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The eastern half of Princes Street Gardens is dominated by the massive Gothic spire of the Scott Monument, built by public subscription in memory of the novelist Sir Walter Scott after his death in 1832. In 1836, an architectural competition was launched, inviting designs for an appropriate memorial. Two years later, the trustees approved the design submitted by George Meikle Kemp, and construction began in 1840. The exterior is decorated with 64 carvings of characters from his novels; inside you can see an exhibition on Scott’s life, and climb the 287 steps to the top for a superb view of the city. The Scott Monument, the largest monument to a writer anywhere in the world, is a truly unique building. Since the day the competition to design it was announced, the monument has been the subject of much controversy. The gothic masterpiece we see today was chosen from a long list of entries by some of the leading architects working in Britain. The winner was completely unknown, with no track record of designing anything on this scale. And although his design is now celebrated throughout the world, he never lived to see it completed. Walter Scott painting The story of the […]
The building was designed by painter Alexander Nasmyth in 1789, the figurine inside the structure is a depiction of the Greek goddess of health Hygeia. Discovered in 1760, this natural spring was rumoured by the locals to have healing powers, an excellent source for people’s health and wellbeing. The well was recently restored and features an exquisite mosaic ceiling. “The chief ornament of this delightful valley” Alexander Campbell, 1801 A natural spring was discovered near the Dean Village on the Water of Leith in 1760 and was soon a visitor attraction as at that time ‘taking the waters’ was thought to be very good for the health. Some claimed that the water could cure everything from a bruised leg to ‘total blindness’, but others described the taste as having the ‘odious twang of hydrogen gas’ or even like ‘the washings from a foul gun barrel’.
Situated five minutes away from Princes Street, visitors can find the Dean Village, a beautiful oasis right by the Water of Leith. Dean Village was previously where milling of water mills took place, of which remains of this can still be seen by visitors. Hidden in the village, you will come across a variety of millstones and stone plaques decorated with baked bread and pies. The Dean Bridge can also be found if you walk along the walkway following the Water of Leith. The Bridge and St Bernard’s Well were both designed by Thomas Telford. Dean Village The Dean Village is a tranquil green oasis on the Water of Leith, only five minutes walk from Princes Street. In the past, the village was the centre of the milling of water mills and the remnants of the industry can still be seen today. Look out for mill stones and carved stone plaques with baked bread and pies. Follow the walkway along the Water of Leith and you will come to the impressive Dean Bridge designed by Thomas Telford, and the classical temple of St Bernard’s Well. The most striking building in the Dean Village is Well Court, recently restored with the help of […]
Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central and the main shopping street in Scotland’s capital. After the defeat of the Jacobite uprising (cumulating in the Battle of Culloden in 1746). The idea for creating the New Town for Edinburgh came to light. It was planned under Provest Drummond to be built on the farmlands to the North of The Castle. Building commenced in 1767 to plans submitted by a young architect James Craig who won the competition nine years previously when was only 22 years old. Craig’s winning design consisted of a simple rectilinear arrangement (see below) Three parallel main streets, with George Street, being the widest and grandest main thoroughfare, and Queen Street and Princes Street running to the North and South respectively. Public gardens were built at either end of George Street. To the East St. Andrew Square and to the West, George Square after the Patron Saints of Scotland and England. Although George Square was later renamed Charlotte Square after his wife to avoid confusion with the existing George Square on the South side of the town. Thistle and Rose Street were named were after the National Emblems of Scotland and England. The patriotic street names celebrated […]
Join Edinburgh Pub Crawl List and have a fantastic night out in the Scottish capital. If you’re new to Edinburgh and unsure where to go to enjoy the city’s famous pub venues, then this is the ideal solution. It’s a great way to meet people from all over the world who like to party and are up for a laugh. Visit 4 great pubs in Central Edinburgh (Check Map!) and enjoy a free drink or shot in each as well as great drinks deals. This well-organised tour has friendly staff who show you where to go and make sure everyone has a wonderful time. Expect some crazy games and non-stop fun! What’s included Nightlife tour guide. VIP Entrance to the best bars in Edinburgh’s city centre. Exclusive drink discounts and a tour guide throughout the night. Free glow sticks. Free Shots at each venue. Best 4 bars and free VIP entrance to the nightclub.
