Last month as I sat in the movie theater to see T2 Trainspotting I was reminded just how picturesque Scotland is. As viewers get to catch up with the characters created 20-some years ago by one of my favorite authors, Irvine Welsh, we are treated to some lovely shots. Indeed, I feel like I know Edinburgh already as most of Welsh’s novels are set in the city, albeit in rather working class areas. Whether it is the scenic park with panoramic views or a charming old city with cobblestone streets there’s something special about Edinburgh. That’s why Edinburgh is on my Must See travel bucketlist!
Obviously I can’t highlight everything in Edinburgh. But I have selected three spots of interest that would be at the top of my list on a visit to the Scottish capital.
Holyrood Park is a 650 acre royal park situated about a mile east of Edinburgh Castle. It was recognized in 1541 by James V when the land was enclosed with a stone wall.
The park has several notable natural features that inspire awe. Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the hills which form the park. From the top of Arthur’s Seat, visitors can get impressive views. Salisbury Crags are a series of cliffs while Samson’s Ribs are a formation of columnar basalt. There’s also a shallow man-made loch called St Margaret’s Loch.
In addition to natural wonders, there are also historic man-made features in Holyrood Park. There are ruins from an Augustinian Abbey, a Palace, and a chapel. There is really something for everyone who is willing to put on some good walking shoes and adopt a sense of adventure.
The Royal Mile
The central attraction in the heart of the city’s Old Town is The Royal Mile. Situated within a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Royal Mile is a “Scots mile” long, making it just slightly longer than what is traditionally referred to as a mile. The Royal Mile is a busy strip and isn’t a single street. In fact, the Mile is made up of Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, and Canongate.
Along the Mile you’ll find shops, restaurants, and attractions. It is also where you will find important and historic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse (the Queen’s official residence in Scotland), Scottish Parliament and St Giles Cathedral.
Understandably, Edinburgh Castle is the city’s most visited attraction. It is located on Castle Rock at the top of The Royal Mile. The castle was originally built in the Iron Age. It’s the location of Queen Margaret’s death in 1093. In 1314 it was taken from the English by Thomas Randolph. And in 1566 James VI was born to Mary Queen of Scots. In short, the castle is rich with history.
Want to see what other locations are on My Must See travel bucket list? Explore previously featured locations!
Photo of Edinburgh Castle courtesy This is Edinburgh (edinburgh.org), city skyline at dusk and Arthur’s Seat courtesy City of Edinburgh Council.