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!
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. I 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 overlooking 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)
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.
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.
Here are just a few pictures to whet your appetite.
Anchor Close (street where the Encyclopedia Britannica began) looking down from the Royal Mile.
Sir Walter Scott Monument (you can climb to the top). Next are 3 views from the top.
Writers' Museum (also known as Lady Stair's House)
One of many closes in the city (many lead to interesting courtyards)
Victoria Terrace (near Edinburgh Castle)
Holy Rood Place (from about halfway to the top of Arthur's Seat)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 .
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.