31 Replies Latest reply: Apr 23, 2014 4:02 PM by GABill RSS

Edinburgh

profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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Hi all,

I had to change my dates for next month's trip so I decided to change my destination to -- a first ever trip to Edinburgh for four days.  I'll be staying at the Caledonian Waldorf Astoria with Edinburgh Castle view, and I know most of my medieval history of Edinburgh, but any hints for must sees would be welcome.  Also, maybe someone like Arkwright on the other side of the pond can tell me whether it's possible to get to Lindisfarne Island. Thanks!

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    fschumpert Platinum 22 Reviews
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    Prof, since you're also a history buff, I'd suggest you visit St. Giles Cathedral, where the reformer, John Knox, preached, just a "stone's throw" from the Edinburgh Castle. Knox is buried in the parking lot, # 26, I believe, as he did not want a headstone or any commeroration to his name. Down the street is the Holy Rood, home of the former queen, whom Knox opposed on multiple occasions. He once remarked that he "feared the Mass more than if 1,000 ships landed at Port Lethy. Forth River Bridge, Edinburgh, IMG00342[1].jpgI took this photo of River Forth Bridge one evening while dining at pub outside the city.  If you're a golf fan, you might want to drive to St. Andrews. You probably won't be able to get into the R&A (Royal & Ancient) Club  Ken Ellis_0008.jpgoverlooking hole No. 1, but I had the good fortune of traveling with someone who had credentials and we were privileged to eat lunch there - only 1,100 members in R&A worldwide. (Club below)

     

    Ken Ellis_0002.jpg

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    • Re: Edinburgh
      profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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      I'm teaching Tudor England this semester (which includes both Mary Queen of Scots and John Knox, so I will definitely do so).  Knox was quite the ladies' man (NOT) especially after he published his First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regimen of Women .

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      • Re: Edinburgh
        bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
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        If I'm not mistaken, you can visit John Knox's house (below) in Edinburgh, though I did not have time with all the other things I tried to cram into just a few days.

         

        John Knox House.jpg

         

        It's on the Royal mile, not far from St. Giles.

        Saint Giles Cathedral.jpg

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    jakeal Gold 15 Reviews
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    prof,

     

    I have not been to Edinburgh, but am a fan of a Scotish brewery that has a location in Edinburgh (BrewDog Edinburgh | Craft Beer Bar Edinburgh).  If you enjoy a good beer you should try some of their brews.  I highly recommend them.

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
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    Definitely visit the Castle. Wander along the Royal Mile. Tour at least one of the old houses there (Gladstone's Land or the Writers' Museum are good choices). I loved the Museum of Edinburgh (free). Learned a ton about the city. Some other attractions nearby are designed to part tourists from their money (the Scottish Whisky Centre comes to mind). Better to tour a distillery if you're interested in how Scotch is made.


    Consider taking the train from Edinburgh to Stirling. From the train station you can take a cab up the hill to Stirling Castle (gateway to the Highlands). Well worth the journey. Make it a day trip so you can really take your time to explore. Of course, there is plenty to see in "Auld Reekie" that you could easily fill four days. I'll look for some photos from my trip in 2007 and post them. Perhaps that will jog my memory of other things you won't want to miss.

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    • Re: Edinburgh
      bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
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      Here are just a few pictures to whet your appetite.

       

      Anchor Close.jpg

      Anchor Close (street where the Encyclopedia Britannica began) looking down from the Royal Mile.

      Royal Mile.jpg

       

      Sir Walter Scott Monument.jpg

      Sir Walter Scott Monument (you can climb to the top). Next are 3 views from the top.

      Edinburgh Castle from the top of Scott Monument.jpg

      Old town from the top of Scott Monument.jpg

      new town from inside Edinburgh Castle.jpg

      Writer's Museum 2.jpg

      Writers' Museum (also known as Lady Stair's House)

       

      World's End Close.jpg

      One of many closes in the city (many lead to interesting courtyards)

      Victoria Terrace.jpg

      Victoria Terrace (near Edinburgh Castle)

       

      Holyrood Palace (climbing Arthur's seat).jpg

      Holy Rood Place (from about halfway to the top of Arthur's Seat)

       

      Greyfriar's Bobby 2.jpg

      Statue of Greyfriar's Bobby.

       

      Plenty to see and do. A little research into your interests before you go can be a huge help when deciding what to see.

