Overview

Built on extinct volcanoes atop an inlet from the North Sea (the Firth of Forth) and enveloped by rolling hills, lakes (lochs), and forests, Edinburgh invites exploration. This is a city of elegant streets, cobbled alleys, and incomparable sunsets.

Edinburgh (pronounced Edin-burra) is also a busy, noisy place with a spectacular landscape of hills and crags. The buildings of this vibrant capital city , from the historic houses of the Royal Mile to the elegant Georgian terraces and crescents of the New Town, offer the perfect complement to the natural setting. The city’s layout is linear, in a pattern set by Castle Rock and Castle Ridge, down which the Royal Mile descends to the palace of Holyroodhouse. North of this lies a shallow valley holding the lovely Princes Street Gardens, with Waverley Station, the city’s main railroad station at the eastern end. Above the gardens, and to the north is Edinburgh’s main street, Princes Street. This is an ideal vantage point from which to view the castle and Old Edinburgh.

Edinburgh’s famous castle is especially beautiful. Upon entering the city, it commands immediate attention. The eye of the visitor is drawn to the impressive structure rising high above everything else on its sheer granite cliffs. There are incredible panoramic views from the upper stories of the castle, including a clear view of the distant sea. The castle sits high on the huge rock formation that juts out as if in defiance of any who would seek to invade Edinburgh. Castle Rock, as it is known, is inaccessible on three sides, and has a long, descending ridge on the fourth side.

Studded with volcanic hills, Edinburgh has an incomparable location on the southern edge of the enormous Firth (River) of Forth. From the west end, beyond craggy Arthur’s Seat and over the waters of the Firth of Forth, can be seen the Old and New Towns. Most of the city’s sights are contained within these two districts: The Old Town is crowded with multistoried tenements dating from the 15th century and has ancient winding streets dotted with closes (entrances) and wynds (alleyways) on either side. The New Town, on the other hand, presents an orderly arrangement of Georgian buildings and a symmetrical grid of streets.

The effect of sightseeing in these two areas is that of stepping back in time, while still being in the present. At the same moment, you are in a totally intact medieval city, with all the original buildings, yet the people around you are from the modern day, and stores as we know them are functioning within the ancient structures. The contrast is incredible.

Edinburgh

To the north of the city center is Leith, Edinburgh’s main port, which has shed its rough, waterfront image to become a fashionable area of pubs and restaurants. Leith Links is a favorite with golfers. The Links claim to be one of the earliest sites of the great game, in fact, dating from 1593 when the first set of the official rules was formulated there.

Portobello to the east is where Edinburgh’s citizens and summer visitors spend time on the beach. To the west, medieval South Queensferry sits in the shadow of two large bridges that span the Firth of Forth. To the south, near Holyrood Park, is picturesque Duddingston. The attractive streets of Duddingston run down to a loch which is part of a bird sanctuary. It is always thronged with geese and other interesting waterfowl.

Edinburgh is a fine destination for a family vacation. Small children will delight in just running up and down the Royal Mile. A ride on the double decker bus is also a treat. Older children will rise to the challenge of climbing the steps to Arthur’s Seat, and exploring what remains of the castle. The important things to keep in mind are to vary the activities of the day and to move at a leisurely pace. As long as children have ample opportunities to exercise and play, and have meals at regular intervals, they can tolerate and even enjoy many of the museums and exhibits that are of interest to adults. Plan the day and then cross off about half of that ambitious schedule, and add time to “run in the park” or “watch the geese on the pond”, and you have the basic ingredients for a day of smiles and good humor.

Edinburgh is filled with historic and literary association: John Knox, Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson), Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Walter Scott, and Bonnie Prince Charlie are all part of its past.

Many visitors entering into the ongoing debate over which is the best tasting malt whisky served in Edinburgh. The contenders are many: Highland malts, Lowland malts, Campeltown malts, Islay malts, to name a few. Many other nations have tried to replicate Scotch whisky, but none has succeeded. There is no way to authentically reproduce the Scottish combination of damp climate and soft water flowing through the peat at just the right temperature to produce the malt that forms the basis of the beverage.

