Capital of Scotland from the rich and glorious past,
Edimburgh is one of the most visited cities in Britain
The capital of Scotland since 1437, and with a rich and glorious past, Edinburgh creates an amazing impression on visitors, even at first glance. This is due to its position, situated on seven hills, its spectacular Castle, the streets of the Old and New Town, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its extraordinary monuments and buildings, as well as its modern vitality. It’s no coincidence that Edinburgh is one of the most visited cities in Great Britain, with more than two million tourists a year.
The Castle of Edinburgh is without doubt the major attraction: positioned on a hill and built on an extinct volcano.
And it is here that we can relive centuries of Scotland’s history by visiting the Crown Room with its very valuable crown jewels. Alongside the castle is the extraordinary St. Margaret Chapel, the oldest building in the city.
The old town
The Royal Mile (a straight road of almost a mile) is the striking, elegant main street of the Old Town in Edinburgh, which is filled with monuments and luxury stores. The street connects the Castle to Holyrood Palace, where you can visit the apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, the unhappy queen of Scotland who was executed in the late sixteenth century by Queen Elizabeth I of England. The Palace of Holyroodhouse today is the official residence of British monarch in Scotland.
Dominating the Old Town is another hill, Calton Hill, which features Greek-inspired monuments that have earned it the nickname of ‘Athens of the North’, including the Doric Old Royal High School and the monument dedicated to the national poet Robert Burns.
The new town
The New Town of Edinburgh , the more ‘modern’ part of the town, built in the mid-eighteenth century, is an impressive example of the golden age of Scotland, the Georgian period (1760-1830), and features the classical architecture of the time in which buildings, squares, gardens and flower-filled paths come together with elegance.In the heart of this district, the Georgian House, with its elegant furnishings, offers a glimpse of the life of aristocrats over 200 years ago. The New Town is also home to the magnificent Charlotte Square, designed in 1820 by the most famous architect of the time, Robert Adam.
The two towns are divided by the Princess Street Gardens, a serene green space, at the end of which are 287 steps leading to the top of the hill where the Scott Monument sits with an unbeatable view. This small monument is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish author of celebrated novels, pride of a nation that wanted to honour him with the largest monument in the world dedicated to a writer.
In addition to its majestic monuments, the city of Edinburgh is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival, the world’s largest arts festival, which takes place each year during the last three weeks of August and presents plays, classical music and opera performances and dancing with artists coming from all countries. A dozen other events also take place during this busy period, including festivals dedicated to musical bands, books, science and jazz and blues.
There’s something for all tastes, even with regard to the offers for shopping in Edinburgh: from traditional kilts in Thistle Street, to clothes and vintage accessories in the very varied Grassmarket.
The trendy shops, bars and restaurants in Edinburgh are located in George Street. To the side of St Andrew Square, Multrees Walk houses famous brands of luxury fashion with the latest trends in clothing, accessories and beauty products. At the West end of Princes Street, lies the West End Village with boutiques, quirky accessory stores and unique gift shops.
There’s a wealth of choice with regard to places to eat in Edinburgh: excellent everywhere, from starred restaurants to more modest cafes, which offer superb recipes of lamb hard to find elsewhere, fillets of Angus beef or venison accompanied by sauces. For those who love fish, smoked salmon is probably the best known, but smoked kippers are also delicious, while special dishes include mackerel pâté and langoustines, known as Dublin Bay prawns. In terms of sweets, it should not be forgotten that Edinburgh is the home of the famous Digestive biscuits made by Mc Vitie, now sold throughout the world.
A source of national pride among drinks is, of course, whisky, among the world’s finest. In this regard, it’s worth visiting the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, to discover in detail all the stages of preparation of this prestigious beverage.
Where to sleep in Edinburgh
Edimburgh is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Text by Anna Glik
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Copyright © Sisterscom.com
Copyright © Sisterscom.com
WHERE TO GO
The Edinburgh Castle, with its charms, is the symbol of the city. Overlooking Edinburgh, perched majestically on top of a volcanic outcrop and is possible to see it from a distance. From here you can enjoy the panorama of the city below and admire beautiful sunsets.
The views across the capital from the top of this sandstone tower are spectacular. Constructed as a tribute to author Sir Walter Scott, it has dominated the Princes Street skyline since its completion in 1846.
From the North Bridge, with one of the city’s most impressive buildings on both side, is possible to see the Old and New Town especially at night when all lit up. From here, you can spot Jenners, Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument and the National Galleries complex.
PRINCES STREET GARDENS
Close to Edinburgh Castle, on the south side of Princes Street, this public park separates the New Town from the Old Town. You can admire the tiered gardens and discover statues, monuments and stunning floral displays. During the summer the gardens are a popular choice for those wishing to relax in the sunshine and in its outdoor cafe.
S. GILES CATHEDRAL
This magnificent crown-spired cathedral, on the High Street, houses memorials to around 200 distinguished Scots and beautiful stained glass windows. Parts of its structure dates back to the 12th century. It is open all year and entry is free. You can also relax in its Cathedral’s café.
The construction began in the central area of Edinburgh in 1767 thanks to the architect James Craig. The spacious tidy streets offer a stark contrast to the labyrinth of the Old Town and is an architectural masterpiece. Infact, the streets of the New Town of Edinburgh are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLAND
The National Galleries of Scotland is a complex with the Royal Scottish Academy and the National Gallery of Scotland, two magnificent neo-classical building designed by William Henry Playfair.
There are three museums that make up the National Galleries of Scotland: the Dean Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art in the West End and the National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street.
Scottish National Gallery
The National Gallery houses works by artists such as Rembrandt, Titian, Leonardo, Raphael, Vermeer, Monet, Degas, Constable, Turner and Cezanne.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
The gallery, in a magnificent red sandstone building, is located in the New Town and exhibits on display more than 3,000 portraits of men, women and children from Scotland and beyond.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
The gallery has three main areas dedicated to: permanent collection, temporary exhibitions and a large park full of sculptures. It is a must for any fan of modern art. Entry is free.
The Queen's Gallery is located in the Palace of Holyroodhouse and was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2002 during the Golden Jubilee celebrations. It hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND
The National Museum of Scotland exhibits collections that celebrate its culture, its history and its people. It is a great way to learn about Scottish history from the primeval age to the modern era. From here, the 360 degree views of Edinburgh from the roof garden is beautiful. Entry is free.
The Edinburgh Zoo can be reached by a short bus ride from the city centre and home to over 1,000 animals, including the UK's giant pandas. The Zoo of Edinburgh is located in beautiful park and also allows you to see flamingos, koalas, penguins and chimpanzees.
To the east of Edinburgh is located Portobello, a seaside town with a wide promenade and sandy beach. The small town offers a mini-funfair, bars, cafes and ice-cream parlors for a relaxing excursion.
Arthur’s Seat is the 251m high extinct volcano that sits in the middle of Edinburgh. To see it, is possible to take a taxi to Dunsapie Loch and then continue for about 30 minutes with an easy climbing. It offers an amazing panorama of the entire city and a beautiful view of the sun rising over Edinburgh, a truly unforgettable experience.
With a short drive to the north from Edinburgh center lies the suburb of Cramond. It is a residential area built by a former fishing community, a pleasant place to admire the colorful boats in its small harbor. Here you can visit Cramond Island, the island where you can observe sea birds.
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