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      • Re: Edinburgh
        profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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        Hi bejacob -- this looks great -- just the kind of things I most enjoy!  Is there any warning before World's End Close?

         

        I was also thinking of day trips (which look available through excursions) to Hadrian's Wall and some of the castles.  Any that you would particularly recommend?

        Best, ProfC

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        • Re: Edinburgh
          bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
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          I did get to see some of the ruined abbeys in northern England (Jedburgh, Melrose) and also visited Berwick-upon-Tweed (practically on the England/Scotland border). That's about as far into Northumberland as I made it, so I don't really have any tips on what to see in that area. I do suggest Stirling, though (as I mentioned earlier). Easy day trip and the view of the surrounding countryside from the castle is stunning.

           

          In any case, you'll have no difficulty finding plenty to keep you occupied. Edinburgh is farily compact (at least the around the "old city" and "new city"), though the environs do spread a long way along the Firth of Forth. I never made it to Queensferry or any of the other areas along the water, but there are a number of things to do there as well.

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          • Re: Edinburgh
            profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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            Thanks, bejacob!  Most of what I want to spend time in in Edinburgh will be in the medieval and 16th C. parts and castles.  I've checked online and it looks like there are a number of excursions that go to Stirling and some to Hadrian's Wall.  On a previous trip many years ago I made it to Northumberland/Northumbria (I keep forgetting which is the medieval and which the modern name) as far as Durham, which was great -- but since I've been there the remains of the Roman wall would be mostly what I would want to see in the border area.

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            • Re: Edinburgh
              fschumpert Platinum 22 Reviews
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              Stirling Castle is well worth the visit, although a good hike from Edinburgh. Don't forget to pay homage at William Wallace monument. I've walked over portion of Hadrian's Wall, near Carlisle, and while only remains of original construction, it's still impressive.

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              • Re: Edinburgh
                profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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                If I go to the wall or castle it will be a tour or excursion since it's my first trip to Scotland, and there is no way I would ever be able to drive in the UK.  I am a very good driver here, but I am rather dyslexic and uncoordinated when it comes to mental reactions to physical directions.  My doctor laughs when she tries to get me to do the simplest maneuvers with my hands because I always somehow do the complete opposite.  So for the better preservation of Scots, I will only take a tour bus .

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      • Re: Edinburgh
        psudad Alumni Steward Gold 3 Reviews
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        Wonderful pictures.

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    psudad Alumni Steward Gold 3 Reviews
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    Twelve miles south of Edinburgh is Borthwick Castle, a refuge for Mary Queen of Scots and Earl of Bothwell.  My wife and I stopped here when driving through England and Scotland (she is a huge fan and student of Tudor England).  Though we didn't stay there, it is a hotel and you can stay in Mary's or the Earl's room.  I was just checking the site, though, and it appears it may be going through a renovation, so I'm not sure about current access.  http://borthwickcastle.com/about/

     

    Then, a bit north of Edinburgh, in Perth, is Scotland's oldest distillery.  Toured it when they were only making whiskey labelled undert the distillery's name, Glenturret.  They now product the Famous Grouse, as well.  Whisky Distillery Scotland - Tour The Famous Grouse Experience

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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    Thanks for the great information!  I personally think MQ of Scots was a twit, but obviously she's very important for the history of Tudor England so I am definitely interested in seeing all sites associated with her as well as a monument to Scottish independence !

     

    Alas, I can't stand whiskey or any hard liquor.  As I said, strictly a wino…  Fortunately the hotel where I am staying seems to have an excellent French restaurant or two, because the one time I was more or less forced by niceties to eat haggis, I threw up into my napkin on my plate.  But I fully appreciate the long working and friendly relationship between the Scots and French against the English many a year ago.

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    • Re: Edinburgh
      fschumpert Platinum 22 Reviews
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      Regarding Mary, I once stayed in a B&B at the Castle Farm in Fotheringhay, between Stamford and Market Harborough, Northamptonshire, in the Midlands of England. The church photo I took is in Fotheringhay, and is across the street from the inn where Mary's executor stayed the night before she was beheaded. Just a bit of nostalgia. Mary's castle home is no longer there as it was torn down some years ago; all that remains is a stairwell relocated to a pub in Upper Benefield, west of Oundle, if I remember correctly.

       

      fotheringhaychurch011_11.jpg

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      • Re: Edinburgh
        profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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        TORN DOWN???!?!?  Egads, my historian's head is about to explode!