Great shopping at Edinburgh Christmas Market located at East Princes Street Gardens. An unbeatable festive atmosphere, together with a celebrated ice-rink, and Christmas Markets – the historic Scottish capital has Christmas all wrapped up. Dates and opening times The Edinburgh’s Christmas market kicks off on Friday, November 17 and will run until from Sunday, 7 January 2018. Monday to Wednesday the market will be open from 10 am to 10 pm Thursday to Saturday 10 am to 9:30 pm and on Sundays, you can make a visit from 10 am to 10 pm.
Having a consistent emphasis on fresh ingredients and a warm, friendly welcome Zara’s Grill & Bistro has become one of the rising stars among the many Mediterranean restaurants in Edinburgh city. As a family run business starting from beginnings in 1990’s, they have recently expanded their operations and seating capacity to give you an even more relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.
Arthur’s Seat is the largest of the three parts of the Holyrood Park Volcano site of special scientific interest (other parts being to the Calton Hill and Castle Rock) which is an ancient volcano, and sits 251m above sea level giving excellent view of the city; it is also the site of a large and well-preserved fort. This is one of four hill forts dating from around 2000 years ago. With its diverse range of flora and geology, it is also the site of Special Scientific Interest. Like the rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built, it was formed by an extinct volcano system of Carboniferous age (lava samples have been dated at 341 to 335 million years old), which was eroded by a glacier moving from west to east during the Quaternary (approximately the last two million years), exposing rocky crags to the west and leaving a tail of material swept to the east. If you head out for a walk to Arthur’s Seat you’ll discover much more than just great views. Within Holyrood Park you’ll also find St Anthony’s Chapel – a 15th-century medieval chapel, a series of 150-foot cliff faces called Salisbury Crags, and Duddingston Loch – a […]
Discover why Edinburgh is regularly voted as one of the most desirable places to live in the world. Despite its compact size, the city of Edinburgh has something for everyone. All year round, Edinburgh is a cultural hub, attracting the best in film, music, art and entertainment to its many cinemas, galleries, theatres and concert halls. Its host of great pubs, clubs, restaurants, parks, gardens, shops and sports centres, makes Edinburgh an exciting and thriving place to live and work. And, every summer, the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe deliver a billing of international acts in comedy, theatre, music and dance that attracts visitors in their thousands. Nightlife and entertainment Explore the city after dark: live music, comedy, theatre or just a night out with friends. See our guide to the beautiful and vibrant city of Edinburgh: About the city International Nightlife
The University of Edinburgh or Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann – Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is consistently ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world and was placed 17th in the 2013/14 QS World University Rankings. It is one of the largest and most diverse universities in the UK, with over 32,000 students from 130 countries studying across more than 100 academic disciplines. Our thriving postgraduate community benefits from a strong commitment to high-quality, innovative teaching set against the University’s inspiring research culture: the latest report from the Quality Assurance Agency awarded us the highest rating possible for the quality of the student learning experience, while the latest UK Research Assessment Exercise judged 96% of our academic departments to be producing world-leading research. Edinburgh was one of the first UK universities to develop commercial links with industry, government and the professions, and in 2013/14 ranked 15th in the world for graduate employability. Our outstanding facilities include Europe’s third largest academic library, state-of-the-art research installations and an award-winning Centre for Sport and Exercise, all set against the backdrop of the vibrant and historic City of Edinburgh, a world heritage site, a seat of the Scottish Parliament and […]
Heriot-Watt University is renowned for its leadership on critical global issues and is recognised throughout the world for the quality of its teaching and applied research capability. Heriot-Watt University is a public university based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was established in 1821 as the world’s first mechanics’ institute (Royal Charter granted in 1966). It has campuses in the Scottish Borders, Orkney, Dubai, and Putrajaya in Malaysia. The university is ranked among the World’s Top 500 by all three major rankings – 312 in QS World University Rankings, 351-400 in Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 401-500 in Academic Ranking of World Universities. In the latest Research Excellence Framework, it was ranked overall in the Top 25% of UK universities and 1st in Scotland for research impact. It has been rated ‘silver’ in the latest UK Teaching Excellence Framework.
