Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital where the Parliament seats and the government leads. It is in this city of less than half a million inhabitants where more culture can be found than in New York or London; but it was more than just bricks and boundaries which represented the Edinburgh attractions and put it on the map of most tourist’s minds. It was the denizens of this great Capital. Many famous names come from this city related to art, authors, architecture, medicine, and royalty. It is easy to see why Edinburgh can be considered a hotbed of genius.
Start your day in Edinburgh early in the morning
Only one day to explore the extensive history of this grand metropolis can be difficult with so many Edinburgh attractions, but it can be done AND on a budget. It requires plenty of walking, some stops for food and plenty of vistas to view. There’s no better place to get a feel for the city than under the flapping Scottish flag perched atop the castle. So come early morning find yourself at the gates of Edinburgh Castle to start, a milestone of the Edinburgh tourism.
It is in this castle that the history of Edinburgh can be learned from first-hand more than any other single place. While winding up the ramp more is unraveled about the origins of the city. From its prehistoric roots all the way up to WW2, nothing is trimmed. With plenty of artifacts on show and panoramic views of the city, it makes for a great walk up to the high point. At the top of the castle is the parade ground. In one of the buildings adjacent to the ground lays the biggest reward for coming to the castle: the crown jewels. Dazzling as they are, they replenish the soul with their enormous opulence and size. After seeing these beauties step into the War Memorial Chapel which pays homage to the fallen Scotsmen of both times present and past. Here piety can be felt in its ethereal chamber. A great place to rest before heading back down.
By now, noontime has come and you’re probably wondering where to eat that’s not to far from the historical track. Right off the Royal Mile is a little place called “Under the Stairs”. You can imagine in the name where its location may be and here they serve a beautiful BLT for a decent price and not a knocked up tourist one.
A relaxing afternoon in the Scottish capital
After enjoying lunch in this cozy and hip restaurant, continue down the Royal Mile, taking in its feeling of reviving past times. On this street alone many buskers play both traditional and contemporary styles of Scottish music and that is on the list of main Edinburgh attractions.
About halfway down “The Mile” will be the St. Giles Cathedral (free). A great stop to break up the promenade. Inside this Cathedral lay beautiful stained glass windows worth admiring their detailed panes and cascading light. In the back of the Cathedral can be found the Thistle Chapel (free), where woodwork of Royal Scottish Crests adorn the walls and the British Monarchy have come to pay their respects in recent times.
From the Cathedral continue the walk down The Royal Mile. Take time and explore those little alleyways and shops. There are lots of surprises to be discovered.
At the bottom of the Mile lays the Holyrood Palace. A large mansion which used to be the home of Scottish Monarchs, now a museum. Stop here for a photo op through the gate on the side. That’s about as close as you can get unless you want to pay the admittance fee.
Pulling off the Royal Mile head over to the National Gallery (free) where you can gaze for hours at exquisite Titians’, Velasquezs’ and Monets’. I can get a little bored of looking at portraiture and men hunting in red coats so I opt to go next door to the Royal Scottish Academy(Free) and see a taste of contemporary art. Here you can find hot names like David Schrigley on display.
Evening sets in Edinburgh
Around this time, evening is setting in. There’s no better place to end the day than on top of Calton Hill (Free). On this hill lay monuments to the greatest and most famous of Scottish geniuses. They lay about the grass like tombstones in a cemetery. Exploring these monuments while the light fades makes for a good end to the day. You can see from the hill the lights turn on all over the city.
Afterwards – dinner at the Voodoo Rooms where they have a great cocktail menu, another one of the many Edinburgh attractions. Then a late night walk along Princes’ Street. Here lay lots of clubs so have a pick if you aren’t too tired from the full day’s walk. Cheers!
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