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‘SCOT TO BE FUN discover


INTRODUCTION Edinburgh is a city that guarantees fun for everyone. Whether you are an active person or someone who wants to savour the culture with all their senses, whether you want to discover Edinburgh’s heritage or enjoy a night out in one of the pubs, whether you are interested in sports or fashion, in this guide you will find everything you need to experience a real Scottish time. In the weeks we have spent here, we have encountered the Scots as open-minded, friendly people who will be pleased to buy you a drink and tell you stories about their beloved Edinburgh in a pleasant little chat. This is also the best way to find out which pub serves the most delicious haggis and which has the biggest selection of beer. To get a good impression of the city, use your own feet. Just walk around Edinburgh, but beware of the cobblestones. Some of us kept tripping. So make sure you pack the right footwear and also put on several layers of clothes, as the weather here is unpredictable. We have experienced different seasons all in one day. Once you have adapted, you are ready to enjoy all the possibilities Edinburgh offers: you can take a break in one of the many parks and gardens or become active, just like the people who are jogging, taking their dog for a walk or playing football there. Edinburgh’s unique charm and inhabitants are so inspiring that the city is the birthplace of many stories and artworks. You can visit galleries exhibiting classics as well as emerging artists and visit places that influenced the works of various writers, such as Robert Louis Stevenson and J.K. Rowling. We have also been very inspired by Edinburgh’s atmosphere. So now it is your turn to discover! We have put together the best of the best, the crème-de-la-crème. Have fun and enjoy your visit in Edinburgh! PS: If you are tired and cannot walk any further, always bear William McGonagall’s poem in mind: “Feeling tired and need a seat? Sit down here, and rest your feet”. Franziska Lange & Christine Möller

Chief editors Anna-Lena Hänel Vanessa Novis Chief graphic editor Ángel Villascusa Cerezo Editing team Rachel Newton Viviane Jackl Layout team Rebecca Christoph Samira Hänska Irene Schippl Carrera


Top left to right Vanessa Novis Rebecca Christoph Samira Hänska Elisabeth Seide Anna-Lena Hänel Ángel Villascusa Cerezo Irene Schippl Carrera Bottom left to right Viviane Jackl Johanna Lamm Rachel Newton Christine Möller Franziska Lange Marie-Joëlle Gallinge



















PRACTICAL INFORMATION MONEY The currency of Scotland is the British Pound Sterling (£). English and Scottish bank notes look different but are worth the same and used throughout the country. Credit cards are widely accepted, though sometimes have a minimum charge. You can also find cash machines on every corner, but make sure to check with your bank for extra fees.

TRAFFIC In Edinburgh, just like the rest of the UK, you drive on the left side of the road. Be sure to look right then left before crossing the street. If you are unsure, just look down as directions are painted on the road. Driving is not necessary in Edinburgh as everything is in walking distance. A single bus ticket costs £1.50 for an adult, a day ticket £3.50. Bus drivers do not give change so have the exact amount at the ready. Most sightseeing tours begin at Waverly Station. The best way to get from the airport into town is the Airlink bus, which runs every 30 minutes. There is also a night bus between 0:45am and 4:15am covering all places one might have to reach late at night.


EATING OUT Opening hours for pubs and restaurants vary, so make sure to check before you head out. In most places it is customary to order and pay directly at the bar. Tipping is not mandatory but about 10% for good service is appreciated. Free wifi is available almost everywhere.

TO BRING The most important thing to pack for your trip is an adapter for the GB socket. Bring clothing for all seasons, since the weather is unpredictable. Instead of an umbrella, opt for a rain jacket to protect yourself from the elements.

IMPORTANT NUMBERS Emergency call: 999 Tourist information: 0845 225 5121 Edinburgh dialling code: 0131 UK dialling code: +44 Police: 101 Taxis: 0131 228 1211

In general, supermarkets are open seven days a week. Hours vary depending on the location and type of store. To find out the opening times for specific shops, visit



dinburgh, a city filled with tourists, welcomes guests from all around the world and offers a wide range of accommodations for any budget. Generally, young travellers opt for inexpensive hostels or free couch surfing. There are also plenty of Bed & Breakfasts and nice hotels. Additionally, furnished apartments are available.

Check out this list of various accommodations in Edinburgh: Couch Surfing List of Bed and Breakfasts Apartments

BUDGET BACKPACKERS Located at the end of the Grassmarket, Budget Backpackers Hostel contains over 220 beds that are constantly filled with young travellers. Upon arrival, you are greeted by a diverse welcoming staff quick to tell you about the city. Check-In time is 1:00pm. If you arrive early, complementary luggage storage is available. Budget Backpackers offers breakfast from 7:00am to 11:00am with everything under £5.00. After breakfast, a free walking tour is available to get to know your way round Edinburgh. The hostel is close to the Grassmarket, which is full of pubs, bars and cafes. In the evenings, Budget Backpackers offers a trivia night followed by a pub-crawl that brings together both residents and staff. The 18+ hostel encourages mingling with other travellers and offers

free Wi-Fi in the common areas, including the kitchen and lounge. With rooms ranging from 30-bed mixed dorms to 2-bed privates, Budget Backpackers offers a wide range of accommodation for a reasonable price (starting at £14.00). Other amenities include linen and towel rental. Be sure to book this hostel early as its prime location makes it a hot commodity among travellers. Prices for the hostel do increase in the peak seasons of the Festival and Hogmanay. With a rich tenyear history, Budget Backpackers has solidified its place as a home for travellers on a budget. -VN 37-39 Cowgate; P: +44 0131 226 6351; 24-hour reception;


offering luxury rooms for the traveller looking to enjoy views of the city at a reasonable price (from £69.00). The Point, also known for its centre for events, houses two restaurants on site and offers complimentary Wi-Fi. While waiting to check in, utilise the free luggage storage and go off to explore the city by walking a short distance to the Grassmarket and the Royal Mile. With rooms ranging from singles up to suites, The Point Hotel has quiet retreats that you can relax in after spending the day in the busy city. Each room offers the basics but also includes Satellite TV, 24- hour room service, tea and coffee and an option for newspaper delivery. Some rooms boast spectacular views of the city, but no matter where in the hotel you end up you are bound to enjoy a relaxing stay. -VN

Located on Bread Street, just a short walk from the Grassmarket, 34 Bread Street; P: 0131 221 The Point Hotel Edinburgh is 5555; 24-hour reception; an up market accommodation



ot later than a week after visiting museums and galleries, of stuffing my belly at restaurants and shops and drinking through the whole whiskytour, there comes the question: what about my fitness? You may have the desire to get physical and to discover the city beyond just walking around day after day. It is not all about literature, history, live music and shops in Edinburgh, but there is a lot to explore by climbing, hiking, cycling and jogging as well. There are many parks everywhere in Edinburgh, and you do not even have to look for long. The central and lively Princes Street has a big and blooming green oasis right next to it. Those who wish to reach new heights, head for Holyrood Park to get to the top of Arthur’s Seat. Even the Meadows south to the university, and the Inverleith Park right next to the Royal Botanic Garden are never far away. Run through the long shady alleyways until you have felt the calories burn, then take a break, rest on the soft grass and just enjoy the view of

the city and the activities around you. If it is raining, head to Portobello Swim Center, just a 20-minute bus ride toward the coast. For those looking to practice climbing, Edinburgh International Climbing Arena is open daily and offers stunning routes. All of them are perfect places to stretch your legs. Sitting in the park for five minutes or travelling to a nearby gym shows you the variety of the local exercise opportunities. On a sunny day in the park, there are sword fighters swinging their tools and joggers crossing your view every second. Boys play soccer and rugby, while a group of girls is juggling with cloths and balls. There is a woman doing yoga next to me and a man passes, dragging his golf equipment in a little trolley. A young family, including a little dog, plays Frisbee together. This all shows that exercise here is fun, multifaceted and inviting! Johanna Lamm & Elisabeth Seide

