Edinburgh – Scotland

Edinburgh is a beautiful city in Scotland which I’d have loved to spend more time in. It’s packed with great places to see, beautiful stone grey stone architecture and bag-pipers who play in the city center. It truly has a great atmosphere.

Brief History:

Cramond (see the bottom of the blog) was noted by historians as one of the areas in Edinburgh with the earliest known settlement during the Mesolithic period – approximately 8500BC.

Since then, evidence of settlements have been found dating back from the Bronze and Iron ages.

The first settlement of Edinburgh was on Castle Rock on which a fort built in the early middle ages. Castle Rock is an area on an extinct volcano which was formed 350 million years ago, which rises 130 meters above sea level. It provided a strategic area for defence, having good visibility over the surrounding area.

It in the 7th Century that the English captured the fort and was only in the 10th century that the Scots recaptured it. In the 11th century a castle was built on Castle Rock and a small town was established in its vicinity. From this point Edinburgh started to expand.

1. Princes Garden Street East

This is a beautiful garden right in the center of the city, created between the 1700’s and 1800’s. It has bright green lawns which are popular for picnics and walks on good weather days.

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2. Scottish National Gallery

Situated just across from the garden is the National Gallery. The Gallery hosts historic Scottish paintings as well as paintings from other international artists. Notable artists include Monet, Van Gogh, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Wilkie and Ramsay.

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3. New College, The University of Edinburgh

The college is one of the UK’s largest and most highly recognised for its Theology and Religious studies.

It was founded as a religious college of the Free Church of Scotland as a product of the religious conflict of the time. It was founded in 1843.

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4. Edinburgh Castle

The castle was one of my favourite attractions in Edinburgh. Situated right on top of Castle Rock, you are presented with a scenic view of the city below and the sea in the distance.

The castle was built in the 11th Century and has been used for defence, a royal residence, a prison and an army garrison. The buildings in the castle were build between the 12th and 18th centuries with the oldest building in all of Scotland situated in the castle: St Margaret’s Chapel which was constructed in the 12 century – named after Queen Margaret.

If you go to the castle, make sure you are there at 1PM where the gun is fired. Every day (except Sundays, Christmas Day or Good Friday!) crowds gather at the castle to wait in anticipation for the firing of the gun. It’s surprisingly loud the first time you hear it. The time signal is fired outside the famous Redcoat cafe.

Also worthy of mention is the Honours of Scotland, dating back from the 15th and 16th century, which is housed in the castle. The Honours of Scotland consist of the Scottish Crown Jewels, a sceptre and a sword which were used to crown Scottish Monarchs.

The Scottish National War Memorial at the castle commemorates the Scottish soldiers as well as those serving the Scottish regiments who gave their lives in battle.

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5. The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is a famous succession of streets which is the main through-fare through Edinburgh’s Old Town. It measures almost exactly up to a 1 mile distance between the castle and Holyrood palace.

It’s one of the busiest tourist streets in Edinburgh and has lots of souvenir shops, cafe’s, restaurants and pubs.

To top it all off, you are most likely to see a bagpiper busking!

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6. Tartan Weaving Mill and Experience

I may have found my favourite souvenir shop in the whole of Edinburgh. This shop is enormous. At first when you go in, you only see a small crammed shop full of woollen garments. It looks tiny. As soon as you go around the corner you can see it’s massive with multiple levels.

You can find every kind of souvenir, everything from the magnet and postcard you’d normally be looking for, to bagpipes, kilts, tartan garments, Harry Potter merchandise and food.

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7. Pentland Hills Regional Park

The Park is just a short drive from Edinburgh if you want to take a peek at the beautiful countryside. It’s full of scenic walks through the hills. At the entrance there is a cafe to grab some coffee and a snack.

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8. The Flotterstone Inn Restaurant

Just outside the entrance of Pentland Hills Regional Park is the Flotterstone Inn. They serve big portions of food and have quite a diverse menu available. My recommendation to you is to stop here for a nice meal after your walk!

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10. Rest and Be Thankful Viewpoint

The Rest and Be Thankful Viewpoint is right next to the Edinburgh Zoo, back in the city. It’s paths lead you through beautiful forests alongside the zoo where you will be able to spot some of the wildlife! I managed to find some antelope and Zebra while I was walking past.

The viewpoint is stunning and worthy of a stop!

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11. Cramond Beach

If you want to take a look at the beach while you are in Edinburgh, stop over at Cramond. They have a heritage trail you can walk to discover more about the history of the area. All the way from the Mesolithic people approximately in 8500BC, through the middle ages to the present age.

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Edinburgh is a great place to visit and I’d definitely recommend it.

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