Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland is sometimes known as the “Athens of the North”, for its Greek columns on Calton Hill, a group of museums and art galleries.
It is actually divided in two cities, the Old Town where the castle is located and the Georgian New Town with grand squares and wide avenues with elegant facades, a masterpiece of 18th century architecture.
The majestic Edinburgh Castle on top of the Hill
This is by far Scotland’s most important landmark, and Britain’s most visited tourist attraction. Located on a hill overlooking the city, it is a must visit site, and we recommend you purchase tickets in advance in order to avoid the long lines.
The landmarks include the One O'clock Salute from Half Moon Battery, Cannon fire commemorates the tradition of helping ships synchronize their clocks. Another one is the amazing Scottish National War Memorial and the stunning collection of Crown Jewels housed in the Royal Palace. Don’t miss the Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, that was stolen by Edward I, taken to the English Throne in London and only returned to Scotland in 1996.
Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh the Capital of Scotland
The Royal Mile
This is the road linking Edinburgh castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is lined by numerous cafes, museums and inns with restaurants. The buildings a relatively tall, about six to fifteen stories and narrow alleys weave in and around them.
At the upper end near the castle is the Outlook Tower with magnificent views of the city, the Tollbooth or St John’s Highland Church, Gladstone’s Land and Lady Stair’s Close.
National Museum of Scotland
Since its opening in 2011. It has become one of Scotland’s most visited attractions. It features collections from the city’s older museums, such as archaeological collections, medieval artifacts, among them the famous Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal. Among the attractions is some of Elton John’s most elaborated stage costumes.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
Always at the head of Scottish history, this is the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh. In this site James II and James IV were each married and James V and Charles I were crowned.
Visits are allowed to the former apartments of Mary Queen of Scots, famous for their furnishings, plasterwork and tapestries. Do not miss the Great Gallery with portraits of Scottish Kings and take a look at the fountain outside the palace.
The spectacular views from Arthur’s Seat in the 640-acre beautiful park, are awe inspiring.
The easiest way up is from the park's Dunsapie Loch, or the dramatic Salisbury Crags, a series of 151 ft. cliffs adjacent to Arthur's Seat. Another feature is the ancient cultivation terraces examples of ancient farming practices in Scotland.
St Giles Cathedral
This church, consecrated in 1243 is this city’s principal church. Interior highlights include memorials to the fallen WWI soldiers with stained glass windows and a statue of the leader of Protestant Reformation, John Knox.
The Thistle Chapel is known for its marvelous oak carvings, heraldic emblems and seals of the "Knights of the Thistle" which is Scotland's oldest order of knights. Designed in 1911 by Sir Robert Lorimer, it is a real example of Gothic style.
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh the Capital of Scotland
The Royal Botanic Garden
This is the second oldest such garden in Britain, where you’ll find the biggest palm house in the realm; a terraced moorland garden, a heather garden and rare giant trees from the Himalayas, China and North America; Colorful azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas and rhododendrons; an aquatic house with tropical water plants such as the pink water lily from India.
Located in the New Town it stretches for almost a mile and is lined by gardens, fancy shops including the world’s oldest independent department store “Jenner’s”.
At the western end is the House of Frasers and Princes Mall with its small shops set around fountains and cafes, offering great quality. It also includes the 200 ft. tall Sir Walter Scott Monument, and the David Livingstone Memorial, a memorial to the missionary and African explorer.
National Galleries Scotland
In the National Portrait Gallery, you may see paintings by Scotland’s leading artists from the 16th century to the present day among the 65,000 plus pieces of art.
The second largest collection is housed in the Scottish National Gallery, with Scotland’s biggest collection of European paintings and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art displaying paintings by Henry Matisse and Pablo Picasso, surrealistic works by Rene Magritte, Joan Miró and Max Ernst.
The Museum of Childhood
This is a place for fun for children 3 to 99 years of age. It includes old toys, models of railroads, dolls and games from all over the world.
The museums, besides de amount of toys, explores all aspects of growing up, including fashion trends. Adding to the authenticity is a model of a Victorian streetscape complete with outdoor toys, as well as an opportunity to dress up in period costumes and play the kinds of games our ancestors would have enjoyed.
Edinburgh's Science Centre
It is a presentation taking visitors on a 500-million-year journey through the Earth’s history. The special effects used are mind boggling displaying natural effects such as volcanoes, tropical rainstorms and glaciation.
It is located at the foot of Arthur's Seat near Holyrood Park, this unique science center is housed in an ultra-modern tent-like structure and is particularly fun for kids.
Map showing the location of Edinburgh the Capital of Scotland
images credits for capital of scotland
castle by ad meshens
royal mile by rosita ramos
holyroodhouse by chris shaman
holyrood park by david monniaux
st giles by amy montravadi
princes street by avi gazit
child museum by GFDL
science by luis weinstein
all courtesy of wikimedia commons