Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Travel Photo #18: Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, situated in Lothian on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth and It is also the second most populous city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom.
Edinburgh is on the east coast of Scotland's central Lowlands, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth.
Its landscape is the product of ancient volcanism; both the Castle crag and Arthur's Seat are the eroded plugs of volcanoes and more recent glaciation, carving out valleys south of the castle and the old Nor'Loch, presently the site of the Princes Street Gardens.
You will definitely impress the locals by knowing that Princes Street is the correct spelling (dedicated plurally and not possessively for King George III's sons - hence the absence of an apostrophe). Seriously though, don't make the mistake of pronouncing it Princess Street.
Edinburgh's historic centre is bisected by Princes Street Gardens, a broad swathe of parkland in the heart of the city.
Southwards of the gardens is the castle, perched on top of an extinct volcanic crag, and flanked by the medieval streets of the Old Town following the Royal Mile along the ridge to the east.
To the north of Princes Street Gardens lies Princes Street itself - Edinburgh's main shopping boulevard - and the Georgian period New Town, built after 1766 on a regular grid plan.
Edinburgh has been the royal capital of Scotland since 1437.
Travellers should note that Edinburgh becomes overwhelmingly crowded (accommodation-wise) during the main festival periods of high summer (August to early September) and Hogmanay (around New Year's Day / 1 January).
Visitors at these times should plan well ahead (even more than a year in advance!) for booking central accommodation and event tickets at these times.

Top Attractions in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Castle
Hoisted high on the craggy Castle Hill, almost as if it's monitoring the city below, Edinburgh Castle is one of the city's must-see attractions.
It is thought that the first man may have stood on the Castle Rock as far back as 8000 years ago.
Inside its blackened stone walls are the Honours (or crown jewels) of Scotland, Queen Mary's Apartments, the Great Hall and the infamous Mons Meg cannon.
Scotland's most famous landmark, Edinburgh Castle is one of Britain's most visited tourist attractions.
Highlights include the One O'clock Salute from Half Moon Battery (cannon fire commemorates the tradition of helping ships synchronize their clocks); the impressive Scottish National War Memorial; and the stunning collection of Crown Jewels housed in the Royal Palace.
Another notable feature is the Stone of Destiny (aka, the Stone of Scone), famously stolen by Edward I and placed under the English throne in London - only returned to Scotland 700 years later in 1996.

St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building within the Castle walls and was built on the highest point of the Castle Rock in the 12th Century.

At the entrance to Edinburgh Castle is the Castle Esplanade which was once a parade & drill area for the castle garrison. Every year since 1950 onwards the famous Military Tattoo has been held here.

There are lots of things to see within Edinburgh Castle’s walls including: Great Hall,
Honours of Scotland, Mons Meg, National War Museum of Scotland, One O’clock Gun and Regimental Museum of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards just to list a few.

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile refers to the road linking Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  Lined with charming townhouses and historic landmarks, this splendid thoroughfare is a great first stop in Edinburgh with its fine shops (including kilt makers), numerous inns, museums, cafés and restaurants.
Many of the buildings are tall, averaging six to 15-stories and referred to locally as "lands". Narrow little alleys, called "winds" with the hidden backyards "closes", weave in and around them.
Some of the most popular attractions are to be found at the upper end of the Royal Mile - commonly called Castle Hill - and include Outlook Tower and the Camera Obscura with its outstanding views; the Tolbooth (St John's Highland Church) with the city's tallest church tower; Gladstone's Land, a six-story merchant's house with pretty ceiling paintings and original furniture; and Lady Stair's Close, home to the Writer's Museum displaying manuscripts, portraits, etchings and memorabilia of the poet Robert Burns and writers Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

The National Galleries of Scotland

Paintings of Scotland's leading historic figures from the 16th century to the present day can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery, one of Edinburgh's three major art galleries.
The highlight of the gallery's 65,000-plus pieces is the huge processional frieze showing Scotland's most famous personalities, including Robbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Sean Connery, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Stuart and Bonnie Prince Charlie, among others.
The second major art collection is housed in the Scottish National Gallery, which boasts Scotland's biggest collection of European paintings and sculptures, beginning with the Renaissance and including some Post-Impressionists.
Finally, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art displays paintings by Henry Matisse and Pablo Picasso, surrealistic works by Rene Magritte, Joan Miró and Max Ernst, contemporary paintings by Bruce McLean, Callum Innes and Gwen Hardie, and sculptures by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and David Hockney.