Edinburgh’s close proximity to England, and its multicultural, sophisticated population set it apart. Its vibrant pub and club scene, its college population combined with the ever-growing Edinburgh International Festival and action packed list of cultural events, make this a city that is truly cosmopolitan and renowned world-wide.

Things to do

City Art Centre

City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DE
0131/529-3993
Admission Free

Dynamic Earth

Holyrood Rd.
0131/550-7800
Apr-Oct daily 10am-6pm; Nov-Mar Wed-Sun 10am-5pm
Bus: 1 or 6
Admission charged
About a decade ago, a beer distributor donated its Edinburgh brewery to the city with the provision it be used for a permanent attraction with educational benefits for the community at large. The result is a stone amphitheater capped by a translucent tent. An interconnected series of galleries celebrate the natural diversity of the physical earth, with emphasis on the seismological and biological processes that led to the physical world we know today.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Castlehill, at the western end of the Royal Mile
0131/225-9846
Apr-Sept daily 9:30am-5:15pm; Oct-Mar daily 9:30am-4:15pm
Admission charged
No place in Scotland is filled with as much history, legend, and lore as Edinburgh Castle, one of the highlights of a visit to Edinburgh. It is believed the ancient city grew up on the seat of a dead volcano, Castle Rock. The early history is vague, though it’s known that in the 11th century Malcolm III (Canmore) and his Saxon queen, later venerated as St. Margaret, founded a castle on this spot. The only fragment left of their castle is St. Margaret’s Chapel, built in the Norman style, an oblong structure dating from the 12th century.

Edinburgh Zoo

134 Corstorphine Rd.
0131/334-9171
Apr-Sept daily 9am-6pm; Oct and Mar Mon-Sat 9am-4:30pm, Sun 9:30am-5; Nov-Feb Mon-Sat 9am-4:30pm
Bus: 2, 26, 69, 85, or 86
Admission charged.
This zoo is Scotland’s largest animal collection, 10 minutes from Edinburgh’s city center on 80 acres of hillside parkland offering unrivaled views from the Pentlands to the Firth of Forth. It contains more than 1,500 animals, including many endangered species: snow leopards, white rhinos, pygmy hippos, and many more. The zoo contains the largest penguin colony in Europe, with four species, plus the world’s largest penguin enclosure. April to September: a penguin parade is held daily at 2pm.

Georgian House

7 Charlotte Sq
0131/225-2160
Apr-Oct Mon-Sat 10am-4:30pm, Sun 2-4:30pm
Bus: 2, 12, 26, or 31
Admission charged
Architecturally, the most interesting district of New Town is the north side of Charlotte Square, designed by Robert Adam. Together with his brother, James, he developed a symmetrical but airy style with an elegant reworking of Greek and Roman classical motifs. Their influence was widespread in Britain and America, especially in the U.S. South. Georgian House has been refurbished and opened to the public by Scotland’s National Trust. The furniture in this Adam house is mainly Hepplewhite, Chippendale, and Sheraton, all from the 18th century. In a ground-floor bedroom is a sturdy old four-poster with an original 18th-century canopy. The dining-room table is set with fine Wedgwood china and the kitchen stocked with gleaming copper pots and pans.

Gladstone’s Land

477B Lawnmarket
0131/226-5856
Apr-Oct Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2-5pm
Admission charged
This 17th-century merchant’s house is furnished and kept in its original style. On the ground floor is a reconstructed shop booth displaying replicas of goods of the period, and an upstairs four-room apartment is furnished as it might have been in the 17th century. It is one of the stops as one walks along the Royal Mile. the house makes clear the crowded living conditions, even for those who were reasonably well off, before the construction of the New Town.

