Posts

Showing posts from December, 2018

St Mary's Catholic Cathedral (Edinburgh)

Image
City of Edinburgh | New Town | Cathedral | ★★

Edinburgh's Catholic Cathedral, St Mary's, can be found on the east side of the New Town, within easy reach of the city's main shopping district. Cathedrals often dominate the local skyline, but at St Mary's it's the other way round: tall surrounding developments such as Edinburgh Playhouse and St James shopping centre (currently a noisy building site) make the church easy to miss. Take a few minutes out of your day to visit though, and you'll find a calming, dimly-lit interior with a magnificent painted frieze over the altar. Not to be confused with the Episcopal cathedral of the same name in the capital's West End.


Location & info

📌 St Mary's Catholic Cathedral (Edinburgh)★★
61 York Place, 5-min walk northeast of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 259743 ///feel.accent.oath
Probably open daily | Free



The Georgian House

Image
City of Edinburgh | New Town | Mansion | ★★★

Just off Princes Street in Edinburgh, Charlotte Square is an attractive private garden flanked by sumptuous 18th century mansions. One of the buildings on the north side is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and known as The Georgian House - innovative, eh? The interior has been restored to an authentic late 18th / early 19th century state and illustrates the area's total contrast to the (then) squalor of the 18th century Old Town, to which the New Town provided an escape to those who could afford it. Admittedly The Georgian House isn't the finest in the street: a contender for that accolade is the adjacent Bute House, official residence of the First Minister of Scotland. We think entry to the property is a bit pricey, but hopefully you're a member (or affiliate member) which will grant you free admission.

Location & info

📌 The Georgian House★★★
7 Charlotte Square, 15-min walk west of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: N…

St John's Church (Edinburgh)

Image
City of Edinburgh | New Town | Church | ★★★

The stunning vaulted ceiling of St John's Church, Edinburgh makes this one of the most dramatic indoor spaces in the capital. The imposing building, which belongs to the Scottish Episcopal church, was constructed in Gothic style in the early 1800s; designs were drawn up by youthful architect William Burn, who was only in his 20s at the time. Take a look around the interior and there's quite a lot to see: as well as the roof, highlights include the beautiful stained glass windows all the way down the nave, and the blue-domed chancel added in 1882.


Location & info

📌 St John's Church (Edinburgh)★★★
Princes Street, 10-min walk west of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 248737 ///outfit.wiser.game
Open daily | Free





Edinburgh Castle

Image
City of Edinburgh | Old Town | Castle | ★★★★★

With over 2.1 million visitors in 2018, Edinburgh Castle is the most popular paid-for attraction in Scotland. Rising majestically above the city's Old and New Towns on an ancient volcanic outcrop, the castle commands the ultimate defensive location and the views over Edinburgh from the site are excellent too. Over its long history the castle has juggled several roles ranging from royal residence to military base, also changing hands several times during the Wars of Independence. The central, tiny St Margaret's Chapel dates to the 1100s but many of the castle's other buildings are much more recent; parts of the site are still used by the British Army. There's a huge amount to see indoors including the Great Hall, Scottish Crown Jewels and even the National War Museum, so little wonder that this is Historic Environment Scotland's priciest property to visit. Is it worth it? We would cautiously say yes, as long as you have …

Museum of Childhood (Edinburgh)

Image
City of Edinburgh | Old Town | Museum | ★★★

Attraction #1588 on the Royal Mile (or so it seems) is a little bit different. Edinburgh's Museum of Childhood turns out to be a fun, 5-floor nostalgia trip showcasing young people's life: education, clothing and (especially) retro toys and games - and admission is free. The ground floor had a major refurbishment in 2018, but the other floors remain just as old-fashioned as the exhibits themselves. Nevertheless, the place has all-age appeal: your average 8 year-old should love discovering the games on display, while your average 80 year-old will probably remember playing with them!


Location & info

📌 Museum of Childhood (Edinburgh)★★★
42 High Street, Royal Mile, 10-min walk southeast of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 261736 ///amuse.decide.forgot
Open daily | Free








John Knox House

Image
City of Edinburgh | Old Town | Museum | ★★

John Knox House is one of the least known of over a dozen museums jostling for attention on the crowded Royal Mile in Edinburgh's Old Town. The museum shares the premises with the Scottish Storytelling Centre (which sounds like a fascinating place in itself), and juxtaposes the lives of two men with links to this 15th century building (one of the oldest on the Royal Mile) - which once stood next to the fortified gatehouse between the formerly separate burghs of Edinburgh (uphill) and Canongate (downhill). The first of the men was James Mossman: goldsmith and staunch Catholic, who lived here in the mid 1500s. The second is of course John Knox: minister and staunch Protestant (and founder of the Presbyterian movement), who possibly lived here later in the century, preached to the Royal Mile from a first floor window and also ministered at nearby St Giles' Cathedral. Both men had an influence on Mary, Queen of Scots (herself a Catholic, …