Jenners or “Jenners Department Store” is a store located in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was the oldest independent department store in Scotland until its acquisition by House of Fraser in 2005. Jenners has maintained its position on Edinburgh’s Princes Street since 1838 when it was founded by Charles Jenner FRSE (1810-1893), a linen draper by trade and Charles Kennington and known as “Kennington & Jenner”. The store was run for many years by the Douglas-Miller family, who were descendants of James Kennedy, who took charge of Jenners in 1881. The original buildings that formed the department store were destroyed by fire in 1892, and in 1893 the Scottish architect William Hamilton Beattie was appointed to design the new store which subsequently opened in 1895. This new building is designated as a category A listed building and it is noted by the statutory listing that, at Charles Jenner’s insistence, the building’s caryatids were intended ‘to show symbolically that women are the support of the house’. The new store included many technical innovations such as electric lighting and hydraulic lifts. Known as the “Harrods of the North”, it has held a Royal Warrant since 1911 and was visited by Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1988. In 2004 it changed its vision statement from its goal to “be the most exciting department store outside London” to “Confidently […]
House of Fraser is a British department store group with over 60 stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was established in Glasgow, Scotland in 1849 as Arthur and Fraser. By 1891, it was known as Fraser & Sons. The company grew steadily during the early 20th century, but after the Second World War, a large number of acquisitions transformed the company into a national chain. Between 1936 and 1985 over seventy companies, not including their subsidiaries, were acquired. In 1948, the company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange and eventually was included in the FTSE Index before the company was acquired by a consortium of investors including Baugur and Don McCarthy in 2006. On 2 September 2014, Don McCarthy, retiring Executive Chairman of House of Fraser, announced the completion of the sale of 100% of the preferred ordinary shares and B ordinary shares, and approximately 89% of the A ordinary shares and preference shares of Highland Group Holdings Ltd, to Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co, a leading chain of Chinese department stores, for an enterprise value of approximately £480 million. The company’s acquisitions have included numerous household names, some of which are no longer used as part of the company’s long-term strategy of re-branding its stores under the House of […]
Ramsay Garden is a block of sixteen private apartment buildings in the Royal Mile area of Edinburgh, Scotland. They stand out for their red ashlar and white harled exteriors, and for their prominent position, most visible from Princes Street. Developed into its current form between 1890 and 1893 by the biologist, botanist and urban planner Patrick Geddes, Ramsay Garden started out as Ramsay Lodge, an octagonal house built by the poet and wig-maker Allan Ramsay the Elder in 1733. The house was also known variously as Ramsay Hut and Goosepie House (due to the roof shape). It was complemented by the addition of Ramsay Street, a short row of simple Georgian Houses in 1760. The latter (in revamped form) stand on the north side of the access to the inner courtyard. Geddes’ work on Ramsay Garden began in the context of an urban renewal project that he had embarked on in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The area had fallen into disrepair, and Geddes hoped both to improve the living conditions of the working class, and to increase the number of wealthier residents. He was also involved in improving buildings for use as student accommodation. For these purposes, Geddes rehabilitated a significant number of tenement buildings in slums along the Royal Mile, including Abbey Cottages, Whitehorse Close and Riddle’s Court. The Ramsay Garden development also served […]
The Royal Mile (Scots: Ryal Mile) is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. The name was first used in W M Gilbert’s Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century (1901) and was further popularised as the title of a guidebook, published in 1920. The thoroughfare is, as the name suggests, approximately one mile long and runs downhill between two significant locations in the history of Scotland, namely Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. The streets which make up the Royal Mile are (west to east) Castlehill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street, the Canongate and Abbey Strand. The Royal Mile is the busiest tourist street in the Old Town, rivalled only by Princes Street in the New Town. Castle Esplanade and Castlehill Castlehill forming part of the Royal Mile. The former Victorian church houses The Hub, an information service for the Edinburgh International Festival. On the right is The Scotch Whisky Experience and on the left the Camera Obscura tower and shops. The Castle Esplanade was laid out as a parade ground, in 1753, using spoil from the building of the Royal Exchange (now the City Chambers). It was formalised in 1816 when it was widened and provided with decorative railings and walls. The Esplanade with its several monuments has been A-listed by Historic Scotland. It is […]