CALTON HILL Everyone needs a short escape from the busy city life or a break to put down the heavy shopping bags: so keep walking to the end of Princes Street and you will come to Calton Hill. While in earlier days the top of the hill was the site of medieval tournaments and festivals and a little later it was used for public executions, it became one of Britain’s first public parks in 1724. Spectacular views over the Firth of Forth, Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh itself please the tourist’s eye and monuments built during the Scottish Enlightenment quench one’s thirst for historical knowledge. Or you can just go for a jog, take your dog for a walk or fly a kite on the windy hilltop, after all David Hume, an influential philosopher at the time, intended the roads to be built “for the health and amusement of the inhabitants”. It is easily and quickly accessible by a flight of stairs at Regent

Road on the South side or Royal Terrace on the North side and if you are a bit lazy you can even drive up there. Located very close to the City Centre it is a must CRAMOND see and a good place to recover from the exhausting sightseeing! This is a beautiful old village on -AH the waterfront with houses built in the 18th century. It is situated seven kilometres southwest from the city centre. The Roman Fort Craer Almond was originally arranged here, founded by the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius in 142 AD. From here, there is a promenade along the forested lovely river with a little cascade. During low tide, you can cross the kilometre long path to reach the nearby Cramond Island. But when the tide is high, this path is submerged. This makes crossing impossible. So make sure you will not be trapped on the uninhabited island and check the tide times before your trip. You can hire little boats to visit this island. There are buses running from Edinburgh to Cramond. -JL CALTON HILL / C. RAY DANCER



Edinburgh’s zoo lies a fair distance west of the town centre, so it may be better to take a bus. It has monkeys, big cats, penguins, rhinos, painted hunting dogs and many other animals, but the stars of the zoo are the giant pandas. To see them one must either wait until they come out into the open or pay extra for an entrance to the panda house. There is the chance to take a 30 minute ride on a safari tour wagon. Kiosks and toilets are almost around every corner of the zoo, which means that queues are rarely long here. The whole zoo is very family friendly with several playgrounds and no stairs. There are educational tables filled with activities such as feeling a koala’s fur. Apart from the animals, the location of the zoo provides visitors with a few nice viewpoints and easy routes to the hilltop. Opening times are 9am – 6pm during summer. The ticket for an adult costs £16, with a donation of £1.50 already included, but it is also possible to get the ticket without the donation if you ask for that at the entrance. -ES


Going for a walk in Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden is a really calming experience, even when it is raining – it actually makes the plants look greener. It is one of the most quiet and peaceful places within Edinburgh and is also educational. With the Royal Botanic Garden being a leading scientific centre for botanical research, one can find many rare tropical plants and information about them here. In the middle of the garden is the Terrace Café, which provides visitors with refreshments in a peaceful and calm atmosphere. While the outside area is free to visit, there is a small entrance fee to the glasshouses. -ES


The small meandering river that runs through Edinburgh is the Water of Leith. Walkers and cyclists can follow it for about 28 miles (43 kilometres). The area around Dean Bridge is one of the most interesting parts of the way. Apart from the Dean Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art being nearby, the area itself is beautiful due to its natural surrounding and picturesque old and newer buildings. Shops and tourist attractions are more likely to be found on the higher level, but the path under the bridge by the river is perfect for a peaceful walk close to the city centre. -ES


... is the most central park in Edinburgh. Located directly between Castle Hill and Princes Street, the Nor Loch served as a natural defence back in medieval days. In 1759, however, the area was drained and became a beautiful place for walks, lunch breaks and events. In summertime, the many trees and flowerbeds, which contain mainly roses of all colours, turn the Gardens into a great venue for concerts or a place to restore your energy level. In wintertime, the 154,000m2 (over 37.5 acres) become a winter wonderland with a Christmas market, an ice rink and a ferris wheel (33m/108ft). There is a playground at the west end and a couple of places to buy snacks. Public toilets are also to be found. The park is below street level, which makes access with a wheelchair or a pram a little difficult but which creates the illusion of distance to the buzz of a busy town and thus offers a relaxing park feeling despite its location right in the centre of the city. There are 147 benches in the West Princes Street Gardens alone, from some of which you have a great view of the castle. This is also a perfect place to watch the 1 o’clock gun being fired and to enjoy the surprise on ignorant tourists’ faces! -AH


Go Outdoors are the UK´s biggest Outdoor Stores. They offer the finest, lowest priced clothing and gear, as well as helpful and friendly advice. The staff is trained to know their stuff and these stores offer tent repair, a climbing wall, a boot fitting area, cycle servicing, gait analyses with a machine and much more. They sell everything to suit every outdoor activity, from caravanning, skiing and fishing to cycling, walking and travelling. There is also a North Face store in the City Centre (16 Frederick St) as well as several running and outdoor equipment shops along the Princes Street. -JL







don’t want to go home. I haven’t seen half the beauty this city has to offer.” These are the words that keep popping up in my head, now that the time stated on my return ticket has moved into countdown distance. Time flies like an arrow, especially in Edinburgh. There is so much to see, and no matter how long you are staying – for only three days or for three entire weeks – you will not run out of sights and things to discover. Depending on your taste in travelling, you can spend your days climbing hills, jogging through parks or studying one museum after the other. Personally, I had the best of times simply enjoying the medieval atmosphere of the Old Town. While everything beyond Princes Street is a thriving hub of modernity, walking along the Royal Mile will take you a few hundred years back in time.

Ambling down the cobblestoned street, which is framed by beautiful old houses, you start at Edinburgh Castle and it takes you past St Giles Cathedral, a few museums and a bagpiper or two in full attire, all the way down to Holyrood Palace. But while the obvious sights, often bursting at the seams with tourists, are quickly checked off on the to-do list, you can spend days on end exploring the small closes that lead off the main road between the houses, climbing up a flight of stairs, into a courtyard or finding a secret garden far from the busy vibes of tourism. The city seems to draw the vigilant and curious eye into the very heart of its existence and you almost expect someone to shout “Gardyloo” out of a window above (fr. Regardez l’eau, medieval expression. used to warn passers-by before throwing

the contents of your chamber pot out of the window). If you know your way around, some of these closes can be used as short cuts, cutting through the hill the city was built upon and the houses that seem to grow out of it, but I still lose my sense of direction and find myself at a very unexpected, yet another very lovely spot in Edinburgh. I haven’t grown tired of exploring the various facets of this city, and I am sure that this will not be my last time in Scotland’s capital. Anna-Lena Hänel


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When you are walking around the city you will see the Castle from every angle. The medieval building stands on a volcanic rock and was home to many Scottish monarchs over the centuries. The £16 entrance charge is expensive but there is a guided tour every half an hour. The area of the Castle is like a village itself. Many small houses, military buildings, the Royal Palace and the Scottish National War Memorial lie within the Castle walls. Standing by the Argyle Battery, you will have an amazing view of Edinburgh and the surrounding landscape. St. Margaret’s Chapel is considered to be the oldest building in Edinburgh. It was built in the 12th century, and holds only 20 people. Probably the most popular aspect of the Castle is the One o’clock Gun, which is fired every day except Sunday, and Edinburgh citizens check their clocks and watches by it.


