The Royal Mile, Edinburgh. Photo by Daniel.
The Royal Mile is the name of a cluster of streets in Edinburgh’s Old Town area. This busy street is, as the name suggests, about a mile long and much of it fairly steeply up/down. At one ends looms Edinburgh Castle while at the other Holyrood Palace. The Royal Mile’s main competitor in the shopping stakes is Princes Street, which is located in Edinburgh’s new town.
Why Edinburgh Travel?
Edinburgh seen from the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill. On the right is the National Monument and on the left the City Observatory. Photo by Duimdog.
Stern, grey 15thC buildings sit on an extinct volcano, lighting a fire under the colourful and sophisticated locals and inspiring a dynamic arts scene that makes this city well worth a trip.
The weather can be dreadful and some areas are a no-no, but summer time, with up to 18 hours of daylight is sensational, especially during August’s Edinburgh Festival or Hogmany (New Year’s Eve).
The strange and controversial architecture of the Scottish Parliament buildings in Holyrood, east Edinburgh. It’s a World heritage Site. Photo by Ad Meskens.
This distinctly odd conglomeration of structures came 4th in a 2008 poll on which UK buildings British people would most like to see demolished.
However architects claim that the structure has achieved a ‘poetic union between the Scottish landscape, its people, its culture, and the city of Edinburgh. ‘
Furthemore it is ‘a tour de force of arts and crafts and quality without parallel in the last 100 years of British architecture’.
Things to Do
This is a very walkable/bikeable city with terrific sights all along the Old Town‘s core, such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile (a long medieval street), St. Giles Cathedral, John Knox House, Holyrood Palace, Holyrood Park and Scott’s Monument.
Edinburgh’s New Town offers less in the way of must-see tourist attractions but the 18th century environment does a great line in must-buy shops, big and small.
Golfers should try the hilarious Bruntsfield links just south of the Old Town and beside The Meadows, or one of many ‘proper’ courses nearby, or get serious and head for St Andrews.
The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, sodden and aromatic, awaits those that love a drop of the hard stuff.
12thC Haddington, Linlithgow, the Borders, Trossachs, and St. Andrews for a game of golf.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s biggest tourist attraction
Edinburgh Castle’s northwest side seen from across Princes Street Gardens. Photo by Mactographer.
Edinburgh Castle gets well over one million visitors a year but does not look like a traditional castle from some angles, presumably because the northwest side hardly needs defending due to the perpendicular rock face known as ‘Castle Rock’.
The section that looks more impressively fortified is the east side, where the ridge slopes up gently and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place.
Castle Rock, 80m (260ft) above the surrounding land, has seen defensive fortifications since 2nd century and royal residence since the 12th century.
Edinburgh Castle is the prime location for major fireworks events, notably during the August Edinburgh Festivals and of course Hogmanay on December 31/January 1.
Our best non-festival experience in Edinburgh, playing ‘golf’ on Bruntsfield Links. Photo by Kim-Traynor.
After Fringe Festival madness, a round golf at one of the oldest courses in the world, the Bruntsfield Links, just a couple of blocks south of Edinburgh castle.
The exact date of first use is unclear though the Golf Tavern on the links west side claims to have been built in 1456. The first mention in legal papers of the course was a council act referring to ‘Goulf’ in 1695 and forbidding any disturbance of players.
No booking necessary, Bruntsfield is cheap cheap, just head for the shed to hire an iron or two and some balls. Try not to hit any little old ladies passing by with their shopping and watch out for dogs running off with your ball. St Andrews, pah! This is the life, cheap, easy and never mind the passers-by.
Bugbog stayed in a B ‘n’ B visible to the right and at least two cars parked in our street received golf balls through their windows during our few days in the stern, grey but boisterous city of Edinburgh.