St Giles’ Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh is the principal place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh. Its distinctive crown steeple is a prominent feature of the city skyline, at about a third of the way down the Royal Mile which runs from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. The church has been one of Edinburgh’s religious focal points for approximately 900 years. The present church dates from the late 14th century, though it was extensively restored in the 19th century, and is protected as a category A listed building. Today it is sometimes regarded as the “Mother Church of Presbyterianism“. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Giles, who is the patron saint of Edinburgh, as well as of cripples and lepers, and was a very popular saint in the Middle Ages. It is the Church of Scotland parish church for part of Edinburgh’s Old Town. St Giles’ was only a cathedral in its formal sense (i.e. the seat of a bishop) for two periods during the 17th century (1635–1638 and 1661–1689), whenEpiscopalianism, backed by the Crown, briefly gained ascendancy within the Kirk (see Bishops’ Wars). In the mediaeval period, prior to the Reformation, Edinburgh had no cathedral as it was under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of St Andrews, whose episcopal seat was St Andrews Cathedral. For most of its post-Reformation history, the […]
John Knox House, popularly known as “John Knox’s House“, is a historic house in Edinburgh, Scotland, reputed to have been owned and lived in by Protestant reformer John Knox during the 16th century. Although his name became associated with the house, he appears to have lived in Warriston Close where a plaque indicates the approximate site of his actual residence. The John Knox House on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is a well-known tourist attraction, described by one architectural historian as ‘improbably picturesque’. It is actually a matter of debate whether the fire-brand preacher ever lived there. Ironically, when Knox was at the height of his fame, the owner of the building was on the other side of the political debate – as the goldsmith to Mary Queen of Scots. The house is certainly one of the oldest in Edinburgh, mostly built in the mid-1500s but with parts dating back to 1470. Investigate the ground floor and you can see the remnants of medieval ‘luckenbooths’, or locked booths once rented out as shops. The Oak Room on the top floor is particularly atmospheric, with wood panelling and a painted ceiling from the early 1600s. It is the exterior through which gives John Knox House its romantic image. […]
The University of Edinburgh’s Old College is one of the city’s most important public buildings, and its dome is a prominent part of the city skyline. However, the location has an interesting history that pre-dates the building we see today. The site where Old College now stands was known as the Kirk O’Fields in the 1500s and became notorious as the scene of a dramatic murder early in February 1567. Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary Queen of Scots, was lodging in the house for the night. Darnley had made many enemies among Scottish nobles, who took this opportunity to exact revenge. At around 2 am barrels of gunpowder placed under Darnley’s room exploded, reducing much of the house to rubble. The bodies of Darnley and his servant were later found in a nearby orchard. Somehow they had escaped the house, but exactly how they were murdered remains a mystery. The University of Edinburgh was established on the site in 1583, but two hundred years later its original buildings were demolished. However, during a major re-landscaping of the quadrangle in 2010, archaeologists found the remains of the old library complete with scientific equipment. It thought that the fragments of […]
White Horse Close is a picturesque collection of buildings at the foot of the Canongate, but although stepping into its courtyard feels like stepping back in time, all is not as it seems. The close was heavily restored in the 1960s, focused on typical Scottish features such as crow-stepped gables, forestairs and pantiled roofs. The effect is described by one architectural historian as “…so blatantly fake that it can be acquitted of any intention to deceive.” The close takes its name from an inn which used to stand at its north end. The White Horse Inn on the Canongate closed its doors in the late 1700s, but in its day it was one of the best-known coaching inns in Edinburgh. Its location at the beginning of the Great North Road meant that a journey to London would start from its courtyard. The inn was built in the early 1600s by Lawrence Ord, who perhaps named the place after its association with Mary Queen of Scots, who was said to have stabled her favourite white horse there. In 1639 the White Horse Inn was at the scene of the ‘Stoppit Stravaig’. This was a time of religious turmoil, with many in […]
