Edinburgh: a castle, a palace and an extinct volcano

Coming from Edinburgh, I am often asked about things to do and see there.  In fact, I haven’t actually lived there for 16 years, and so am not exactly up to date on everything, even though have visited it at regular intervals over the years. When I go, it is usually to see people rather than things.  So for example, I don’t tend to wander up and down the Royal Mile, climb Arthur’s Seat or go to any galleries unless there is something I particularly want to see or have another visitor with me.

So what are my top tips for Scotland’s capital and my home town?  Well, you have to go to the castle.  Not only is it central to Edinburgh’s identity, it is interesting and offers great views over the city and it surroundings.


Edinburgh Castle

At the other end of the Royal Mile, which is also the original heart of the city, is Holyrood Palace, still a royal residence.  I confess to not having visited it for years, but it is well worth a look at for the history and its neighbours, the Scottish Parliament (also well worth a tour) and Arthur’s Seat (which you should climb if you have energy and time).


Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh (picture reference below)

Other places to visit are Calton Hill – easier to walk up than Arthur’s Seat (an extinct volcano) and much easier to walk up) and featuring “Edinburgh’s Disgrace” or the National Monument to the fallen in the Napoleonic Wars (read more here); Edinburgh Zoo with its penguins and pandas; the Botanic Gardens and a walk along the Water of Leith Walkway.

2450024709Edinburgh’s Disgrace (picture reference below)

There are numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Portrait Gallery on Queen Street, the Modern Art Gallery and the National Gallery all of which you can read about here.  I loved the Museum of Childhood as a child, and still find it fun, and of course the National Museum of Scotland.


My great nephew in the museum


Edinburgh City Centre


Looking west on George Street towards Charlotte Square

Edinburgh is also a Festival City, being host to the largest arts festival in the world each year as well as jazz, film and television festivals.

I feel as if I have hardly touched the surface of what you can do and see in Edinburgh, but hope I have given you a taste of what there is.  One final thing to mention is that the city now has a tram link.  It takes you from York Place at the east end of the city centre to the airport.  It was a well over budget project that doesn’t really go anywhere (the original plans had to be shelved).  I had planned to go on one, but didn’t quite manage, but here is what they look like.

IMG_2603Edinburgh’s other disgrace

Next post: something else to do in Scotland.

Picture reference 1: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AArthur’s_Seat_from_Edinburgh_Castle.jpg

Picture reference 2: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/heritage/lost-edinburgh-edinburgh-s-disgrace-1-3308927


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