Edinburgh

City of Edinburgh | City | ★★★★★

[Royal Mile, Edinburgh's Old Town]

Edinburgh is Scotland's capital city and a global icon. The list of world-famous attractions is impressive: Edinburgh Castle, the joint World Heritage Sites of the Old and New Towns, Edinburgh Zoo, The Royal Mile, Arthur's Seat... and the list goes on. Nowhere else in Scotland comes close to its breathtaking architecture, and there's a depth of history here that larger Glasgow can only dream of. And Edinburgh's striking cityscape seems in perfect harmony with the spectacular natural landscape. Extinct volcanoes are everywhere, making up a number of the city's legendary seven hills and rising 251 metres above sea level at rocky Arthur's Seat. It's easy to forget that Edinburgh has expanded to reach the ocean too, with Portobello Beach and the Port of Leith both only a short bus ride from the centre. The city does feel like it's owned by tourists at times - particularly during summer. And for a few weeks during August, fervour reaches new heights with the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe - the largest arts festival anywhere on the globe. Despite all this, exploring this so-called Athens of the North is always a hugely rewarding experience. The city centre divides naturally into the hilly Old Town (south of Edinburgh railway station) and the grid-plan New Town (to the north), so we've divided up our overview of the sights in similar fashion below. Farther-flung attractions in outlying suburbs bring up the rear.

[Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street Gardens]

📌 Edinburgh ★★★★
Edinburgh Waverley station in the city centre is at G.R.: NT 257738 ///plus.spirit.steep

Anything else? Parking in the city centre is awkward (and expensive except at weekends, when there are some free streets) - it's best to explore by foot, bus or tram.

[Princes Street, New Town (19/11/16)]

Old Town (& nearby)

>> Camera Obscura & World of Illusions ★★★★
>> Canongate Kirk ★★
>> City Art Centre ★★
>> Dynamic Earth ★★★★
>> Edinburgh Castle ★★★★★
>> Gladstone's Land ★★★

📌 Greyfriar's Kirk ★★
Description: 17th century Old Town church (with major alterations) with unusual, yellow-harled exterior, where famous Skye terrier Greyfriars Bobby is said to have loyally guarded his dead master's grave for 14 years until he too passed away.
Greyfriars Place, 10-min walk south of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 256733 ///duke.chest.asks
Open Monday to Saturday, April to October; some Thursdays, November to March | Free

>> Holyrood Palace & Abbey page: Holyrood Abbey ★★★; Palace of Holyroodhouse ★★★★; Queen's Gallery ★★
>> John Knox House ★★
>> Museum of Childhood ★★★
>> Museum of Edinburgh ★★★
>> Museum on the Mound ★★★
>> Music Museum ★★★
>> National Museum of Scotland ★★★★★
>> Old St Paul's Church ★★
>> St Giles' Cathedral ★★★
>> Scotch Whisky Experience ★★★★
>> Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) ★★

📌 Surgeons' Hall Museums ★★★
Description: Large collection of bone and tissue specimens, grisly bodily curiosities... you get the picture. Once a medical teaching resource - not for every taste!
Nicolson Street, 15-min walk south of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 261733 ///scans.double.mugs
Open daily | £7.50 adult / £4 child

>> The Edinburgh Dungeon ★★★★
>> The Fruitmarket Gallery ★★
>> The People's Story Museum ★★★
>> The Real Mary King's Close ★★★★
>> The Writers' Museum ★★
>> Walk: Arthur's Seat - view from the high chair ★★★★

[City centre from Arthur's Seat (23/1/12)]

New Town (& nearby)

>> Calton Hill ★★★★
>> City Observatory (Edinburgh) ★★
>> Nelson Monument ★★
>> Princes Street Gardens ★★
>> Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh ★★★★
>> St Cuthbert's Parish Church (Edinburgh) ★★★
>> St John's Church (Edinburgh) ★★★
>> St Mary's Catholic Cathedral (Edinburgh) ★★
>> Scott Monument ★★★
>> Scottish National Gallery ★★★★
>> Scottish National Portrait Gallery ★★★
>> The Georgian House ★★★

[Admiring the view from Calton Hill (19/11/16)]

The rest (& outlying suburbs)

>> Caiy Stane
>> Corstorphine Dovecot
>> Craigmillar Castle ★★★★
>> Cramond - island & village page: Cramond, Kirk, Roman Fort ★★; Cramond Island ★★★
>> Dr Neil's Garden ★★★
>> Edinburgh Zoo ★★★★★
>> Gilmerton Cove ★★★
>> Lauriston Castle ★★★★
>> Leith ★★★
>> Portobello Beach ★★
>> Summerhall Distillery (Pickering's Gin) ★★★
>> Royal Yacht Britannia ★★★★
>> Walk: Blackford Hill - batting above average ★★★
>> Walk: Braid Hills - surveying the seven summits ★★★
>> Walk: On safari at Corstorphine Hill ★★★

[Craigmillar Castle (4/6/19)]

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