FULL DAY CITY OF EDINBURGH TOUR
Edinburgh, the historic Capital City of Scotland has an almost unlimited number of attractions and things to do and see. The city offers three distinct areas to be explored and a full-day tour of Edinburgh is the ideal duration to see some of the big sites and hidden treasures only know about by the locals.
WHAT WE’LL DO…
As we set off we first venture to the historic old town. The old city is dominated by Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile that runs for a Scottish mile (around 1.1 statute miles / 1.8 kilometres) through the heart of the old town. Beneath the mile to the south is the historical Grassmarket area, famed for being home to a daily market for nearby farmers. The Grassmarket also has a more sinister past as the hanging place for Edinburgh’s criminals. There are many famous stories about executions that your guide will recite including the story of Maggie Dickson and the covenanters.
Exploring the cobbled alleyways that run from the Royal Mile we come to the Palace of Holyrood, the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland. The impressive entrance courtyard and Palace dominate the scene including the Queens Gallery next door. The modernist Scottish Parliament stand next door with Dynamic Earth, a natural-world visitor attraction behind it. Holyrood is overlooked by Sailsbury Craigs, a volcanic outcrop that rises out of Holyrood park next to Arthur’s seat. If open, we will drive round Queens Drive which circumnavigates the volcanic plug and offers fantastic views across the city. We’ll then visit Duddingston Village which hosts Scotland’s oldest pub ‘The Sheep Heid Inn’ that has continuously traded for 600 years. Patrons of the Sheepie have included Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Elizabeth 11.
We’ll then explore the New Town of Edinburgh. Divided from the Old city by Waverley railway station the New Town was a large scale development built in Georgian times in part to relieve the hugely over-populated city and in part to provide an enlightened new city, the first of its kind in Scotland. From the top of Calton Hill see world-famous view over Princes Street to the old town and Castle. Calton hill also boasts some quirky and interesting architecture including the un-finished National Monument of Scotland.
Exploring the busy shopping streets that run in a grid towards Stockbridge and Comely Bank, experience the secret ‘colony’ streets, Botanical Gardens and little known Stockbridge Market gate. This cosmopolitan cobblestoned area is full of coffee shops, curiosities and artisan traders. Secret alleyways lead to impressive Georgian houses and we’ll see the history of the water of Leith river that runs through the area.
We then venture to Leith, technically a separate town to the North. The extensive docks around Leith and Shore are intertwined with cobbled lanes, tramways and bond buildings, most now converted into trendy apartments. The unassuming site of the landing of Mary Queen of Scots on her return from France carries with it the story of her life which your guide will tell you from the quayside. Leith is also the home to The Royal Yacht Britannia, a floating museum to the monarchy.
During your tour you are able to visit any of the hundreds of attractions and sights of the city including Edinburgh Castle. Access to the castle is on foot unless special assistance status is provided (known as the Blue Badge in the UK) and must be booked in advance.