The Castle hosts three museums: the National War Museum, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum and The Royal Scots Regimental Museum. They all give an idea of what the life of a soldier must have been during the wars and how Scotland developed throughout history. If you are interested in history, the military or a beautiful view, this is a must-see. This place has an aura of power! -CM


... is actually not a cathedral in the formal sense since it is lacking a bishop. Its official name is “High Kirk of St Giles”, a dedication to the patron saint of Edinburgh. While everyone is welcome to go to the daily service from Monday to Saturday at noon or to Holy Communion from Wednesday to Friday at 8am, the church has


become one of the main tourist attractions in Edinburgh. Its beautiful gothic appearance fits the Royal Mile perfectly as well as the heart of the city and makes, on a clear day, a great picture with the tiny glimpse of the ocean in the background (looking eastward). If you decide to have a look inside, make sure you do not miss the Thistle Chapel, which was the chapel of Scotland’s foremost order of chivalry, the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle. -AH


If you come across a place in Edinburgh where you see passers-by spitting into the same place, then you have found the Midlothian Heart! On the Royal Mile just outside St Giles Cathedral is a heart formed of different coloured cobblestones. It marks the position of the Old Tolbooth, which was the administrative centre of the town. Back in the days when Edinburgh was the county town of Midlothian, people had to come to the Tolbooth (toll=tax) to pay their taxes. Later on, the building became a prison and a site of executions before it was demolished in 1817. Nowadays, the heart is most recognised as the crest of the Edinburgh football team “Heart of Midlothian”. So the origin of the spitting tradition is unclear. While once it might have started as a sign of disdain of prisons, prisoners, executions or taxes, nowadays it might be because the spitters are supporters of the rival football team, but it is generally said to be for good luck. So come by and have a hearty spit whatever your motives! -AH

every day for 14 years in the Greyfriars Kirkyard until his death in 1872. The people were so impressed by Bobby’s loyalty that they buried him near John Gray. Today you can also visit his grave at Greyfriars and leave a ball for him to play with in paradise. -CM


The Secret Garden? It is not that much of a secret, but it still feels like a small discovery when you step off Canongate into the garden in Dunbar’s Close. Originally laid out as a back garden in the 17th century and then built on in the late 18th century, the early 1970s saw a reconsideration of how to use this area. The garden was cleared of buildings and, after consulting with residents, the landscape architect Seamus Filor designed the garden in 1976 with a clear view of its 17th-century layout. Although some compromises were made, the plants would have grown there three centuries earlier too, emphasising the original spirit of the garden. You can also enjoy a fine view of Calton Hill or if you just need a short break, you will always find a bench to relax in the different sections of the garden after a long walk along the Royal Mile. -FL



Right at the end of George IV Bridge, near the Greyfriars Kirk and opposite the National Museum of Scotland, the lifesize statue of Skye Terrier Bobby sits on a column. The monument is Edinburgh’s smallest listed building and tourist attraction. Behind this statue lies a beautiful story about the faithful dog Bobby. After his master John Gray died, Bobby visited his grave





In 1998, Tony Blair’s Government legislated for the return of the Scottish Parliament to Scotland after nearly 300 years. The location chosen for the new parliament was an area of old buildings close to Holyrood Palace and Arthur’s Seat (at the end of the Royal Mile). After demolishing the old buildings, a new one was designed by the Catalan architect Enric Miralles, and built between 1999 and 2004. His modern and brave design generates both love and hate among Scottish citizens. The whole complex is full of symbolism. The Parliament building has three important themes: the nature, the sea and the people. You can walk inside the Parliament and discover the hidden saltires, maps, and other metaphoric signs like waves, boats and human figures. The materials used are also symbolic: oak, slate and granite from Scotland. The parliament can be visited from Monday to Saturday until 6pm, even when the chamber is in session. Visitors can also go to sessions in the debating chamber. Access to the building is free. There is a big lounge with information desks full of multi-lingual pamphlets, and also exhibitions throughout the year. -AV



The Scott Monument, located on Princes Street, is 61.11 metres high. It was built in 1846 to commemorate the famous Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott, and is one of Edinburgh’s most remarkable symbols.




fter just one stroll through Edinburgh’s picturesque streets, it is clear that art and history form the backbone and very essence of this beautiful city. The Scottish people are passionate about their past, traditions, and culture, and have moulded Edinburgh into a hub of outstanding museums and galleries. Tourists and locals alike have nearly limitless access to exhibitions of various historical, religious, cultural, literary, artistic, and scientific topics. The larger galleries and museums include the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and many more. These provide impressive, informative, and thought-provoking exhibits that draw in thousands of viewers annually. Edinburgh also has a selection of smaller museums and galleries, which are no less interesting than their larger counterparts. Some examples include the Writer’s Museum, the Museum of Childhood, and the People’s Story Museum, the latter of which I particularly enjoyed. The People’s Story Museum gives visitors a peek into the lives of Edinburgh’s ordinary people, starting from the late 18th century. Adding to the museum’s historic feel, it is housed in the 16th century Canongate Tollbooth building. Upon entry, I felt as though I was transported back hundreds of years in time. Displays of historically dressed models and authentic Scottish artifacts are around every corner, and plaques of valuable information line each wall. As I explored the 18th century exhibit, I could feel the sightless eyes of the models on me as I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a young woman in Edinburgh during that time. Continuing on through the centuries, each display emphasises the hardship the city’s people had to endure. Once finished, I learnt that various locals had volunteered their time to make this museum possible. That perhaps, is the best part— the passion such people have for sharing their history with us. Rachel Newton



This wonderful museum essentially consists of two different parts: the first one is in an old Victorian building, constructed at the end of the 19th century; the second is a modern building built in 1996. Visiting the National Museum gives the visitor a very valuable experience regardless of age. The first part is especially designed for children because of its interactive nature. The little ones will learn about science, technology, natural history, and world cultures. In the second section the vi-sitor will live a remarka b l e experience travell i n g through t h e history of Scotland. The museum opens every day at 9:45AM and closes at 4:45PM. If you have time you can drink a coffee in the museum café, situated on the second floor while you enjoy the view of the Grand Gallery with the magnificent cast-iron construction and glass roof. -AV Chambers Street


Located between the numerous souvenir shops which are clustered along the Royal Mile, the Museum of Edinburgh only

stands out because of its bright red colour. Looking small and insignificant from the outside, the museum holds great historical treasures of the city. Items like Sir Walter Scott’s nutcracker, the cannonball from the Siege of Leith or Oliver Cromwell’s sword easily draw you into Scotland’s past. A fun way to become part of that past is to try on clothes that were worn in medieval times. Another highlight, not only for the kids, is a complete glass cabinet dedicated to Greyfriars Bobby. A cute life-like statue, drawings, and documents tell the story of the most famous and beloved dog of Edinburgh. The admission for the museum is free and it is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and in August on Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. Due to the structure of this 16th century building, the upper floors can only be reached by staircase, so they are unsuitable for those with disability or limited mobility. Prices are for adults £4, children (5 to 16) £2 and family £10. -VJ 142-146 Cannongate


