A Day in Edinburgh, Scotland

Bandsmen practicing for the Edinburgh Tattoo in Edinburgh Castle

Established in the 12th century (c.1130) by King David 1, Edinburgh is one of Scotland's earliest royal burghs (or borough, as it is known in England). Still overlooked by its Medieval castle, the Edinburgh of today is a mix of the old and the new. As part of our visit to Scotland, Becca gave us a tour of the city she has come to love during her university days there.

The firing of the one o'clock cannon from the castle a tradition dating back to 1861

Originally sounded to enable the ships in Leith Harbour to set their clocks accurately, the “one o'clock gun” is now a very popular tourist attraction.

Although we only had this one day, we just had to visit the castle itself

This is West Bow, Victoria Street, one of the most famous streets in Edinburgh

If you continue on downhill from the Royal Mile, you come to West Bow, leading to Grassmarket, and many of the oldest buildings in the city can be seen there. The word “bow” is the old name for “arch”, as this was the original entrance into the city.

Colourful houses in West Bow, Edinburgh

This area is now the trendy part of the city, with shops, restaurants and bars, full of locals and tourists alike.

This claims to be the smallest pub in Scotland

This public house has only been here since 2013, but its décor fits in very well with the rest of the street. It is so tiny, that it only has room for 20 drinkers, at most, as long as they are all standing up. In fact, it doesn’t even have a bar. Customers have to be served from a small drinks cabinet.

This café is very popular because of its tasty food, and literary connections

The Elephant House was a popular haunt of the authors Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith. It was also where JK Rowling wrote the early Harry Potter books, and is now a place for the boy wizard’s fans to hang out, and probably try their hand at writing their own blockbusters.

St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Although St Giles Cathedral, properly called the High Kirk of Edinburgh, was built in the 15th century, its present appearance is as a result of the restoration carried out during the 19th century. This important archaeological landmark also contains over 200 memorials to distinguished Scots.

Memorial to John Knox,
leader of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland

John Knox preached his first sermon on the Reformation at St. Giles in 1559. And was instrumental in spreading the Presbyterian form of Protestantism throughout Scotland.

St Giles is also renowned for its beautiful stained glass windows

Other memorials to famous Scots can be found all over the city. The image below shows the enormous Gothic tribute to Sir Walter Scott, the writer. It is the largest monument to a writer seen anywhere in the world. In fact, the author Bill Bryson likened it to a ‘gothic rocket ship’. …and you can see why.

Memorial to Sir Walter Scott

Edinburgh is a fascinating city, and its rich history, together with its vibrant lifestyle, makes it a city you can visit over and over again. It is definitely on my list for future visits.

Good night, Edinburgh, and thanks for all the fun!

Elizabeth Coughlan

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