to find an Ankylosaurus plush to add to my collection! Yay!

Finally on the last day we went to the Zoo. I’d been two years ago with my best friend as part of her hen do but this time I was hoping to visit the entire thing (I skipped out the lions and stuff cos the hill looked too crazy to walk up in the rain back then!) and we did! I got to visit the Panda’s again; mr panda – who I saw up close last time –  was asleep this time but the lady panda was awake and chomping on bamboo! and the Koalas, who were asleep. The highlight were the gibbons who, when we got there, were in the middle of an early morning wake up call for the rest of the zoo I think. It was an incredible thing to hear and it was brilliant to watch them swinging around their enclosure when we were going past.

graffiti at Elephant House Cafe Edinburgh - birthplace of Harry PotterThe zoo was followed by a trip to The Elephant House cafe, which is where J K Rowling visited to write when she wrote the first few Harry Potter books and I really loved knowing that where I was sat drinking hot chocolate and eating one of the best date crumble slice I’ve ever eaten, was where one of my favourite ever stories was first jotted down! And the toilets had to be an experienced – the most Harry Potter related graffiti ever! Then we had a quick trip to the National Museum of Scotland to see a T-rex, another panda and make me feel ill cos its a long way down from the 5th floor to the bottom when its all open!

We had an amazing weekend and it was very special. We mostly stayed away from our phones and managed to get some much needed us time, yet because of my being knackered and my still-quite-small baby bump I felt like Spike was still there too!