General Register House on Princes Street is one of the oldest custom-built archive buildings still in use in the world. Today this grand classical building is home to the National Archives of Scotland, but it was once derided as the only fit for pigeons. The idea to construct a new home for the public records was a key part of the proposals for the New Town in 1752. A grand public building was seen as suitable for the ambitious project, but it was also needed as the existing storage underneath Parliament House was totally unsuitable for such important records. To start the construction a fund of £12,000 was provided by the government, taken from forfeited Jacobite estates. The famous Scottish architect Robert Adam was brought in to design the building and work started in 1774, but it stopped only five years later when the money ran out. The unfinished structure soon became the focus of local criticism, described it as “the most magnificent pigeon house in Europe”. The site lay unfinished until 1785 when a new architect was appointed and work began again. Over the years there have been many changes, with the front wall being pushed back to accommodate […]
The real joy of Edinburgh’s Old Town is to explore the labyrinth of closes and wynds, and step back many centuries into another world. Tweeddale Court is one the best examples, with an entrance opposite the Scottish Storytelling Centre just before the World’s End pub. Walking down the narrow passageway you emerge through a pair of iron gates into a courtyard, with Tweeddale House right in front of you. The building is something of an architectural detective story, changed and adapted many times over the years. Inside are the remains of a carved doorway dated 1576, with the initials of perhaps the first owner, Neil Lang and his wife Elizabeth Danielstoune. Lang was Keeper of the Signet, one of Scotland’s most senior legal officers, and as a wealthy man he followed the fashion of building his townhouse down a close, tucked away from the noise and bustle of the High Street. The building came by its present name in 1670 when it was bought by the Marquess of Tweeddale, a senior adviser to King Charles II. He adapted and refurbished the house again, and added a personal touch to the garden. The author Daniel Defoe wrote that: “…the Marquess of Tweeddale […]
The Water of Leith is the main river flowing through Edinburgh, Scotland, to the port of Leith where it flows into the sea via the Firth of Forth. It is 35 km long and rises in the Colzium Springs at Millstone Rig of the Pentland Hills. Wikipedia
Newhailes is an amazing survival story of the east of Edinburgh’s historic town Musselburgh. From the moment you pass through the gateway, you are in one of the most intriguing properties in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. This fascinating multi-layered house and historical landscape took centuries to evolve and still remain remarkably intact. A Palladian house fits for a baronet, originally built in the 17th century, Newhailes brings three centuries of history to life. The house was owned by the Dalrymple family and featured prominently in the Scottish Enlightenment. Palladian house with sumptuous decorative details and surrounding woodlands. From 1709, Newhailes was home to the influential Dalrymple dynasty, who gave the house its important library and superb interiors and created the intricately designed landscape. The picture collection includes an exceptionally fine series of portraits, including examples by Allan Ramsay and John Baptist de Medina. Much of the original decoration and furnishings have survived intact, retaining the mellowness of its interiors, rather than being an immaculately restored dwelling. Discover breathtaking rococo designs in the Great Apartment. Admire features such as gilded eagles and early 18th-century trompe l’oeil decoration. Soak up the atmosphere in the eerie abandoned servants’ kitchen and scullery. […]