Lovers of Scottish literature will enjoy a visit to The Writers’ Museum. The old house in Lady Stair’s Close displays a collection of personal belongings from three of the most famous writers from Scotland: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert

Louis Stevenson. Have a look at Walter Scott’s rocking horse and discover the places Stevenson visited to get his inspiration for his book Treasure Island. All three of them wrote their stories and poems in Scots. The house itself is also worth a look. The ceiling is beautifully decorated with wooden ornamentation and the stair walls are painted in bright red with golden lettering. The ground in front of the house has flagstones where you can read different quotes from famous people. If you want to prepare for your visit, listen to the popular song “Auld Lang Syne” and read the poem “My Luv is Like A Red Red Rose” by Robert Burns. You can get a special version of one of the books there too. The lady in the shop will be glad to help you find the right book to take to your family and friends. -CM Lady Stair’s Close


Entering the bright and airy foyer of the building which was originally erected as a warehouse in 1899 and has now been housing the City Art Centre for over 50 years, you are about to experience evernew temporary exhibitions with selected artworks taken from a collection consisting of over 4,500 works. In addition to the in-house exhibits ranging from paintings, prints and photographs to sculptures and installation art, the gallery also displays pieces from all over the world. The City Art Centre is one of Edinburgh’s main galleries with artworks dating from the 17th century up to the present. Beware of Sir James Stewart of Coltness’ stern 17th-century Puritan scrutiny, run for shelter with a family

when a tempest is approaching the beach in a 19th-century painting by William McTaggart and observe a street scene on Edinburgh’s North Bridge in 1870. If you are exhausted from diving into the stories behind the individual exhibits, you might enjoy one of the workshops, talks and lectures the City Art Centre also offers. After all, you could still pick up postcards of some of the paintings featured in the exhibition in the gallery shop. -FL 2 Market Street


Visiting the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland is one of the best ways to enjoy art and learn history in Edinburgh. The idea of the Gallery came from many notable people of the time, but was masterminded and paid for by the owner of The Scotsman, John Ritchie Findlay in 1882. The gallery has three different floors with twelve different rooms in which the visitor can see portraits of historical characters and Scottish society through different eras. One of the most significant and attractive parts of the building is the Great Hall, a brown and golden covered cloister in neo-gothic style. Above the pointed arches there is a fantastic mural depicting a procession of the main characters of Scottish history, from the beginning right up to the Enlightenment in the 19th century. The whole collection includes works of famous Scottish painters from Alan Ramsay to Ken Currie and is sorted by subject and periods. The upper rooms contain the oldest paintings whose theme is usually royalty while the others show pictures of people involved in sports, leisure activities and science over the ages. -AV 1 Queen Street


The National Gallery of Scotland is small compared to El museo del Prado of Madrid or the Hermitage of St Petersburg. The collection includes some of the most wonderful and well-known paintings in the world. “The Skating Minister” by Henry Raeburn and “The Old Woman Cooking an Egg” by Diego Velázquez are in the National Gallery of Scotland. There is also an enormous room for special exhibitions. The Gallery is located on The Mound in the Royal Mile, in a remarkable neoclassical building. -AV The Mound





dinburgh is home to over 750 pubs, bars and clubs and with only three weeks to our stay, we were determined to see as many as possible, no matter how difficult. Although we did not quite meet the goal, we managed to visit a fair few. Ranging from salsa clubs in the New Town, to live music bars along the Royal Mile, to quiet neighbourhood pubs, we experienced it all. Due to its large student population, Edinburgh is a city that is always up for a party. Whether you are a visitor or a local, the nightlife welcomes everyone and provides a chance to meet other city dwellers. A night out in Edinburgh can be many things. Be sure to keep an open mind and say yes to the city, as you never know where it can take you. You might find yourself singing along to drinking games

with kilt-clad Scotsmen, sitting on a metal swing in a nightclub, or even discussing politics with a pensioner. Drinking is a part of the Scottish culture. Nights out reveal the outgoing and loud nature of the Scottish people. As a tourist, taking part in the nightlife gives you the chance to be a part of that lifestyle. With the wide range of venues throughout the city, there is a place for everyone. If you are looking for a quiet pub on a week night, try Cloisters at Tollcross. A neighbourhood place ideal for conversation and card games, Cloisters offers a large variety of Scottish beers. Whistle Binkies, a dance bar just off the Royal Mile, has live music almost every night of the week. You also get the chance to showcase your talent on Sunday’s open-mic night.

After taking in all that Edinburgh has to offer, the best way to recover is Irn-Bru, the other national drink of Scotland. Be warned though, as it is terribly sweet. Samira Hänska & Vanessa Novis



11.00 AM£ -01.00 AM£

Recognisable from the street by its green exterior, Bennets Bar provides an intimate pub atmosphere where locals and travellers alike can gather and enjoy each other’s company. Located just south of Home Street in the University friendly area of Tollcross, Bennets offers a wide menu of traditional Scottish meals and an extensive list of beer and whisky. Bennets Bar gives you the feel of your Grandfather’s sitting room. A small space filled with tables and booths provides the perfect chance to unwind and swap stories. For dinner try their traditional Fish and Chips (£8.95) paired with a choice of over one hundred types of whisky. Whether you choose Bennets for a meal or just a drink, the warm inviting atmosphere will leave you feeling like a native Scot. Quiet music, dim lighting and walls filled with mahogany fixtures truly makes this your neighborhood pub. -VN


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Finnegan’s Wake is a popular Irish themed pub close to the Grassmarket, and it is probably even a bit too popular on the weekends. The pub has a great sound system and a rousing atmosphere. The varying live bands play good cover music and the friendly bar staff offers a wide range of beers and ales. Finnegan’s Wake is a good pub to go to and enjoy, but this is not the place for serious conversation due to the very loud music. -SH

BENNETS BAR 8 Leven Street

FINNEGAN’S WAKE 9B Victoria Street


WHISTLE BINKIES Perfectly located just off the Royal Mile, Whistlebinkies Live Music Bar attracts rock fans with good live music seven days a week. The prices are reasonable (at least for Edinburgh standards) and they provide a small dance floor, a quiz machine and some quiet seating areas downstairs. There is an open mic night every Sunday where local musicians can show off their talents. The atmosphere is really good and the staff friendly. Only complaint: the smell! As soon as you get inside you will get to smell the bathrooms. -SH 4-6 South Bridge