Grassmarket

Grassmarket is one of Edinburgh’s nightlife centers, with numerous restaurants and pubs. An open area hedged by tall tenements and dominated by the castle, it can be approached from George IV Bridge, via Victoria St, an unusual two-tiered street clinging to the ridge below the Royal Mile. There are also some excellent shops in the area. The site of a market from at least 1477 to the start of the 20th century, Grassmarket was always the focal point for the Old Town. This was the main place for executions and over 100 hanged Covenanters are commemorated with a cross at the east end. The notorious murderers Burke and Hare operated from a close off the west end. Around 1827 they lured at least 18 victims there, suffocated them and sold the bodies to Edinburgh’s medical schools. Leading off from the southeast corner, Candlemaker Row climbs back up to the George IV Bridge and Chambers St with the Royal Museum of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College.

Greyfriars Presbyterian Kirk (Church) & Kirkyard

Near the south end of George IV Bridge, at the junction with Candlemaker Row. It is directly opposite the new Museum of Scotland and the Royal Museum of Scotland. It is on bus routes 2/12, 23, 24, 27, 28-29, 40-42 and 45-47 and tour buses.
The church is open to visitors April-October, Monday-Friday, 10.30-4.30, Saturday 10.30-2.30. From November-March, Thursdays 1.30-3.30 and at other times by arrangement with the Visitors Officer.
Visitors are welcome at all services. Many visitors may be interested in the Gaelic services held at 12.30 pm on Sundays – the only weekly Gaelic worship in southeast Scotland.
www.greyfriarskirk.com

Greyfriars Presbyterian Kirk

At the bottom of a stone canyon made up of tenements, churches, volcanic cliffs and the castle, Greyfriars Kirkyard is a peaceful oasis dotted with memorials and surrounded by Edinburgh’s dramatic skyline. The kirk (church) was built on the site of a Franciscan friary and opened for worship on Christmas Day 1620. In 1638, the National Covenant was signed inside near the pulpit. The covenant rejected Charles I’s attempts to reintroduce episcopacy and a new English prayer book, and affirmed the independence of the Scottish church. Many who signed were later executed in Grassmarket and, in 1679, 1200 Covenanters were held prisoner in terrible conditions in an enclosure in the yard. There’s a small exhibition inside.

High Kirk of St. Giles

High St.
0131/225-9442
Easter-Sept Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm; October-Easter Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm. Sun services at 8, 10 and 11:30am and 6 and 8pm
Free Admission, but donation suggested
A group of cathedral guides is available at all times to conduct tours.
Built in 1120, and a short walk downhill from Edinburgh Castle, this church is one of the most important architectural landmarks along the Royal Mile. It combines a stone exterior with surprisingly graceful and delicate flying buttresses. One of its outstanding features is its Thistle Chapel, housing beautiful stalls and notable heraldic stained-glass windows. A particularly severe period in its history occurred between 1560 and 1572, when John Knox, the strict leader of the Reformation in Scotland, was its minister.

Holyrood Park

Edinburgh is blessed in having a real wilderness on its doorstep. The former hunting grounds of Scottish monarchs, it covers 1 sq mile of varied landscape, including hills, moorland, lochs and fields. The highest point is Arthur’s Seat 823ft. high. This is an eroded stump of lava flow that erupted around 325 million years ago. It forms part of a volcano that includes Calton Hill and Castle Rock. The park can be circled along Queen’s Drive by car or bicycle. There are several excellent walks within it.

Huntly House

142 Canongate
0131/529-4143
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; during the Edinburgh Festival, also Sun 2-5pm
Bus: 1
Free Admission
Across from the Canongate Tolbooth is this fine example of a restored 16th-century mansion, whose builders preferred a bulky, relatively simple design that suited its role as a secular, rather than an ecclesiastical, building. Today, it functions as Edinburgh’s principal museum of local history. The interior contains faithfully crafted reproductions of rooms inspired by the city’s traditional industries, including exhibits devoted to glass molding, pottery, wool processing, and cabinetry, with a focus on the struggles of the workers who labored within.

John Knox House

43-45 High St.
0131/556-9579
Mon-Sat 9:45am-4:30pm
Admission charged
John Knox is the reformer who founded the Scottish Presbyterian church. His late 15th-century house, with its timbered gallery, is characteristic of the properties that used to line the Royal Mile. The Oak Room has a frescoed ceiling and contains Knox family memorabilia.