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        • Re: Edinburgh
          fschumpert Platinum 22 Reviews
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          Just south of Edinburgh is Penicuik where you might enjoy touring Edinburgh Glass (crystal), some of the finest in the world. If you'd like to get away for the weekend in the country, try the Trossachs, NW of Stirling, and the town of Callander, where Sir Walter Scott spent a lot of time and where he wrote, "Lady of the Lake" (Loch Katrine), and home of legendary, Scotsman, Rob Roy.  We stayed at a fine B&B in Callander, Dundarroch House.

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    tommo781 Gold 8 Reviews
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    Edinburgh is a wonderful city, and we have been there several times, most recently last May.

     

    I know I have said this for other places as well, but TAKE A TOUR BUS!  There are several choices of routes in and around Edinburgh.  They are all hop on/hop off, so make for excellent city transport. 

     

    Edinburgh Bus Tours

     

    The main terminus for the buses is not far from your hotel. The Majestic Tour takes you out to Leith, where you can do a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, which used to be the Queen's Yacht and is very interesting.

     

    If you are a fan of really good restaurants, do try The Castle Terrace.  It is TERRIFIC for lunch.  The fixed price menu is an absolute bargain at £28.50.  You may need to book though.

     

    Welcome to Castle Terrace Restaurant, Edinburgh

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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    Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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    I just had a lunch with a colleague in English and she suggested I eat at the Witchery but make reservations now.  I checked the archives and found that chrisf suggested it in 2012.  Thanks!

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    • Re: Edinburgh
      psudad Alumni Steward Gold 3 Reviews
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      Just looked at the website.  Looks like fun - and delicious!  And you're in luck, they have a haggis appetizer!

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      • Re: Edinburgh
        profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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        OH.

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    • Re: Edinburgh
      tommo781 Gold 8 Reviews
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      I have eaten at The Witchery too, and it is very good.  But I would honestly say The Castle Terrace is much, much better, especially if you enjoy the treat of a fine dining experience.  On Trip Advisor The Castle Terrace is number 1 from 1772, whereas The Witchery is 400, and from my own experience, I would say that's about right.

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      • Re: Edinburgh
        profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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        Thanks, tommo!  I just looked at their menu (Castle Terrace) and it looks wonderful, with lots of fish.  Thanks all for the tips.  It will really help make my first experience in Edinburgh so much more special.

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        • Re: Edinburgh
          tommo781 Gold 8 Reviews
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          You are more than welcome.  We were so impressed with The Castle, it is on our Top 10 Restaurants EVER!  And we have been to many all over the world (yes we are getting on a bit).  Just make sure you (or the concierge at the hotel) book before you go.

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          • Re: Edinburgh
            profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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            Thanks for the heads up!  Do you think that's true even for lunch?  I don't usually eat dinner when abroad, but a late lunch.

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            • Re: Edinburgh
              tommo781 Gold 8 Reviews
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              When we went it was lunchtime.  We booked, but could have got in without a reservation.  However it was quite busy.  I would get the concierge to book for you when you get to Edinburgh, or, if you know which day you want to go, you can book online in advance.  Hope that helps.

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              • Re: Edinburgh
                profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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                Thanks, tommo!  I usually have not had to most places, though I only squeaked by in the wonderful Turkish restaurant next to the British Museum because I was still on US time and really hungry, so I got in before the crowd.  Though I was asked if I thought I could finish by 1pm in view of their reservations .  Wasn't a problem and the food was fabulous.

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  • Re: Edinburgh
    GABill Platinum
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    Also, the Rosslyn Chapel is an easy cab ride from your hotel. Even if you are not one of Mr. Brown's fans, the chapel does have a very interesting history (and there is something hidden in one of the columns).

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    • Re: Edinburgh
      profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
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      Thanks GABill! Alas (!!!) I ended up in Nice instead.  It was a Delta FF ticket so I changed it four times altogether.  Finally when I saw the weather forecast for constant rain in Edinburgh I decided to change to Nice. After the horrific winter we've had in Maine I needed to go some place sunny and warm, and Nice, though normally not my favorite part of France, did not disappoint.

      Cheers, ProfC

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      • Re: Edinburgh
        GABill Platinum
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        Too bad. I think that you would have really enjoyed Rosslyn Chapel, given your predisposition towards thing medieval. It was built in the 1400's.

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