CABARET VOLTAIRE Known to locals as CabVol, this nightclub offers some kind of event, usually geared toward students every night. Although opening times vary depending on the day, this nightclub is open until 3:00 am. Situated on Blair Street, just off of Cowgate this club is a staple of Edinburgh nightlife. If you are not looking for a quiet pub then try CabVol. The loud dance music, smoke filled dance floor and overall crazy atmosphere makes every night feel like an electronica concert. They also offer events including trivia on Sunday nights, DJs and rolling concerts. Occasionally they have a cafÊ where food is served but it often requires advance booking. No matter the night in Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire will always have something going on, so strap on your going out clothes and head to the city’s biggest party! -VN 36 Blair Street



e all know that Great Britain is not famous for its good cuisine, but today we want to do away with this prejudice. Edinburgh has a large variety of local food and there are plenty of possibilities to try it. You can have it any time actually, for lunch or dinner of course but for breakfast or just as a snack as well. Walking through the city of Edinburgh, there is the smell of beer and popcorn everywhere that makes you hungry and curious about trying the local food. The best thing to do is to just choose one of the numerous pubs and try one of the local dishes that are served there, like Haggis. It would be a shame to leave Scotland without having tried the famous Haggis, which you can get everywhere: as a main dish, served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes) or as a side dish, with the famous baked potato or as an extra on a burger. You should try the Scottish pies as well, which can be filled with the famous Angus meat or haggis. Scotland is not only famous for its meat, but it has fantastic fresh fish, like salmon or shellfish that comes directly from the North Sea. We were very amazed by Scottish food, but as we noticed Indian restaurants on every corner, we thought that we should try those as well, because it is also part of the culture. You can really get authentic Indian food: from North Indian to Pakistani food, expensive and fancy to low budget and takeaway. Apart from all the Indian food you can find a lot of Italian influence in Edinburgh. There are coffee shops, pizzerias and small takeaways where you can get all kinds of small snacks. For those who still cannot get enough and need something sweet, there are many chocolate and pastry shops that sell amazing Belgian chocolate. So no matter what kind of food you like, you will never have to run to McDonalds or Burger King. Rebecca Christoph & Irene Schippl Carrera


THE PLAYFAIR 07.00 PM£ -01.00 AM£

The Playfair is a real sports bar, with flat screens all over the place, amusement machines here and there and you can choose between 50 single malts and six real ales. They have free Wi-fi and great food deals. Most meals average around £8.00. They sometimes has special meals such as a burger and a soft drink for £4.09, and a burger and a beer for £5.09. A fantastic combination of American and Scottish food is the Haggis Burger, served with fried onions and a tasty pint of beer. For a relaxing atmosphere, they play music from 5pm. -RC

THE WORLD’S END 06.00 PM£ -01.00 AM£

The famous World’s End pub is steeped in Scottish history. 16th century Edinburgh was enclosed by walls, with gates situated where the pub now stands. Since the people of Edinburgh refused to venture beyond the gates at that time, it really was the “World’s End” for them. Today, tourists and locals alike go for the friendly atmosphere and delicious food and beer. Anyone is welcome, although UK restricts those drinking alcohol to ages 18 and over. The World’s End is open from Monday to Friday from 11:00 am to 1:00 am, and Sunday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 am, and is located at 2-8 High Street. For more information, visit http://www. -RN


inspiring view out of the window in the back of the café just as she did. While drinking a coffee and sampling the special cake of the day, you should take a look at the hundreds of letters written by visitors to J. K. Rowling. Just open the drawer under the table! And if you have some paper and a pen you can leave a note there, too. It will still be there the next time you visit Edinburgh! -CM

HAGGIS AND WHISKY HOUSE This small pub in Cockburn Street is one of the oldest bars in Edinburgh and a really good place to try some whiskies or get breakfast on the weekend. There is only room for about 20 people total, which, in addition to the old furniture, adds to the homely atmosphere of the establishment. It has an assortment of over a hundred fair trade teas and about the same number of whiskies. The breakfast menu itself only features four or five different choices, but covers all tastes. Everything from fruit and cereals to haggis and sausages is available. The traditional Scottish breakfast is served straight from a frying pan, with some toast and butter. It is only available on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am to 12:30pm. -ES


A small Scottish Pie Shop at the Grassmarket with a perfect view of the old gallows site, where murderers and thieves were hanged. This rustic café is full of Edinburgh’s greatest places illustrated in paintings. It only has three tables but outside seating as well. It is the perfect option to have a cheap but great typical Scottish snack. If you are very hungry just add mashed potatoes and baked beans for only £3.90 to any pie on the list.

After you have touched Greyfriars Bobby’s nose for luck, you should make a detour to the bright red Café called The Elephant House on George IV Bridge. It became famous as the birthplace of Harry Potter, where J. K. Rowling A must try is the meaty, tasty wrote about the world’s most Angus pie and the very Scottish, popular wizard. Enjoy the same spicy Haggis pie. -RC


Edinburgh is full of Indian restaurants but if you are looking for something really authentic and special, if you are looking for the real taste of India’s street restaurants, then trying the TUK TUK Indian Street is a must. When you enter you immediately get the feeling of being in a different world because of the unique smell of mixed curries and Indian spices. The walls are full of Bollywood-movie posters, the lights are dimmed and the very large space is divided in different sectors all of which have their own decoration. When you have finally decided where to sit, you are served by a friendly staff that answers all your questions or confusions about the menu. The best way to go is with a group of at least three people because you are supposed to order a few different dishes and then share them, like they do in India. TUK TUK Indian Street has, like a lot of restaurants in Edinburgh a BYOB (bring your own bottle) policy but the typical Mango Lassi should be tried, especially to compensate for the spicy food. -ISC


The OMNI Centre

THE WORLD’S END 4 High Street


HAGGIS & WHISKY HOUSE 48 Cockburn Street




SHOPPING A fter hours spent exploring the popular galleries, museums and parks the city has to offer, a shopping trip provides a welcome change of pace in this busy city. Opting to skip the crowded pavements of Princes Street and the Royal Mile, my shopping excursion begins in the Edinburgh staple W. Armstrong & Sons. Curious about local fashion and style and where to find it, I stumbled across Armstrongs while wandering through the Grassmarket. A small and unassuming store front, it hardly looks like a place you could get lost in, but nonetheless I ventured inside. Immediately greeted by a friendly staff and endless racks of vintage finds, I knew this store had much to offer. Lining the ceilings are various trinkets and toys dating back to the store’s opening in the 1840s. Although the items above are not for sale, they provide inspiration for your shopping adventure ahead. Deciding to just wander the store and see what treasures I can find, I continued deeper inside. Armstrongs is divided into men and women, and from there, the lines blur. While looking through the ‘womens’ section, I see a wide range of coats, dresses, hats, pants, shoes and so much more. At first glance, some of the clothes appear a

bit odd, but I suppose that is the fun of vintage shopping, the chance to take something thrown away and turn it in to your own treasure. Amidst the other shoppers, I tried on coats from the 1920s, jumpsuits from the 1970s and even dresses from the 1980s. After what seemed like a few minutes, I looked down to see that hours had passed. I, like those around me, had been lost in the place that brings decades of the past together. I look forward to my next trip where I can steal away from the city to this vintage heaven. Vanessa Novis


The Stockbridge Market is Edinburgh’s weekly outdoor food and craft market. Shoppers are invited to sample and purchase the variety of fresh meat, produce, bread, cheeses, pies, jams, olives, art, crafts, Japanese noodles, Indian specialties, French crêpes, and numerous other enticing goods that are available. This friendly group of traders gathers year round on Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at 1 Saunders Street. Summertime offers an additional market on Thursdays from 12:00 pm to 7:30 pm. This is a free event, with no handicap or age restrictions. The prices are typically between £1 and £9. To access a complete list of vendors, please see the website: http://www.stockbridgemarket. com/ - RN