The Well Court was commissioned in the 1880s by Sir John Findlay, who was then the owner of The Scotsman newspaper. He bought land in Dean Village and had old tenements there cleared away, to allow his new housing to be built. Timeline 1883 J.R. Findlay commissions architect Sydney Mitchell to design Well Court. 1886 Work on Well Court is completed. 2007 Work starts on a major restoration of the building funded by Edinburgh World Heritage and the property owners. The Carved Plaques The building has many carved red sandstone plaques to commemorate its building. Clock Tower The clock tower rises above what once was the social hall. A possible source for the design of the tower is the 17th century Earl’s Palace in Kirkwall. The Font The font originally belonged to the nearby Belford Church, built 1888-1889, which was also designed by Sydney Mitchell. It was brought to Well Court following the church’s conversion to the Belford Hostel. The Courtyard Four and five-storey tenement flats enclose a communal courtyard which is evocative of the old squares – such as James Square in the Old Town. The accommodation in Well Court was originally intended for local workers in the Dean Village […]
Inveresk Lodge Garden climbs the slope between the east bank of the River Esk and the main road running through Inveresk, a beautiful and exclusive village on the southern side of Musselburgh, which was once home to a Roman fort. Tall trees, fragrant flowers, clear water – these walled grounds tucked away in the charming village of Inveresk, near Edinburgh, have all the ingredients for garden paradise. This hillside plant haven offers a sanctuary of tranquillity and a year-round feast for the senses. It is home to colourful borders and a heady mix of scents, including roses, honeysuckle and herbs. Inveresk Lodge itself is NOT open to the public, but it does add a point of focus in the northeast corner of the upper garden. We say “upper garden” because this is a garden of two very distinct parts. The lower part, in the flat bottom of the valley of the River Esk, comprises open meadow and an attractive pond. Mown walkways lead you around the pond and to other points of interest. The garden is split into two main areas, with sloping lawns and borders at the top of the hill and the wilder woodland and ponds below. The point of origin […]
Queen Margaret University is a university located in Musselburgh, East Lothian near Edinburgh in Scotland. It is named after Saint Margaret, wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland. From its founding in 1875, Queen Margaret has developed into a university of ideas and influence which prepares graduates for useful careers and equips them with the skills which will help them make a real difference to society. QMU has recognised expertise in the following flagship areas: Health and Rehabilitation, Creativity and Culture, Sustainable Business. Relocated to a new purpose-built university campus on the south-east side of Edinburgh in 2007. Considerable effort is also placed on interaction with the wider community. The University is divided into four Schools: the School of Business, Enterprise and Management; the School of Drama and Creative Industries; the School of Health Sciences; and the School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication. In April 2008, the University opened its Asian Campus in Singapore, providing business education to about 1,600 students. The university’s Musselburgh campus occupies some 35 acres and costs £100m to build. It is claimed to be the UK’s greenest university campus and houses a broad range of educational buildings, a students’ union, a gym, and 800 residential […]
The Royal Yacht Britannia was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years, sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world. Now berthed in Edinburgh, you can follow in the footsteps of Royalty to discover the heart and soul of this most special of Royal residences. Built on Clydeside, the former Royal Yacht Britannia was the British royal family’s floating holiday home during their foreign travels from the time of her launch in 1953 until her decommissioning in 1997, and is now moored permanently in front of Ocean Terminal. The tour, which you take at your own pace with an audio guide (available in 27 languages), lifts the curtain on the everyday lives of the royals and gives an intriguing insight into the Queen’s private tastes. Britannia is a monument to 1950s decor, and the accommodation reveals Her Majesty’s preference for simple, unfussy surroundings. There was nothing simple or unfussy, however, about the running of the ship. When the Queen travelled, with her went 45 members of the royal household, five tonnes of luggage and a Rolls-Royce that was carefully squeezed into a specially built garage on the deck. The ship’s company consisted of an […]
Edinburgh’s 18th-century City Chambers were built over the sealed-off remains of Mary King’s Close, and the lower levels of this medieval Old Town alley have survived almost unchanged amid the foundations for 250 years. The Real Mary King’s Close is a warren of underground streets and spaces. It can be a strange concept to understand – back in the 1600’s, Mary King’s Close and neighbouring Closes were at the heart of Edinburgh’s busiest and most vibrant streets, open to the skies and bustling with traders selling their wares to the Old Town’s residents. Why would this street find itself underground 400 years later? Now open to the public, this spooky, subterranean labyrinth gives a fascinating insight into the everyday life of 17th-century Edinburgh. Costumed characters lead tours through a 16th-century townhouse and the plague-stricken home of a 17th-century gravedigger. Tours run every 15 minutes from 10 am throughout the year and prebooking is strongly recommended in advance for this popular attraction. For years, the hidden Closes of Old Town Edinburgh have been shrouded in myths and mysteries, with tales of ghosts and murders, and of plague victims being walled up and left to die. Research and archaeological evidence have revealed […]