Lincoln Monument

This monument was erected in 1893. It was dedicated to the thousands of American soldiers of Scottish descent who lost their lives in America’s Civil War.

National Gallery of Modern Art

Belford Rd.
0131/556-8921
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2-5pm
Free Admission, except for some temporary exhibits.
Bus: 13 stops by the gallery but is infrequent; nos. 18, 20, and 41 pass along Queensferry Rd., a 5-minute walk up Queensferry Terrace and Belford Rd. from the gallery.
In 1984, Scotland’s national collection of 20th-century art moved into a gallery converted from an 1828 school set in 12 acres of grounds a 15-minute walk from the west end of Princes Street. The collection is international in scope and quality though modest in size. Major sculptures outside include pieces by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Inside the collection ranges from works of cubist Braque and Picasso to recent works by Paolozzi. English and Scottish art is strongly represented. Works of artists from Europe and America, notably Matisse, Mir, Kirchner, Kokoschka, Ernst, Ben Nicholson, Nevelson, Balthus, Lichtenstein, Kitaj, and Hockney are displayed. Prints are also exhibited.

National Gallery of Scotland

0131/624-6200
2 The Mound
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2-5pm; during the Edinburgh Festival, Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-6pm
Bus: 3, 21, or 26
Free Admission
In the center of Princes Street Gardens, this gallery is small, but the collection was chosen with great care and has been expanded considerably by bequests, gifts, and loans. A recent major acquisition was Giulio Romano’s Vičrge ā La Légende. Other important Italian paintings are Verrocchio’s Ruskin Madonna, Andrea del Sarto’s Portrait of a Man, Domenichino’s Adoration of the Shepherds, and Tiepolo’s Finding of Moses. There are also works by El Greco and Velāzquez.

National Museum of Scotland (NMS)

Chambers St.
0131/227-4422
Mon and Wed-Sat 10am-5pm, Tues 10am-8pm, Sun noon-5pm
Walk south from Waverley Station for 10 min. to reach Chambers St. or take bus no. 3, 7, 21, 30, 31, 53, 69, or 80.
Admission charged ; but free for children under 18; supplement for some temporary exhibits
After being housed in several locations during the 1990s, the long-established Royal Scottish Museum and the National Museum of Antiquities were united in a single headquarters early in 1998. The resulting National Museum of Scotland, occupies an 1861 building near the Royal Mile that has been upgraded and enlarged with a postmodern wing. Displays include Scotland’s most impressive collection of decorative arts, ethnography, natural history, geology, archaeology, technology, and science.

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD
0131 /624 -6200
Free Admission

Outlook Tower and Camera Obscura

Outlook Tower

Castlehill
0131/226-3709
Apr-Oct Mon-Fri 9:30am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm; July to 7:30pm and Aug to 7pm; Nov-Mar daily 10am-5pm
Admission charged
This 1853 periscope at the top of the Outlook Tower throws a revolving image of nearby streets and buildings onto a circular table. Trained guides point out the landmarks and talk about Edinburgh’s fascinating history. In addition, there are several entertaining exhibits, all with an optical theme, as well as a well-stocked shop selling books, crafts, and CDs.

Palace of Holyrood House

Canongate, at the eastern end of the Royal Mile
0131/556-7371
Daily 9:30am-4:45pm, Sun 10:30am-4:40pm
Closed the last 2 weeks in May and 3 weeks in late June and early July (dates vary)
Admission charged
Early in the 16th century, this palace was built by James IV adjacent to an Augustinian abbey David I had established in the 12th century. The nave of the abbey church, now in ruins, still remains, but only the north tower of James’s palace is left. Most of what is seen was built by Charles II after Scotland and England were united in the 17th century. The palace suffered long periods of neglect. It had a brief moment of recognition in the mid-18th century when Bonnie Prince Charlie spearheaded a failed effort to unite all of the Scottish clans in their struggle against the English.

Princes Street Gardens

As the New Town grew, the city leaders decided to turn the area below Edinburgh Castle into the Princes Street Gardens, now one of the city’s most beautiful spots. The gardens’ chief landmark is the Scott Monument, though many find the summer flowers an even bigger attraction.

