City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland
Author: Julie Thompson | Last Updated: 30 Jun 2019
The city of Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and it is fair to say that it is compact and rather hilly. There is two main parts to the city which is the Old Town which dates back to medieval times and there is the elegant New Town which dates to the Georgian period. The New Town is home to neoclassical buildings and lovely gardens. The Stone of Destiny looms over the city, which is home to the crown jewels of Scotland. The Stone of Destiny was used in the coronation of the Scottish rulers. The famous Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak within Holyrood Park and Calton Hill is topped by the memorials and monuments.
Edinburgh is one of the most famous castles in Scotland and it’s an icon of the country. The castle has been awarded a UK heritage award and it is one of the most popular visited attractions in Scotland. The oldest part of the castle is St Margaret’s chapel which dates back to the 12th century. James IV erected the Great Hall during 1510. The castle is open seven days a week and it is something that is worth doing whilst you are visiting the city.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is a great place to visit for all ages and it has close connections with many well-known Scottish figures including Bonnie Prince Charlie, Mary Queens of Scots. Visitors to this attraction can also explore how the Queen lives when staying at this palace when attending official engagements in Scotland. There is a throne room which is used for receptions and various state occasions. The centrepiece of this room is the two thrones which were commissioned by King George V during 1911 and George IV during his visit to Scotland during 1822. During his visit he had a full highland outfit made in honour of the Scottish people. This palace is home to vast amount of memorabilia, which will keep you amazed for hours on your visit here.
Arthurs Seat is an extinct volcano which forms one of the highest hills in the city of Edinburgh. This hill has been described as being a mountain in virtue of its bold design and a hill for magnitude by Robert Louis Stevenson. Arthurs Seat is located about a mile from the city centre on the eastern side of Edinburgh Castle. The hill towers above the city and is eight hundred and twenty two feet high. The walk to the top of the hill is certainly worth the effort as it is relatively easy and from the top you will be able to enjoy panoramic views across the city and beyond.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile runs through the heart of the city and it is only a short walk away from Grassmarket. The Royal Mile connects the splendid Palace of Holyroodhouse with the historical Edinburgh Castle. The Royal Mile is overlooked by Arthur’s Seat and the impressive tenements. There are many attractions within this area, and these include the Real Mary King’s Close, St Giles Cathedral and some of the best food and drink establishments in the city.
The Royal Yacht Britannia
When you are visiting the city why not take a visit on board the Royal Yacht Britannia which will make you feel like royalty. This yacht has five different levels and the attraction offers free audio guide, which is available in thirty different languages. There is a children’s tour which is specially geared towards children. The tours at this attraction will take you into the elegant state apartments and you can enjoy the gleaming engine room. A visit here will enable you to see where Prince Harry and Prince William once spent their summer holidays. There is many world leaders and celebrities who have wined and dined on the Royal Yacht Britannica.
National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland is home to a vast amount of different exhibits and collections, which range from the age of dinosaurs to the technology of future years. The galleries contain treasures from all around the world. The natural world galleries tell visitors about the story of the planet and these collections range from monsters from the deep to meteorites. The World Culture galleries link possessions and people from across the globe from Africa to Ancient Egypt and from East Asia to the Americas. There are some exhibits that let you follow prehistoric Scotland through to the present day in Scotland.
The Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh are one of the leading botanic gardens in the world. These gardens have almost three hundred and fifty years of history. A visit to the gardens will enable you to explore and learn about the various plants that are housed within the seventy acres of lovely landscaped gardens. A visit to these gardens will be a great day out for people of all ages and whilst there you can enjoy the fantastic views of the skyline of the capital. There is a memorial garden for the Queen Mother and the four corners of the gardens are planted to represent the corners of the world, as the queen enjoys travelling. The plants have been specially chosen for their ornamental and educational purposes.
Princes Street and Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is one of the most iconic urban parks within the city of Edinburgh. These gardens separate the New Town and the Old Town. These gardens are spread across thirty seven acres and they are divided into two areas by The Mound, which is an artificial hill, and this connects the two areas of the city. These gardens were created by the drainage of Nor Loch, which is the largest loch in Edinburgh. This loch was first marshland on the northern side of the city, and it was used for natural medieval defence in connection with Edinburgh castle.
The Camera Obscura is a fascinating place for people of all ages and there is plenty to keep you entertained. This attraction combines real-life with trickery using technology. There are five different floors at this attraction with over one hundred interactive displays. There is one exhibit where you can tour the streets of the city without even moving. This attraction is just a short distance from the castle at the top of the Royal Mile. There are powerful view cams and a mirror maze, which will leave you bewildered.
The National Galleries of Scotland
The National Galleries of Scotland are comprised of three different galleries, which are the Scottish National Gallery, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The Scottish National Gallery is in the heart of the city and it is home to one of the finest collections of art in the world. One advantage of visiting this gallery is that it is free entry, however there may be a small fee to see some of the temporary exhibitions. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is home to an outstanding collection of contemporary and modern art. This gallery is also free entry, therefore a great activity to do whilst saving some money. This gallery is a great way to come face to face with the people who have shaped Scotland present, past and future. As with the other two galleries this gallery is free entry.
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