With its curious Dutch-style conical roof, the mill is an architectural oddity that will beguile visitors as much as it delights painters and photographers. There has been a mill on this site since the 16th century, and the present stone buildings date from the 18th century. When you first see Preston Mill you might think you’ve wound up in a storybook. Preston Mill was used commercially until 1959 and was the region’s last working watermill. Guided tours reveal the gruelling nature of the miller’s work, from heavy lifting to dealing with floods, mice and dust. The conical roofed kiln and attractive red pantiled buildings make Preston Mill a popular haunt for photographers and artists, while the nearby millpond with resident ducks and geese provides the finishing touches to an idyllic countryside spot. Just across the River Tyne lies the unusual structure of Phantassie Doocot, built in the 16th century to house 500 pigeons. The water-wheel and the grain milling machinery it powers are relatively modern and the mill was still used commercially until 1959. Visitors can see and hear the mechanisms in action and find out about the working life of a miller. Exhibition on milling and display on the history of […]
In 1850 a gardener called John Gray, together with his wife Jess and son John, arrived in Edinburgh. Unable to find work as a gardener he avoided the workhouse by joining the Edinburgh Police Force as a night watchman. To keep him company through the long winter nights John took on a partner, a diminutive Skye Terrier, his ‘watchdog’ called Bobby. Together John and Bobby became a familiar sight trudging through the old cobbled streets of Edinburgh. Through thick and thin, winter and summer, they were faithful friends. The years on the streets appear to have taken their toll on John, as he was treated by the Police Surgeon for tuberculosis. John eventually died of the disease on the 15th February 1858 and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Bobby soon touched the hearts of the local residents when he refused to leave his master’s grave, even in the worst weather conditions. The gardener and keeper of Greyfriars tried on many occasions to evict Bobby from the Kirkyard. In the end, he gave up and provided a shelter for Bobby by placing sacking beneath two table stones at the side of John Gray’s grave. Bobby’s fame spread throughout Edinburgh. It is […]
Admire one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile, housing wealthy residential and commercial tenants in its heyday. View hand-painted Renaissance interiors with deep hidden meanings. See the 1600s stone arches, built to shelter customers but which became the ideal place for criminal activity. Spot the gilded bird of prey that hangs outside the house. The best address in town! Just a stone’s throw from the castle, this 500-year-old building is a towering testament to tenement life in Edinburgh’s Old Town and was once owned by merchant Thomas Gladstone. He extended and remodelled the building to attract wealthy tenants for his opulently decorated apartments, as well as for the high-end grocer and cloth shop on the ground floor and the tavern located in the basement. By the 1800s, only the poorest of the city’s inhabitants remained in the Old Town. Gladstone’s Land was one of the first buildings that the National Trust for Scotland acquired, rescuing it from demolition in 1934. Visitor Information Discover the real Royal Mile of the 17th century. Gladstone’s Land shows how people from a variety of backgrounds went about their lives at a time when the cramped Lawnmarket was at the heart of one […]
Many generations of students at the University of Edinburgh will have fond memories of time spent in Teviot Row House, others will remember the Fringe Club of past years and the Gilded Balloon of today. It is one of the city’s most important venues, but also a fascinating piece of architecture in its own right. It opened its doors in 1889, making it the oldest purpose-built student union in the world. It was the inspiration of the university’s new ‘Student Representative Council’ formed a few years before, who saw an urgent need to provide facilities catering to all the students’ needs. The essential requirements of a Victorian student were quite different to those of today, and the building was to include billiard rooms, a servants hall, tea and luncheon rooms, a writing room, library, dressing room, ‘retiring room’, barber, and a fives courts in the basement. Sydney Mitchell was appointed to design the new building, one of the city’s most important architects, responsible for many of Edinburgh’s most distinctive buildings such as Ramsay Gardens and Well Court. In 1885 he was in charge of the restoration of the Mercat Cross on the Royal Mile, a high profile project for a […]