Royal Botanic Garden

At the Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith Row
0131/552-7171
Daily: April – August 9:30am to 7pm, March and September 9:30am to 6pm, February and October 9:30am to 5pm, and November to January 9:30am to 4pm.
Admission charged is by voluntary donation.
The main areas of interest are the Exhibition Hall, Alpine House, Demonstration Garden, annual and herbaceous borders (summer only), copse, Woodland Garden, Wild Garden, Arboretum, Peat Garden, Rock Garden, Heath Garden, and Pond.

Royal Observatory Visitor Centre

Blackford Hill
0131/668-8405
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun noon-5pm Bus: 40 or 41
Admission charged; free for children 4 and under
This center in a public park on Edinburgh’s south side exhibits feature images of astronomical objects, Scotland’s largest telescope, and antique instruments. An exhibit called “The Universe” uses photographs, videos, computers, and models to take you on a cosmic whirlwind tour from the beginning of time to the farthest depths of space in a couple of hours. The balcony affords a panoramic view of the city, and the astronomy shop is well stocked.

Royal Museum of Scotland and The adjacent Museum of Scotland

0131 225 7534
Chambers Street
Bus 7,14,28,45
Wed-Sat and Mon. 10-5; Tues. 10-8; Sun. 12-5
Admission charged. Free Tues. 4:30-8
The Royal Museum of Scotland, on Chambers St, is a Victorian building whose grey, solid exterior contrasts with its large, bright, galleried entrance hall of slim wrought-iron columns and glass roof. The museum houses an eclectic, comprehensive series of exhibitions. These range from the natural world (evolution, mammals, geology, fossils) to scientific and industrial technological development – with one section featuring the world’s oldest steam locomotive, Wylam Dilly (1813). There are also exhibits dedicated to the presentation of decorative arts of ancient Egypt, Islam, China, Japan, Korea and the west.

Royal Scottish Academy

The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL.
Tel: 0141 248 7411
Fax: 0141 221 0417
Admission charged
This lovely classical building was designed by William Playfair in 1822. The Academy, founded in 1826, is based on London’s Royal Academy and has both Academicians and Associates. It is in the forefront of art promotion in Scotland. It holds two exhibitions annually: a Students Art Exhibition and the Annual Exhibition. The Academy also leases the facilities to other art organizations such as the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour and the Society of Scottish Artists, who stage their shows in its spacious galleries. It is also an important Festival venue.

University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh Centre
7-11 Nicholson Street
0131 650 2252
Mon-Fri. 9-5
Bus 3,7,21,36
Free Admission
The University of Edinburgh is one of Britain’s oldest, biggest and best universities. Founded in 1583, it now has around 17,000 undergraduates. The students make a major contribution to the lively atmosphere of Grassmarket, Cowgate, and the nearby restaurants and pubs. The university covers some distance, but the center is the Old College (also called Old Quad), at the junction of South Bridge and Chambers St, a Robert Adam masterpiece designed in 1789, but not completed until 1834.

Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre

354 Castlehill
0131/220-0441
Admission charged
Daily 10am-5pm; children 4 and under free
This center is privately funded by a conglomerate of Scotland’s biggest distillers. It highlights the economic effect of whisky on both Scotland and the world and illuminates the centuries-old traditions associated with whisky making, showing the science and art of distilling. You get to see a 7-minute audiovisual show and ride an electric car past 13 sets showing historic moments in the whisky industry. For an extra charge, you can sample two whiskies during the tour. A tour entitling you to sample five whiskies and take away a miniature bottle is L18 ($29.70) per person.

