With my good friend Chris moving to Leith, it was an excellent opportunity to spend the weekend in Edinburgh.
From Leith we caught the bus to the bottom of the Royal Mile and scouted around the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official Edinburgh residence. We satisfied ourselves with external images on this occasion. There cannot be many parliaments with such beautiful settings.
Next up we visited the compact Museum of Edinburgh, free to get into and with some lovely exhibits. Particularly fascinating were the original plans of James Craig for the design of Edinburgh’s New Town. He won a competition held in 1766 to have his design accepted, which now forms the Princes Street, Queen Street and George Street area.
Of course what is unique about Princes street in city centre terms is the fact that it only has shops and buildings on one side, the other being devoted to Princes Street Gardens.
From the museum we strolled further up the hill to Edinburgh’s Cathedral of St Giles – free entrance with a £2 camera fee. It is a beautiful cathedral with the side Thistle Chapel particularly stunning.
We ventured down George’s Bridge to find the elephant house coffee shop who’s back room overlooks Grayfriars Cemetary and the castle. It was here of course that Joanne Rowling wrote the plot and early works of her acclaimed Harry Potter series. I hoped that some of her literary genius may rub off on me! Sadly it was too crowded to stop and linger, so we took sustenance in the next door Valerie Patisserie where I could still feel the presence of greatness!
From there we walked past the Bank of Scotland HQ on The Mound and down the Playfair Steps to the National Gallery by Princes Street Gardens. The free museum has important works by the likes of Rembrandt, El Greco, Van Dyck and Tintoretto and makes for a very nice wander through its grand rooms past Renaissance, Gothic and Impressionist art amongst others. We then took a bus back to Leith for a pint at the very nice Teuchters Landing (the original ferry waiting room that took dock workers to and from their homes in Aberdeen), followed by a lovely meal at the Tartine French restaurant. You really are spoiled for choice in the Leith drinking and eating stakes!
A lovely day in Edinburgh’s capital and we didn’t even get as far as the brilliant castle sat high on its extinct volcano base at the opposite end of the Royal Mile fromHolyrood.
One of my favorite cities. I’m glad you went to St Giles as well.
St. Giles and I really enjoyed the National Gallery when I was in Edinburgh.