Explore the palace’s close associations with some of Scotland’s most well-known historical figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and learn how today it is used by The Queen when carrying out official engagements in Scotland. Walk in royal footsteps around Holyrood Abbey, founded by David I in 1128. The cloister precinct was later turned into a modern Renaissance palace – Holyroodhouse – and became the royal family’s main home in Scotland. Things to do & see Wander through the abbey nave and gardens after touring the Palace of Holyroodhouse (run by the Royal Collection Trust) Admire the east processional doorway, the only surviving part of David I’s original ‘monastery of the Holy Rood’ Take in the west front of the rebuilt abbey church, one of the most impressive Gothic façades anywhere in Scotland View the royal vault, the final resting place of both royalty and Augustinian canons Opening times & Prices Access to Holyrood Abbey is through the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. To visit the Abbey you must pay the entrance fee to the Palace of Holyroodhouse (this includes Historic Scotland Members and Explorer Pass holders). 20% discount […]
The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill is one of the defining features of the Edinburgh skyline and provides probably the best vantage point for views across the city and beyond. Yet the monument is not just a historic and striking building because for the past 150 years it has also had an important function to perform. The monument was built to commemorate Admiral Lord Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was a victory for the Royal Navy, but Nelson was fatally wounded. When the news reached Edinburgh, a group of subscribers banded together to raise funds for a monument to express their gratitude to the Admiral. An initial idea was to build the monument in the shape of a Chinese pagoda, but this was quickly rejected in favour of a design by Robert Burn, which was more appropriately modelled on an upturned telescope. Building work began in 1807 but fundraising was so slow that the monument was not completed until 1816.By then the subscribers were desperate for money, and so it was opened to the public with a small entrance fee. £5 entry to climb the tower, but the museum on the […]
The Canongate forms part of what is now called the ‘Royal Mile‘ running from Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood Palace. Moray House, now part of the University of Edinburgh, occupies a number of properties on the south side of this historic street. This section describes the colourful history and development of this area. The Canongate has probably existed for over a millennium initially as a rough track running eastwards down the rocky ‘tail’ of the Castle Rock. The surrounding area was once shrub, mire and part of the forest of Drumselch, with Arthur’s Seat, part of an ancient volcano, rising to the south. Holyrood Abbey and Holyrood Palace Legend has it that on the 14 September 1128 King David I of the Scots was out hunting, despite this being a Holy Day. He became separated from the rest of his party and was suddenly attacked by a stag (hart). Thrown from his horse he raised his arms to protect himself. But instead of its antlers, he found across (or rood). That night he dreamt that a great religious house would be established at the place of his miraculous escape. That same year the establishment a monastery was approved which was to […]
Blackford Hill 164 metres is one of the largest – and one of the finest. The views across the city in all directions can hold visitors and locals spellbound as the Blackford panoramas extend over the Forth to the distant Lomond Hills. History and heritage Blackford Hill came into the hands of the old Edinburgh Corporation in 1884, purchased for the sum of £8000 from Lt. Colonel Henry Trotter of Mortonhall. A few years later, the Observatory on Calton Hill required to be moved from the city-centre glare and three and a half acres were sold for the building of a new National Observatory on Blackford Hill, where it has been sited ever since. Several other smaller parcels of ground were bought later, including in 1906 the area known as Egyptfield, which contained Blackford Pond. Blackford Hill is wild and wind-blown, a large slice of countryside within the city. It is an important part of Edinburgh’s natural heritage, and along with neighbouring Hermitage of Braid is classified a Local Nature Reserve. Blackford Pond and the surrounding wetland are important for water birds such as swan, little grebe, heron, pochard, mallard and tufted duck. Moorhen and coot nest at the edge […]