The first thing you will probably want to do when you enter the Old Town Bookshop is to have a good look at every single book on display, to touch the intricate designs on their spines and then to nestle in a corner and marvel at centuries of book art. Indeed, centuries. The oldest item in their collection of antique and secondhand books, maps and prints dates from the middle of the 17th century. In this treasure trove, it is easy to forget about the bustle of the old town. Just immerse yourself in one of the books that have found their way into the Old Town Bookshop through auctions, book fairs and private collections. Be sure not to miss the chance to talk to the owner Ron Wilson, whose love of books is contagious and whose anecdotes in themselves are worth a visit. Old and battered books are his patients who come limping through the door and whom he then restores. He also thinks of books as the DNA of our ancestors, worth preserving and paying attention to. You cannot help but feel the same way when you are in the Old Town Bookshop. -FL

HONEYDUKES 06.00 PM£ -01.00 AM£

The name of this sweetshop may attract Harry Potter fans, but the sweets inside resonate with anyone who wants to indulge their sweet tooth. You can buy typical Scottish sweets and some of the classic souvenir boxes, but Honeydukes has a lot more to offer. Stock up on your sweets with giant liquorice and jelly coke bottles or go for the back row of the shop, where you will find a variety of boiled sweets in every colour and with mouthwatering names. Not only are they delicious little souvenirs of your trip to Edinburgh, you will also find the shelves stocked with boiled sweets that are actually produced in Edinburgh. And for those of you who really want to make the eyes of Harry Potter fans shine, there are sweets with names sounding as if they had come straight out of one of the books. Even if you are not one for the shindig about the magical world, everyone will find something to like at Honeydukes. -FL 11 Frederick Street


Supporting emerging artists, this is the creed of the Red Door Gallery, which gives them space for exhibiting their handmade products, ranging from artists’ books and prints, through jewellery and accessories to cards and unique gifts. Browse through artwork in various forms and you will find very special souvenirs.-FL

42 Victoria Street | Mon-Fri 10.30am-5.30pm, Sat 10.00am6.00pm, Sun 11.00am-5.00pm

PAPER TIGER 10.30 AM£ -5.30 PM£

Souvenirs are all very well, but sometimes it can be hard to find just the right gift for family and friends. You can make someone laugh with a kilt-wearing bagpiper on a magnet, but you might still want to look for other souvenirs to take home as a little extra. Paper Tiger has walls full of creative, beautifully designed and funny cards. They are still expanding their collection of materials for making your own cards. You will also find stationery with a twist, books and unusual small gifts there. -FL 53 Lothian Road and 6A/8 Stafford Street; www.papertiger.; Mon and Wed 9.30am6pm, Tues 9.45am-6pm, Thurs 9.30am-7pm, Fri and Sat 9.30am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm

THE OWL & LION 10.30 AM£ -5.30 PM£

What about ‘scruffy‘ owls or dodos reminiscent of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Owl & Lion is a shop where you can have a look at prints on paper, cushions and bags as well as notebooks, all of it made in the on-site bookbindery and art studio. The focus of Isabella Ting and her team of illustrators, bookbinders and printmakers is skilled craftsmanship and they also impart their knowledge in bookbinding classes. -FL



The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Scotland is that you might not understand a word the Scots say. Don’t worry; it’s not your proficiency in English but their accent! So what do you have to know to understand them, and what would you have to do to blend in and speak like a real Scot? As in all countries, the accent and dialect changes from area to area. In Scotland, the Glasgow accent is completely different from what you hear in Edinburgh, and in the Highlands or Dundee or the Borders it’s different again. But as a general rule – and just to get you started - firstly roll the r’s at the tip of the tongue (try with bright red). Generally, there is no distinction between long vowels (as in pool) and short vowels (as in pull) in Scots English (they are all pronounced short), and the


vowels in bath and laugh are the same as in trap and man. Another peculiar thing that you’ll notice are vowels that in other accents combine two vowels in the same syllable. Mostly, they glide from the written vowel to a “u” (as in rope and house) or to “i” (e.g. the letter or pronoun I). In Scots, they don’t. You will hear them pronounced as rop and hoose and ah. One of the most prominent features of Scots, which it shares with some other English accents, is the glottal stop. Intervocalic t is often not pronounced. Thus Scottish and water turn into Sco’ish and wa’er. Even t in final position is lost (as in bright and spot). Scots also use words that are completely different in other accents, for example wee for little (a wee beer), nae for not in negative constructions (have nae) and ken for know (ah dinnae

ken = I don’t know). dinnae fash yersel’ meens don’t bother yourself, they say lads and lassies for boys and girls, and since the weather in Scotland is a subject on its own, dreich is the best way to describe it. If you bear in mind all of these sound effects, and say no’ for not and aye for yes, you will sound like a real Scot! -AH


Men in skirts! Even though mostly seen as a tourist attraction in Edinburgh, the Kilt is still widely worn today, mostly for special occasions, or modified in a fashionable way; the traditional checked pattern is not only seen in tourist shops. The whole outfit consists of the kilt itself, a leather bag(“sporran”), knee-high stockings with flashes of colour attached to garters,

a knife – or skein dhu – tucked into the top, a variety of different jackets, depending on the occasion, and either formal or standard ghillie brogues (shoes!) According to the underwearmystery: it’s up to the guy whether to wear it or not, but the thick woollen material is windproof and can’t be blown up for dramatic Marilyn Monroe Moments! -SH


Even though not invented by the Scots, the weird looking instrument is recognized around the word as a Scottish tradition as much as whisky and the kilt. Bagpipes are one of the family of aerophones, that is instruments that produce sound by vibrating air, and they are widely seen and heard on Edinburgh´s main streets, where a Scotsman in a kilt attracts tourists but they are

primarily used for dance music and military marches. Bagpipes consists of a bag, an air supply, a chanter and usually three drones. The player creates the sound while blowing into the air supply, and squeezing the

bag with his elbow. Players need to have strong lungs and the patience to learn. -SH


The Haggis is a small animal which is native to the Scottish Highlands. It has three legs, but since it always runs around hills, evolution has shortened the legs on one side so it can stand upright on a slope. There are two species: the ones with longer legs on the left side, and the ones with longer legs on the right side. They coexist peacefully but cannot co-breed, since the male has to turn its head in the same direction as the female for mating. But before the mating act is completed, it usually falls over. They are also very easy to catch. You just run around the hill in the opposite direction or you chase them to a flat plain where they run in circles. You may hear


this legend, or a version of it, in Scotland. However, do not take it too seriously! Haggis formerly was a poor man’s meal and it has become Scotland’s national dish. It is the sheep’s heart, liver and lungs minced with onion, oatmeal and spices, and boiled in a sheep’s stomach. True, it does not sound or look appealing, but if you get the chance you should try it. Traditionally, it is served with “neeps and tatties” (mashed turnips and potatoes), which make a nice contrast to the well-flavoured Haggis. You can get Haggis in most pubs and restaurants and even fried, on a burger or topped with whisky. Haggis is famously celebrated in an ode by Robert Burns (“Address to a Haggis”) and thus is an essential part at Burns’ Supper on 25th January, the day Scotland commemorates its national poet. -AH


