Edinburgh - Renaissance City
- Where to Go and What to See and Do
Where to Go and What to See and Do
On day one, to get your bearings and be whisked around all the "Must See" famous sights, take one of several city open top bus tours. There is even a tour by vintage 1950 bus. Running every 15 minutes you can jump on and off as you wish, to visit selected places. But the best way to see the city, and get your bearings, and experience hidden nooks or stunning views is to walk. Start at the Castle, dating from 12th century, with Crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny all relating the story of Scotland`s regal past. It was here that Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI in 1566.
From the battlements take in the view north over the gardens, the majestic National Gallery and Princes Street to the New Town, sweeping steeply down towards the Firth of Forth.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll down the Royal Mile - "the largest, longest and finest street in the world", according to Daniel Defoe - leading to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The majestic Tolbooth Kirk on the Lawnmarket has been renovated to create the Hub, housing the Edinburgh Festival box office, art gallery and lively outdoor bistro café. Opposite is the Scotch Whisky Heritage centre - everything you wanted to know about whisky but were afraid to ask - with tipples from a vast array of malts. Nearby the winding cobbled Victoria Street, with brightly painted shops is perfect for browsing - antiques, jewelry, second hand books.
Continue down the Royal Mile and observe the names of ancient alleyways, Advocates, Fishmarket, Fleshmarket and Anchor Close - where the first Encylopaedia Britannica was published as well as the poems of Robert Burns.
Down near the Palace the white tent-like structure of Dynamic Earth, a Millennium funded project offers an geological adventure of discovery for all ages. Experience 4,500 millions years on a virtual reality journey, through earthquakes, erupting volcanoes, the ice age, rain forests, oceans and all the natural habitats of the world.
Do take time to explore the New Town, along Heriot Row and Moray Place, around crescents and gardens to the Hampstead-like village of Stockbridge, on the Water of Leith, with bars, bistros and quirky shops. Nearby are the Botanical Gardens, with a relaxing Chinese Garden, complete with waterfall and pagoda, and rare exotic plants.
Edinburgh has always been a city of inspiration for poets and writers. With monuments, statues, a Writers` museum, and even the Waverley railway station named after Walter Scott`s novels, there is a living sense of pride in its literary past. The Writer's Museum in Lady Stair's House, off the Royal Mile, is dedicated to Robert Burns (who stayed in a house opposite during his first visit to Edinburgh in 1786), Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. A recommended evening jaunt is to join the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, a witty and dramatic 2 hour romp led by actors through 300 years of Scottish literature from Burns and Stevenson to Muriel Spark and Irvine Welsh.
For fans of Ian Rankin`s dark and chilling thrillers, there are now Inspector Rebus walking tours, taking you off the beaten track to the real settings of the novels and scenes of crime and murder.
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