Scott Monument

In the East Princes St. Gardens
0131/529-4068
Mar-May and Oct Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10am-6pm; June-Sept Mon-Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm; Nov-Feb Mon-Sat 9am-4pm, Sun 10am-4pm
Bus: 1 or 6
Admission charged
Looking more like a church spire than a monument to a writer, the Gothic-inspired Scott Monument is Edinburgh’s most famous landmark, completed in the mid-19th century. In the center of the 200+ foot spire is a large seated statue of Sir Walter Scott and his dog, Maida, with Scott’s heroes carved as small figures in the monument. You can climb 287 steps to the top for a spectacular view.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen St.
0131/624-6200
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2-5pm Bus: 18, 20, or 41
Free Admission , except for some temporary exhibits
Housed in a red-stone Victorian Gothic building by Rowand Anderson, this portrait gallery provides an opportunity to see what the famous people of Scottish history looked like. The portraits, several by Ramsay and Raeburn, include notables from Mary Queen of Scots to Flora Macdonald and Sean Connery.

Sir Jules Thorn Exhibition of the History of Surgery / Dental Museum

9 Hill Sq.
0131/527-1649
Mon-Fri 2-4pm
Bus: 31 or 33
Free Admission
Edinburgh’s rich medical history and associations make the Exhibition of the History of Surgery well worth a visit. On the upper floors of a 19th-century town house tucked away in a square, you can chart the development of surgery from 1505 to the 21st century. The exhibits, well presented though sometimes macabre, include such items as a pocketbook made from the skin of the notorious body snatcher William Burke.

The People’s Story

163 Canongate
0131/529-4057
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm (Aug also Sun 2-5pm) Bus 1
Free Admission
This exhibit is reached by walking downhill along Canongate toward Holyroodhouse Canongate Tolbooth was once the courthouse, prison, and center of municipal affairs for the burgh of Canongate. Now it contains a museum called The People’s Story, celebrating the social history of the inhabitants of Edinburgh from the late 18th century to the present, with much emphasis on the cultural displacements of the Industrial Revolution.

Writers’ Museum

In Lady Stair’s House, off Lawnmarket
0131/529-4901
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm
Admission free
This 1622 house takes its name from a former owner, Elizabeth, the dowager countess of Stair. Today, it contains a treasure trove of portraits, relics, and manuscripts relating to three of Scotland’s greatest men of letters: Robert Burns (1759-96), Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94). The Burns collection includes his writing desk, rare manuscripts, portraits, and many other items. Also on display are some of Sir Walter Scott’s possessions, including his pipe, chess set, and original manuscripts. The museum holds one of the most significant Stevenson collections anywhere, including personal belongings, paintings, photographs, and early editions.

Royal Botanic Garden
Inverleith Row
0131/552-7171
Admission charged is by voluntary donation.
Daily, April to August 9:30am to 7pm, March and September 9:30am to 6pm, February and October 9:30am to 5pm, and November to January 9:30am to 4pm.
The main areas of interest are the Exhibition Hall, Alpine House, Demonstration Garden, annual and herbaceous borders (summer only), copse, Woodland Garden, Wild Garden, Arboretum, Peat Garden, Rock Garden, Heath Garden, and Pond.

As the New Town grew, the city fathers decided to turn the area below Edinburgh Castle into the:

Princes Street Gardens

Now one of the city’s main beauty spots. The summer flowers and lovely pathways are the attractions that bring visitors to the gardens.

Attractions Outside of Edinburgh

Dunbar

Dunbar is a holiday resort and small fishing port on the east coast, 30miles from Edinburgh. It was the site of two important battles, both resulting in Scottish losses. Edward I invaded in 1296 and General Monck defeated a larger Scots army in 1650, facilitating Cromwell’s entry into Edinburgh. John Muir (1838-1914), pioneer conservationist and ‘father’ of the US national park service, was born here.

John Muir House

The man’s childhood home, has a small exhibition and audio-visual display on his life. A more adventurous option in the area is offshore diving to sites like Johnson’s Hole or Old Harbour reef.

Haddington

Haddington, straddling the River Tyne 18mi east of Edinburgh, dates back to the 12th century when it was made a royal burgh by David I. Most of the modern town, however, was built between the 17th and 19th century during the period of great prosperity that resulted from the Agricultural Revolution. It’s still a prosperous market town and the administrative centre for East Lothian.

