While traveling across Scotland, we took a bus from Glasgow to Edinburgh. We quickly dumped our luggage in the room, and went out to explore the beautiful city with gorgeous historical and natural wonders. No matter where I am, I always feel that stroll around is the best way to properly experience a country/city, so is what I always do… is no surprise that I did around 90 miles in 4 days (by foot), my legs and feet always complain but my heart and soul just crave for it..
Even having been walking endless miles, I still need to say that all the main attractions are quite close to each other, and despite the hills, Edinburgh is a great walking city, so walk is the best way to discover this beautiful historic city.
Edinburgh is split in two by the valley that separates the Old Town from the New Town. The Old Town of Edinburgh, dates back to Medieval times, and is where we found the oldest attractions. The Royal Mile, is undoubtedly the most touristic street and is packed with people, pubs, shops, restaurantes, and street performers; feels like theres is nothing that can’t be seen on this street. To be fair, this packed touristic places are not my cup of tea, so what I enjoyed the most here were the escapes to the many quirky streets going from there.
The St Giles Cathedral, located in this street, is covered in lovely details and has beautiful stained glass windows. Pop in to see the pretty blue ceiling, and the intricate Thistle Chapel.
At the west end of the Royal Mile is the Edinburgh Castle, a landmark visible from many parts of the city. The entry fee is £17 for adult, so if you think is too much (what I do), you can always enjoy the views from the Castle Esplanade. I didn’t go inside, has I think is not worth the price. On the other hand the Craigmillar Castle, located in the other side of Edinburg have a more acceptable fee (£5.50) and it’s really nice.
The city’s best museum is for me, by far the National Museum of Scotland, located very close to the National Galleries on The Mound. This museum is dedicated to the natural world, world cultures, art and design, science and technology, and Scottish history. Like most museums in the UK, it’s free.
From here in direction to the Royal Botanic Garden you can stop at the charming village of Stockbridge. This place has a nice vibe and is away from the city center touristic buzz. The picturesque street Circus Lane, is another must.
The Royal Botanic Garden is a great hidden gem and a very special place; for me an absolute must-see in Edinburgh, specially if the weather is good. They are a great escape from the crowded Old Town. On a sunny day you can explore the many different features around the garden and also the glasshouses. The Garden lies in Inverleith, a half-hour walk north of the city centre. The stroll through New Town and Stockbridge is worth the time. The gardens are free to enter, but for the Glasshouse you pay a fee.
Back at the crowded old town the Princes Street Gardens are another free outing. The gardens are a great spot for relaxing on a sunny day; from here the views are excellent to the Castle. This garden is home to the gothic Scott Monument, which can be climbed by 200 ft above the city (£5). This area also contain some of the city’s key museums and serve as a venue for Edinburgh’s famous summer cultural festivals. The National Gallery is located in the midst of the Princes Street Gardens and displays a lovely collection.
Princes street (named after George III’s sons) is the main shopping street in Edinburgh, so very frenetic and congested with people and buses. The National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy are both located just off Princes Street, so it’s very easy to pop in for a visit.
? read part II ?
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha