5 Reasons to See Edinburgh

Edinburgh one of Scotland’s most beautiful and historically rich cities, is also a centre for culture. Home to some of the world’s most admired architecture and host to one of the greatest arts festivals in history it is a city with many layers and a fascinating past. For art, science, literature and thinking it has been one of the most prolific producers of greatness in the UK and today it is a Mecca for visitors from all over the world who wish to explore all it has to offer. Here are just a few of the many reasons to see Edinburgh….

 

Edinburgh Castle: One of the most famous castles in the world, Edinburgh Castle sits on a great volcanic rock and dominates Scotland’s capital city. There has been a castle on this rock for many centuries and the first was known as The Castle of The Maidens one of whom, according to legend was Morgan Le Fey. The castle which we all know today as Edinburgh Castle was however built in the 12th century by David I the son of Saint Margaret of Scotland. The castle has seen many bloody battles and has played host to countless Royal guests and residents. Today it plays host to over a million visitors every year and they are rightly charmed and fascinated by its beauty and its history – understandable when you see it here.

 

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: Established in the 17th century, Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens features more than 70 acres of wonderful landscaped gardens and is a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city which lies just one mile away.

 

A stunning Palm House and Glasshouse provide a warm and leafy hideout during colder weather and numerous wooded areas continue to charm and fascinate visitors from all over the world. The gardens boast shops, a lecture theatre, a café, restaurant and library. The gardens also contain Inverleith House which is an original Georgian mansion and now hosts a stunning collection of art and has a regular programme of events and lectures.

 

St. Giles’ Cathedral: There are records of a place of worship on the site of St. Giles’ dating back as far as the year 854. The first place of worship was probably a very simple affair and a number of previous incarnations have been lost through fire and general wear and tear. From 1385 onwards, a great number of chapels were built by various merchants and noblemen. By the 16th century there were no less than 50 alters in the building.

 

St. Giles’ Cathedral boasts a number of outstanding features including some two hundred memorials to Scottish soldiers and some beautiful stained glass windows and remains one of the most compelling cathedrals in the United Kingdom.

 

Mary King’s Close: known today as The Real Mary King’s Close, this is an amazing look at what was almost a lost piece of Edinburgh’s colourful history. For centuries the close remained hidden beneath Edinburgh’s streets having been built over and forgotten about until workmen who were working on the Royal Exchange above, accidentally knocked through the coverings and looked down upon the hidden warren of lanes below.

 

The Close had remained in darkness for years, untouched and undisturbed by human hand it was frozen in time and remains a fascinating monument to Edinburgh’s darker days when people lived in much less salubrious conditions than today.

 

Guided tours are available daily and the close is a wonderful and rare opportunity to visit a perfect example of one of Edinburgh’s “lost streets”.

 

Edinburgh Zoo: This 82 acre zoo is home to more than 1000 endangered animals and has a regular year-round programme of seasonal events and activities for all ages. Known as one of Europe’s leading conservation centres the zoo supports a number of research projects which are designed to enhance understanding of animals.

 

The zoo is open every day of the year and sees more than 600,000 visitors every year. It is second only to Edinburgh castle in terms of popularity and it continues to offer high quality experiences for visitors while prioritizing the health and wellbeing of its animals.

 

There are of course many more reasons than this to visit the lovely city of Edinburgh but if you have a must-see list, then these marvellous places need to be included! 

Derek Devlin is a writer and lover of history and finds Scotland and Edinburgh beautiful still and has done numerous tours with http://www.lochsandglens.com/our-holidays/