Greyfriars Church and Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Kirk is a smaller church, found to the south of the Royal Mile. But don't let its smaller size fool you -- this was the locus of major unrest back in the 17th century. In 1638, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland drove the country into civil war when it signed a covenant declaring itself independent of the royal government. Open weekdays, you can tour the church for free.
But the nearby Greyfriars Bobby statue is much more popular than the church.
Take the requisite picture with the Bobby statue -- which honors the faithful pooch of a 19th-century policeman -- and head into the adjacent pub, also named for him.  
Located at the south end of picturesque Candle makers Row, Greyfriars Church boasts the city's oldest graveyard that serves as the final resting place for a number of celebrated Scots, including poet Allan Ramsay (1686-1758).
The first "National Covenant", directed against Charles I's attempt to impose the constitution of the Anglican Church on Scotland, was signed here in 1638, under which framework; the Church would be subjected to the power of the state.
Buried within the Covenanters Prison is James Hutton, considered by many as the father of modern geology.
Perhaps the most famous name associated with the church, however, is Greyfriars Bobby.
In 1858 this Skye terrier loyally followed the coffin of his master, John Gray, to the graveyard and until his death 14 years later refused to leave.
A kennel was built for him to shelter in, and a famous landmark outside the church is a statue of Bobby erected in 1873.

How to Get to Edinburgh
Take the train within the UK or fly to EDI (Edinburgh International Airport) which is the busiest airport in Scotland. It is situated some 10 miles west of the city.  Many visitors to the city arrive via a connecting flight from London.


  1. Shari the travel girl11/02/2014

    I was there last month and loved the city so so much. What a Beautiful place!

    1. Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities.

  2. My wife visited Edinburgh, Scotland when she was a teen and always said we would go, but never have yet. Looks so beautiful and I want to take my wife there one of these years after we retire. Would be such a dream come true.

    1. Don't wait till you retire. (: you should take your wife soon!

  3. What's not to like? You can have as much guidance or self tour as much as you would like. Fantastic to walk through the grounds and the views from the Castle are the best. Fantastic Edinburgh

    1. I took a nice walk on the Royal Mile. It is the most beautiful road I have ever been to.

  4. I always thought that London is less superior to Edinburgh in terms of culture preservation, now that I've seen this article am convinced that i was right. It looks to be good historical city full of life.

    1. I totally agree with you, and yes (: you were right.

  5. Hey traveling Kate, where is your next adventure going to be?

    1. My next adventure will be in Utah.

    2. that's fantastic !!

  6. Anonymous11/05/2014

    Edinburgh is the place to be. From the review I see it as a place that looks historical. I will make a visit on one weekend. thanks for providing much details that have been useful should one need to be there.

    1. Oh have a wonderful weekend in Edinburgh.

  7. Edinburgh is a great city for hardcore Harry Potter fans, who will want to find the original building that Hogwarts was inspired by...

    1. ): I didn't visit any of Harry Potter locations.

  8. Nice post, traveling kate!

  9. Looks really beautiful. I wish I could afford to visit one of these days though, but life is a bit complicated at the moment, but one of these days I will have an adventure in this beautiful place!

    1. (: It will be better. Life is not supposed to be easy. I have so much debt in school loans and I have other obligations too.
      Set the goals, save up for travel funds and hope you will make it happen.

  10. i like your work and traveling adventure. i love this form my heart