This fried chocolate bar is really no “traditional Scottish food“. The idea is a Mars Bar dipped in the same batter as the fish for fish and chips, then deepfried in the same sizzling oil. Although the Scots are fond of their fried food, the Deep Fried Mars Bar is not popular to all. If you order this delicacy in one of the fast food places, you will be given very strange looks, and immediately marked down as a tourist. Seemingly, the Deep Fried Mars Bar is only tried by curious tourists. Before you start to complain, you should be aware of how greasy it is. Try it, for example, at Clamshell in 14 High Street (Royal Mile). -MG


Whisky is perhaps the most famous distilled spirit in the world. In 2012 Scotland exported 127.5 millions of 75cl bottles, accounting for 20% of food and drink exported from the whole of the UK. Scottish whisky or Scotch is a spirit made from fermented barley mash which is distilled and matured in oak casks. Whisky takes its colour and aroma from the casks and reduces the amount of alcohol (from 90% to 40%). Every year 2% of the content of casks evaporates in a process c a l l e d ‘angel’s share’. There are six different whisky regions in Scotland: Lowland, Highland, Speyside, Islands, Islay and Campbeltown. Depending on where it is distilled, whisky is different and yes, the price is different too. Edinburgh is located in the Lowlands, the whisky of this region is used specially blending, that is, to mix with other whisky and create an economic one. -AV



f you have read Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes or Harry Potter and want to gain some special insight into your favourite books, then a trip to Edinburgh is the very thing for you. Literature pervades the city. In fact, Edinburgh was awarded the title of the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2004. You will find references to authors, characters and stories on every corner. Statues, street names and pubs allude to literary creations. To get an idea of Scottish literature, we took part in the Book Lovers’ Tour with Allan Foster, author of a literary travel guide. Not only did we get to see the places where Burns, Scott, Stevenson, Rankin and J.K. Rowling wrote; we also heard about the people who influenced them. Of course, we do not want to spoil your own experience. Just as a little treat, we now know that J.K. Rowling wrote large parts of her books in the unostentatious Spoon café, formerly the Nicolson Café. Need some crazy party tips? Just have a McGonagall supper in ‘honour‘ of the best bad poet of all times. Have your dinner backwards: welcome your guests with a goodbye, enjoy your dessert and end with the starters. Garnish it all with a dash of hilarious poems and you will have the most extraordinary evening. But for more anecdotes, listen to Allan Foster yourself. Supplied with new information, we went to one of Edinburgh’s more than twenty second-hand bookshops, The Old Town Bookshop. Books and prints are stacked up to the ceiling, filling every inch on the shelves. Discover the treasures, breathe in the smell of centuries-old paper and reveal the stories these old books have

to tell. The shop owner, Ron Wilson, has also got some very interesting stories to tell, be it about the restoration of books or about the ghosts of philosophers rearranging the books on the shelves at night. David Hume and his ghost buddy Adam Smith just know how to sort things out. Ron Wilson will be pleased to show you one of the books he is restoring at the moment, pointing out its beautiful details. When he talks about his books, you get the feeling that each of them has got its own personality. Get drawn into his world, in line with the bookshop motto: “Feed your mind & feast your eyes“. So just go and discover the City of Literature for yourself… Christine Möller & Franziska Lange


SCOTTISH POETRY LIBRARY ‘By leaves we live’. This is the creed of the Scottish Poetry Library, which is one of three poetry libraries in the UK. The statement reflects their passion for poetry, which you can sense the moment you enter the awardwinning building designed by Malcolm Fraser Architects. It is bright and welcoming, with just the right atmosphere to pick up and enjoy a book from their collection. Starting with a modest number of 300 books in the early 1980s, the collection has grown to 30,000 anthologies, single and collected editions, reference books, periodicals and special collections. In addition to the Scottish core collection, the library also houses editions of international poets. As is written on one of the book sculptures showcased there, “a library is so much more than a building full of books“ and so it is a pleasure to discover poems in the pamphlets collection as well as in the audiovisual and the cuttings collection, where you can trace a poet’s life by means of newspaper cuttings. In poetry workshops, you can also work on your own writing. -FL 5 Crichton’s Close

THE BOOK LOVERS TOUR The tour on foot through the streets of Edinburgh is a must-do for every book fan. The writer Allan Foster, who wrote a literary travel guide, shows you the places where writers like J. K. Rowling, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Conan Doyle got the inspiration for their novels. The tour includes a visit to the building of the Edinburgh Centre of Carbon Innovation, where Conan Doyle studied medicine and was taught by surgeon Joseph Bell. Bell became

famous as being the person Sherlock Holmes’ character is based on. This building is part of the Edinburgh University, where today geography is studied. It was also the birthplace of Wendy. J.M. Barrie’s friend W.E. Henly’s daughter Margaret called him “fwiendy-wendy” instead of friend, which led to the creation of the character. As a guide to this tour, Allan Foster delivers the facts with clarity and humour, and it is very interesting even if you do not know all of the famous writers he mentions. But after this tour you certainly want to read one of the books of these authors you heard so much about. Meeting point is in front of The Writers’ Museum in Lady’s Stair Close. -FL Wed – Sun 11.30pm and 1.30pm; www.edinburghbookloverstour. com

POTTER TRAIL If you are a die-hard Harry Potter fan and you do not mind being identified as such, the Potter Trail is the ideal tour for you. If you are a die-hard Harry Potter fan, you might also get over your initial embarrassment at following a robed tour guide through the city and waving a wand at traffic lights. Apart from that, it makes for a nice change from visits to museums. You will not only see places and names that inspired J.K. Rowling, but also learn about the stories behind them. The tour covers the places where she wrote her books, but is about more than her fictional universe: you also get to know more about medieval Edinburgh and ‘real’ witches and wizards of that era. So, once you get into the Harry Potter mood, the Potter Trail offers the chance to just imagine for about one and a half hours that such places as

the Edinburgh Castle and George Heriot’s School, to name just a few, could really be a part of the magical world. -FL Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun: 5pm | meeting point: in front of Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar |

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SCOTLAND If you feel a sudden yearning for some quiet amidst the buzz of Scotland’s capital, the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge, Scotland’s largest library, could be your haven. Its predecessor, the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, was founded in the early 1680s. Since 1710, the library has been entitled to receive a copy of every single book published in Britain. It comes as no surprise, then, that an additional building on Causewayside was completed in 1995 in order to make room for the library’s extensive collection, which by now amounts to around 15 million printed items. From rare books and historical documents to photographs, manuscripts to maps, music to magazines, there is nothing you cannot find in the National Library. Even if you only sneak a peek through the Reading Room doors – access is only granted with a free Library Card – the ground-floor exhibition alone offers an insight into the library’s treasures. In addition to rolling showcases, an interactive permanent exhibition on the John Murray archive gives a shrewd overview of the publisher’s famous authors. To top off your visit, you could read Discover NLS, the library’s magazine, in the café or browse through the stationery and books in the shop. -FL George IV Bridge


1948 Alexander McCall Smith worked as a professor of Medical Law before he devoted his time to the writing of fiction after the success of his The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. In addition to collections of short stories, academic works and children’s books, he is also the author of the Scotland Street and the Sunday Philosophy Club series. The award-winning writer of over 80 books lives in Edinburgh with his wife and has two daughters.


1960 The stories about detective Rebus are known by every big fan of detective stories. Ian Rankin is one of the most famous writers of our time and lives with his family in Edinburgh. The city inspires him a lot. Some stories even take place in Edinburgh. Maybe you are lucky and will meet Rankin in his favourite pub, the Oxford Bar.


