"A Truly Royal City" Edinburgh by rexvaughan

Edinburgh Travel Guide: 3,816 reviews and 8,171 photos

I don’t know what I expected but was quite taken with the lovely architecture, the lovely gaArdens and open spaces and of course the bee-hive activity of the Edinburgh Festival. We had been in Times Square a few weeks earlier, and both my wife and I remarked how the throngs of people in Edinburgh reminded us of walking through the lively New York heart. I read somewhere that some consider it one of the most picturesque city in Europe. Being there during the festival assures you of endless entertainment opportunities and you don’t even have to pay for a lot of them. Just walk the Royal Mile and you will see all sorts of mimes, jugglers, musicians and various other buskers.

The city dates back to at least the 12th Century with the early hubs at the ends of the Royal Mile – the great castle and Holyrood. By the late 1700’s the city was growing rapidly and housing was tight so that the rich and poor lived in the same buildings. The rich started leaving for London so a solution was hatched in the form of the New Town to keep or lure back the rich. The grid layout centers along Princes street which now seems to be the commercial center of Edinburgh.

The city has a rich intellectual heritage, thanks at least in part to Edinburgh University whose alumni include economist Adam Smith, Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Darwin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie, and Sir Walter Scott. In light of this and a good bit of neo-classical architecture, Edinburgh in some circles is referred to as “the Athens of the North.” One building I found discordant with the city is the new Scottish Parliament. I am not fond of it, but I guess they were trying to make a statement about a new beginning. It certainly does not blend in with its neighbor across the street, Holyrood Palace. One thing I found strange about the city what occasioned some of the monuments. Evidently in 1822 King George IV visited the city and there is a monument honoring just the visit.

We were traveling with another couple and her aunt lives in Edinburgh. The aunt very graciously insisted that she would stay with her daughter and we would have her apartment in Stockbridge which was most convenient. In additon to the economic savings, getting a place to stay in Edinburgh during the festival is very difficult and we had timed our visit specifically to get to the Edinburgh Royal Tattoo. We could hardly asked for better conditions of any kind - even the weather cooperated!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:East to get around, much too see and do
  • Cons:They can't get their trolley system working
  • In a nutshell:Beautiful and lively city with a great history
  • Last visit to Edinburgh: Aug 2010
  • Intro Updated Jan 2, 2011
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