So for our annual six nations trip this year we decided to go to Edinburgh and watch the opening of England’s fixtures for the tournament. At the time of booking the tickets, before the world cup, we weren’t aware that we’d be watching the first game under a new manager, so it turned out to be a very exciting experience to see the revitalized England team.
When we know we want to go to a game and guarantee tickets early we normally source them via England Rugby Travel, although for obvious reasons we don’t use their travel packages! This time round we’d booked BA flights from Gatwick, heading up on Friday morning and returning on Sunday afternoon, so had far longer in the city than most packages offered anyway. All-in-all we payed around £300 less for our flights and 2 nights at an ideally placed hotel on the Royal Mile than we would have done with any of the package companies. Which was more than enough spending money for the weekend!
We left first thing Friday morning and arrived in Edinburgh at our hotel (Ibis Royal Mile) http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-2039-ibis-edinburgh-centre-royal-mile/index.shtml just after midday. We’d chosen a reasonably budget hotel, as everything is more expensive on a six nations weekend, but the location was fantastic, an easy stagger from all the old town bars and sights, and you could (almost) see the castle out of the window. We dropped our bags and wasted no time exploring some of the wonderful sights around the city. After visiting the castle, we had lunch in a grassmarket pub, and from there the only sites we really sampled were the many various eateries and alehouses Edinburgh has to offer!
The morning of the game arrived and the excitement was building. After a lovely breakfast in the Inn on the Mile we picked up our tickets from the guys at England Rugby Travel and took a walk into the new town, visiting a few pubs to soak up the atmosphere, and as always enjoying some friendly banter with the Scottish fans. Plenty of memories came back of the last time we were at Murrayfield, to watch the first game of Stuart Lancaster’s tenure as England coach. On that day we didn’t really know how the team would play together, so were nervous because of an untried England side, but this time round it was the strong Scottish performance at the World Cup that had us biting our fingernails. We were expecting a far more polished performance from the home team than we’d seen in many years.
After watching the first half of France v Italy (whilst Italy were still ahead) we began the walk to Murrayfield, which normally takes about 20mins, but can be a bit slower when navigating the crowds all moving in the same direction.
Our seats for the game were great, Jack Nowell running in his second half from try right under our noses. The Scottish performance we were expecting never really materialised, and despite a less-than-dominant, indisciplined performance from England in the first half, things improved throughout the game and we once again hung around after a Murayfield game to watch England parade the Calcutta Cup.
After a curry and cocktails back in the city centre our plans for exploring on the Sunday were dampened more by the weather than our hangovers, with the rain that threatened on match day arriving, and some extremely strong winds making sure it soaked us through! So we went to the airport ahead of time, and watched some small planes flying short local journeys bounce in against the strong winds. Our flight back was smooth though, and despite a wait on the tarmac at Gatwick whilst the ground crew found someone to operate the footbridge, we managed to get back in plenty of time to head to the Grosvenor Casino and attempt to stay up until 4am watching the Super Bowl… (which we managed) GO BRONCOS!
Till next time, Travel EZ the ladies from EZPZ