THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT
A great big modern structure near the foot of Edinburgh's Royal Mile. It's open
to the public, and inside you can see where all the important decisions
are made, like whether it's time for another ale or not.
MUSEUM OF EDINBURGH, 142 CANONGATE
There are museums on both sides of the Royal Mile here (that on the
other side of the road is THE PEOPLE'S STORY), in addition to a
churchyard where you can see the burial place (and a modern statue) of
the poet Robert Fergusson. The museums give an excellent flavour of how
Edinburgh came into existence.
MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD, 42 HIGH STREET
Immerse yourself in memories; everything from bars of 'Five Boys'
chocolate to dolls, Action Man, Meccano, and those penny-in-the-slot things you
used to see at fairgrounds. Note: a few doors along there is a sweetie
shop that makes its own fudge. If you wander inside you may be treated
to a free delicious sample (don't say I told you).
ST GILES' CATHEDRAL, ROYAL MILE
It's nice to wander in here on a hot summer's day for no other reason
than that it is always cool inside. This is a cathedral that has
witnessed many of Edinburgh's key events. It is a place where you may
recharge your physical and spiritual batteries.
THE REAL MARY KING'S CLOSE, HIGH STREET
An utterly fascinating attraction. It comprises a complete close (or wynd or lane or whatever you want to call it) that was somehow sealed
centuries ago and then re-discovered. While the remains are a little
ruinous, you can nevertheless still wander into what used to be people's
homes and hear tales from your guide about the 'orrible things that went
on. Oh, and did I mention ghosts? If, on leaving, you pause to wonder if
you've seen anything at all, then slope off for an ale or two. That's my
GLADSTONE'S LAND, 477B LAWNMARKET
This is an excellent opportunity to have a look inside one of the many
tall, thin tenements that line streets in the Old Town. It's never as
busy as the likes of the castle, and so there's room to breathe in here.
You could perhaps do a bit of panting in the old furnished rooms to
raise oxygen saturation levels before once again diving into the melee
that is the Royal Mile.
THE SCOTCH WHISKY EXPERIENCE, 354 CASTLEHILL
Where experiences are concerned, this one's unusual in that it's
pretty good. The highlight is without question a slow ride on a barrel.
I mean, how often in life are you given the opportunity to do such a
thing? And where, you might ask, does the barrel take you? Well,
according to their literature, it's something like this... 'Journey
through gently swaying fields of barley... avoid being ground through
the Malt Mill before being spun and mashed in the Mash Tun... off to the
turbulent wooden Washback with the sound of the sloshing Wash before the
steaming and bubbling Pot Still,' and so on. Not so much a spirituous
experience as a visit to a peaty laundrette. There are also angels and
magic and restful smells and flavours and secrets, although not necessarily in that order. This is the sort of
attraction I often find myself strangely wishing to go around again and again and again.
Bit like the spinning/drying cycle, I suppose.
A magnificent castle with plenty to see, including the Stone of Destiny,
Scotland's Crown Jewels, and views over the whole city all the way to
the Firth of Forth and beyond. There's also plenty to hear, like the
combined screams of a squillion tourists having fun, and the One o'
Clock Gun. You could almost spend a
whole day here peering into every nook and cranny and trying to
determine the trajectory of a jobbie as it leaves the hole in the floor
of each and every medieval closet.
[Check out Historic Scotland's
Edinburgh Castle page]
THERE ARE SO MANY REALLY GOOD THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN THE CITY'S ROYAL
MILE THAT YOU COULD SIMPLY START AT THE CASTLE AND POP YOUR HEAD IN
EVERY DOORWAY BETWEEN THERE AND THE PALACE OF HOLYROODHOUSE. IF YOU FEEL
A BLOW TO THE SIDE OF YOUR HEAD YOU'LL KNOW YOU'VE MISTAKENLY WANDERED
INTO SOMEONE'S HOUSE.
You've just got to see this street. It's wonderful. Apart from
being a visual joy to behold, it is overflowing with interesting shops
selling everything from old books and maps to cheese and jokes and
alchemic bottles of alcohol.
If you fancy a short walk with the promise of views all over Central
Scotland, then this is it. The small hill (more a lump, than a hill) is
located at the east end of Princes Street and can be accessed via steps
from Waterloo Place. There's a sticky-up thing at the top (Nelson
Monument) which you can enter and climb to the top for an intimate view
of the inside of a cloud.
THE EDINBURGH DUNGEON, 31 MARKET STREET
I find these sort of things a bit too scary because invariably there's
some audience participation and it's always me who gets picked for
whatever gruesome spectacle they have in mind. Lots of live actors and
buckets of blood and guts. Great.
PALACE OF HOLYROODHOUSE
If you started at the castle and have worked your way down the Royal
Mile then your feet will probably feel like balloons. Pop in here, see
where the queen stays, check out what is alleged to be ye olde blood
stain, and then collapse on a bit of grass in the nearby park.
THE SOUPSAYER'S DIY DAY TOUR OF EDINBURGH
The Soupsayer has devised a day tour for you. If you're not familiar
with Edinburgh then it may serve as a brief introduction to the city. If
you are familiar with Edinburgh, then it may be regarded as a good day
out. The walk comprises a rough map and route details, one file for
each. In order for you to print them out at full A4 size instead of a
smaller web page size, you should click the links below and save the
files to your computer (go to 'File' then 'Save As..' on your task bar
near the top of the page). Then, open them using, for example, Windows
Picture and Fax Viewer, and print them, adjusting your print preferences
if required so as to give full A4 images. Each file should be printed
out on either side of the
same A4 sheet of paper. Please note that the tour has some steep slopes.
Click HERE for the
for route details
. And remember, be careful out there and, most of all,
LEITH - See separate entry in The Good Soup Guide
DUDDINGSTON - See separate
entry in The Good Soup Guide