As we leave Edinburgh and reflect back on our 2 week visit to Edinburgh, it is probably appropriate at this time to come up with a favorites list. I have deliberately not chosen to list them in any particular order, but just as they pop in my mind.
Rosslyn Chapel: This is a perfect day trip just outside of Edinburgh. The Chapel was founded in the mid-15th Century, but a lot of people associate it with Dan Brown’s book – The Da Vinci Code. Nice on the outside, and stunning inside. If you take the bus out there, make sure you get on the right one!
Real Mary’s King Close: We loved the tour of the hidden streets that have remained frozen in time since the 17th century. During the guided tour you learn about who lived there, how they lived and why it was sealed off. The stories are intriguing. Unfortunately, no photographs were allowed – this one is from Wikipedia.
Edinburgh Castle: Impossible to miss the Castle that towers over Edinburgh and is visible from almost anywhere in the city. If you time your visit well, you can be there for the 1:00PM gun and a little show. So many different places to explore within the castle: the displays, historical re-enacters and the audio guide give you a good overview of the history of Scotland. If you’re willing to stand in the line, you can see the Scottish Crown Jewels.
Arthur’s Seat: It took us about 2 hours to do the hike up to the top, but it is definitely worth it. Incredible views of Edinburgh.
Royal Botanical Gardens: The Gardens were only a ten-minute walk from our rental unit and well worth the visit.
The Scottish National Gallery: Although it is not as grand as the Louvre or Uffizi, it is a wonderful art gallery with a well designed layout. Clay especially liked the John Singer Sargent painting, “Lady Agnew of Lochnaw.” There are a wide variety of paintings including English, Dutch, and my favorite the Impressionists. We visited this Gallery twice – it’s free, and there’s plenty to see, so why not?
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery: The Portrait Gallery is an excellent collection of portraits that gives you a good overview of Scottish history and culture. Wasn’t expecting that. Also noteworthy, it’s free too!
The Georgian House: This was truly a nice surprise. We both went halfheartedly, and came away wowed by our two hours or so at the House. It really gives you a good sense of what high society living was like in the Georgian era. The guides were very entertaining and knowledgeable.
Queensferry: Easy day trip to Queensferry to eat seafood and see the incredible Forth Bridge, which is visible from many of the restaurants in town.
Stockbridge Market: Small farmer’s market just a few blocks from our rental apartment. Fresh veggies, seafood, meat, crafts. What’s not to like for this foodie?
Pubs: They are everywhere and not to miss. One of our favorites was the closest one, the Cumberland Bar. Clay will remember it with a lump in his heart (and his stomach) for his first taste of Haggis. Dog lovers will be glad to know that they have the run of the place. We like them because you can strike up a conversation with just about anybody – as I did, to get this picture of the cute couple with the darling dog.