Gifford

Gifford, a picturesque village 4mi south of Haddington, dates from the 17th century. By the 19th century it looked as it does now. Looking down on Main St is Yester Parish Church in which there’s a memorial to John Witherspoon, one of the signatories to the American Declaration of Independence, who was born in the village. The slopes of the Lammermuir Hills begin south of Gifford, where several walking trails begin. You can pick up a snack for your walk from The Little Bread Shop, a small bakery near the river, where the women serve dressed in period costume.

Glasgow

Glasgow

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, and is located a little less than 50 miles from Edinburgh. Springing back to renewed life forty years ago, it is a dynamic, thriving metropolis with superbly preserved 19th century architecture. Glasgow is filled with designer shops, restaurants, and museums, and is known for its beauty and dynamism.

Borders Region

If you head south from Edinburgh, you’ll find the lovely Tweed Valley – rolling hills, forests, castles, ruined abbeys and sheltered towns of the Borders that have a romance and beauty of their own. This is excellent cycling and walking country. Although parts, especially to the west, are wild and empty, the fertile valley of the River Tweed has been a wealthy region for 1000 years. The population was largely concentrated in a small number of burghs (towns, from ‘burh,’ meaning a defensive ring of forts), which also supported large and wealthy monastic communities. These provided an irresistible magnet during the border wars, and they were destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. The monasteries met their final fiery end in the mid-16th century, burnt by the English yet again, but this time English fire combined with the Scottish Reformation and they were never again rebuilt. The towns thrived once peace arrived and the traditional weavers provided the foundation for a major textile industry, which still survives.

Arts and Entertainment

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

(Dance, Music and Theatre)
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2EA
0131 228 1155
Usher Hall
Admission charged

Playhouse Theatre

0131/557-2590
Edinburgh’s largest theater, the 3,100-seat Playhouse Theatre, 18-22 Greenside Place Bus: 7, 14, was built in 1929.

Queen’s Hall

0131/668-2019
The Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street (0131/668-2019; Bus: 3, 33, 31), is home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a major venue for the Edinburgh Festival…

King’s Theatre

2 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LQ
Tel: 0131 529 6000
Fax: 0131 662 1199
Bus: 10, 11), presents a wide repertoire of classical entertainment.
www.eft.co.uk

Edinburgh Folk Club

077-8896-0732
In addition to pubs that sometimes feature folk music, the Edinburgh Folk Club offers Wednesday performances at changing venues from September to June.

Festival Theatre

0131/662-1112 for administration
Opened in 1994 on the eastern edge of Edinburgh, near the old campus of the university, the Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson St. (0131/662-1112)

Queen’s Hall

Clerk Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9JG
Tel: 0131 668 2019
Fax: 0131 668 2656

Open Eye Gallery

5-79 Cumberland Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6RD
Tel: 0131 557 1020
Fax: 0131 557 1020
www.openeyegallery.co.uk

The Dean Gallery

Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR
0131 624 6200

Motherwell Theatre

Civic Centre
Windmillhill Street, Motherwell, ML1 1TW
Tel: 01698 267515
Fax: 01698 268806

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AX
Tel: 0131 248 4848
Fax: 0131 228 3955
The highly respected resident company of the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street Bus: 11, 15

Nightlife

Abbotsford

3 Rose St., New Town
0131/225-1894
Bus: 3, 31, 33
An ever-changing selection of five real ales, bar lunches, and Victorian atmosphere.

Bow Bar

0131/226-7667
Near Edinburgh Castle
80 West Bow
Bus: 2, 12

Cask And Barrel

115 Broughton St., New Town
0131/556-3132
Is a busy pub in which to sample hand-pulled ales at the horseshoe bar, reflected in a collection of brewery mirrors.

Cloisters

26 Brougham St.
Tollcross, West End
0131/221-9997
Is a West End pub specializing in real ales, malt whiskies, and good food, all at reasonable prices.

Café Royal Circle Bar

0131/556-1884
17 W. Register St.
Bus: 3, 31, 33
Edinburgh’s most famous pub.

Carlton Highland Hotel

0131/556-7277
Bus: 3, 31, 33
Some hotels regularly feature traditional Scottish music. You can check with the Carlton Highland Hotel on North Bridge

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