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Alys and Ric’s Favourite things to do in Auld Reekie

Sights in the Old and New Town

All of the following are within walking distance of each other, but Edinburgh streets, closes and bridges can be confusing to navigate, especially in the Old Town, so do get a (free) map, available from Tourist Information next to Waverley Station, and most public buildings.

City-centre Hills and other outdoor sights:

  • Climb Carlton Hill (OK for children, access from Regent Road, East along from Princes St.). Beautiful steep-sided park littered with monuments including Scotland’s “shame”, an ill-fated attempt at a copy of the parthenon. Incomparable views over the old city. Click here for a flavour.
  • Walk the length of the Royal Mile from the Castle to the Holyrood Palace and Parliament, being sure to take in the expansive views from the Castle Esplanade. Make sure you stop to read the plaques! Click here for a bit of info.
  • A walk in Holyrood Park and up Arthur’s Seat, pictured (Free, Access from Canongate/Holyrood Rd. or Holyrood Park Rd.). Edinburgh’s benevolent mountain smiles down on the city – why don’t you too? Some suggested routes can be found here. Why not work in a meal or a drink at the Sheep’s Heid Inn, Duddingston, click for more info.

Top Indoor picks!

  • National Museum of Scotland (Free, awesome for children, Chambers St.). Dinosaurs, Mummies, Formula 1 cars, interactive science whackyness, and the complete history of Scotland: never a dull moment in this recently renovated gem of a museum. Temporary exhibition often fascinating. Click for more info.
  • Camera Obscura (£11 / £9 concession / £8 child / under 5’s free, awesome for children, Castlehill). It’s weird, it’s wild, it’s outrageous! Mirrors, holograms, optical illusions, and a 19th century optical contraption that made people feint. Click for more info.
  • Edinburgh Science Festival (Prices and times vary, till 15th April, awesome for children). Loads of cool stuff including free events like the photo exhibition in St. Andrew’s Sq. Visit the Festival’s website for events listings.

Also brilliant inside:

  • Tour of the Scottish Parliament (Free, Canongate). Really stunning and unusual building hosting Scotland’s powerful Parliament. Click for more info.
  • Underground City Tour (£9 / £7 concession / £4 child, High St.). Explore the vaults under South Bridge and find out about some of the more bizarre and gruesome sides of Edinburgh’s history. Click for times and more info.
  • Scottish National Gallery (Free, The Mound). Famous pictures! Very handy location too. Click for more info.
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Free, Queen St.). Gallery of Scottish people in beautiful newly renovated palace in the New Town with great tea room! Click for more info.

Further out of the City

Bus routes are written below and are based on the nearest bus stops to Pollock Halls. For more info download a map of Lothian Bus routes here. Fares on Lothian Buses are £1.40 single and £3.50 day pass, and exact change is required. Other buses vary.

  • Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (Free, glasshouses £4.50 / £3.50 concession / £1 child; Inverleith Row; take No. 8 bus toward city centre from Newington Rd.), Britain’s oldest botanic garden and a beautiful getaway in the city. Temporary exhibitions in the lovely new John Hope Gateway. Click for more info.
  • Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Free, take No. 13 bus towards Blackhall from George St.). Click for more info.
  • Explore the tidal island ‘Crammond Island’ (Free, take No. 41 bus towards Crammond from Potter Row) and have a some grub at the awesome Crammond Inn. Click for more info on the island and the pub.
  • Walking in the (often snowy) Pentlands Hills (Free!, Take McEwans Coach Services no.101 towards Dumfries and get off at Flotterstone, times at Transport Direct). Click for more info on the Pentland Hills Regional Park.
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