1965 The brave wizard Harry Potter is part of the childhood of a whole generation. J.K. Rowling wrote a lot of the Harry Potter series in Edinburgh’s cafés and was inspired by many places and names of the city. She still lives here and writes novels. Have a coffee in the Elephant House or Spoon café and read the names on Greyfriars Kirkyard to discover McGonagall and Thomas Riddell.


SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771-1832)

Sir Walter Scott is known for creating the first historical novels. He was the first English-language writer to have an international career: his works found many readers in Europe, North America and Australia and paved the way for the great Victorian novels. Among his 26 novels, you will find such popular works as Ivanhoe, Waverley and The Heart of Midlothian. The Scott Monument on Princes Street commemorates this important Scottish author. Climb the 287 steps to the top and enjoy the view of literary Edinburgh!


(1850-1894) Robert Louis Stevenson is a real child of Edinburgh of the 19th century. He began writing as a little kid, fascinated by the man who lit the street lamps in front of his house every night. His most famous works are Treasure Island and Jekyll and Hyde. Cramond Island gave Stevenson the idea for Treasure Island.


(1759-1796) Robert Burns was born a farmer’s son in a village in Ayrshire. Along with his relatively good education and his interest in books, pretty young girls proved to be conducive to his poetry. The publication of his first collection of poems was a great success. However, his love of women, drink, poetry and nature as well as the hard labour on the fields in his young years would eventually take their toll on Burns. He died in 1796, aged only 37. Burns is well-known for his poems and songs, such as To a Mouse and Auld Lang Syne.


EDINBURGH FESTIVAL Every year, the world is turned upside down in Edinburgh for three weeks in August. During this time, the city bursts at the seams with tourists and locals, performers and observers, art-lovers and party-goers. On multiple stages throughout the capital, hundreds of performers put on various shows (there is something for every taste: musicals and operas, comedy and children’s shows, dancing shows and theatrical performances, exhibitions and other events) and transform Edinburgh into an absolute must see. The Fringe 2012 was the largest ever arts festival in the world: there were 42,096 performances (814 thereof completely free) in 279 venues, staged by 22,457 performers from 47 different countries. Every year, the festival ends with spectacular fireworks staged a t Edinburgh Castle on the last day. If you are interested in other festivals in Edinburgh throughout the year, check out these websites:





he first contact I had with Scottish music was at the age of seven. This was when I saw the movie Braveheart for the very first time. Since that day, three things were clear to me: My favourite actor is Mel Gibson; I definitely want to visit Scotland someday; and Scottish or Celtic music can move me to tears. Many people think that Scottish music is very annoying, mainly due to the sound of the bagpipes. I think it is very nice that a country is recognized only by the music. If bagpipes or flutes can be heard in a song, everyone associates it with Scotland. Some world famous bands come from Scotland, without using traditional instruments. Franz Ferdinand and Travis are two of them - the members of both bands are originally from Glasgow. Although they are genuine Scots, they do not need to run around in a kilt playing bagpipes! Their music makes more use of the typical British sound, so the music can be classified in this style. Another band, Biffy Clyro, comes from Ayr on the west coast of Scotland, just an hour drive from Glasgow. All three bands could make a name for themselves in the music world. Nevertheless, I still like to put on the soundtrack of Braveheart and let the music take me to the Highlands of Scotland. Marie-JoĂŤlle Gallinge

STREET MUSICIANS Edinburgh is full of music. When the sun comes through the clouds, you can see many street musicians on every corner. The most famous ones are the bagpipers, curiously only men. They stand and play all along Princes Street. The Royal Mile is also a good point to come across street musicians. Most of them are playing the guitar, but it is not just modern rock songs. Some are performing traditional Scottish music, sometimes a little bit modified. It is great to pause in your sightseeing for a moment, to listen to the music and hear and feel the real Edinburgh. It is great how the Scots can invoke the sound of the city in just one song. -MG

The lanc reta can sic Wh


e Red Dog Music Store covers 5,000 square feet. It is situated on the Grassmarket adjacent to the Avache Records. The store was opened in 2008 and is the UK’s largest musical instruments and equipment ailer today. Unlike many other music stores, this one is run by performing musicians. Thus, the customers n be absolutely sure to get the best possible advice. Only 16 months after the opening, the Red Dog MuStore has been voted the “Best Independent Retailer” against 2,000 other music shops across the UK. hen you walk into the store, you find yourself at first in a small anteroom. There, you can find flyers that advertise nearby pubs with live music. A few steps further, you are in a musician’s heaven. There are guitars everywhere, even on the ceiling. In another room, there are various drums, pianos and technical equipment. On request, you may be able to try out the tools and gadgets for yourself. -MG 1 Grassmarket


AVALANCHE RECORDS For over 20 years it is been possible to buy classics and new independent music at the Grassmarket. Avalanche Records is in a perfect location right next to the Red Dog Music Store. The Record Store looks unassuming from the outside, but inside you can find everything for the music lover. At the entrance, the customer is welcomed by the smell of the coffee shop inside. There you can sit and relax after the exhausting shopping. In the rear part of the shop are the music treasures. Whether used or unused, at Avalanche Records you can find something for every price. And as if that is not enough, they also sell film posters, DVDs, and second hand clothing. This really is an exceptional record store. -MG

The Usher Hall is worth a visit if only because for the breathtaking interior design. But whoever wants to see more than just the entrance and the concert hall should take the “Behind the Scenes” tour. Every Saturday from 10:30am, you have a chance to glance into the otherwise hidden rooms. In the reception area, you will be in the new part of the Usher Hall, where the tour begins. In addition to many historical facts, you can learn a lot about the architecture of the building. The most impressive thing about the guided tour is certainly the walk onto the stage. It is an incredible feeling to be able to stand where Johnny Cash, Adele, Oasis and Michael Buble have performed, as well as all the top classical musicians in the world. The tour costs from £4.50 to £7.00 and is worth every penny. When do you ever get the opportunity to look into the private locker rooms of the Usher Hall? -MG Lothian Road

5 Grassmarket




n my first day in Edinburgh, I took a guided tour of the city which gave me an overwhelming impression of its rich cultural heritage. Walking down the Royal Mile and practically treading on the bones of the victims of the plague in the 17th century awakened a morbid and yet extremely curious feeling in me. As the tour continued, I learnt about the infamous function of the Mercat Cross which had been used as a pillory for men and women. Listening to the stories of witch hunts and ghosts roaming the Edinburgh graveyards, I soon realized that superstitious beliefs and the fascination with the supernatural are firmly rooted in the city’s history. Being passed on down the centuries, myths of supernatural beings or strange occurrences have frightened and excited the locals for generations. In medieval times, people were usually buried right next to a church. On the one hand, this was because of strong Christian belief. On the other hand, people did not want to bury their family members, relatives, or friends outside of the castle’s walls for fear that strangers or vagrants would desecrate the bodies. In this case, the ghosts of the deceased would haunt the citizens of Edinburgh for not taking care of their bones properly. But also in modern times, the spine chilling stories of Sawney Bean, Deacon Brodie, Mary King and Thomas Weir, or fantastic legends of the fair folk are very popular with the young and old alike. Diving into the superstitious world of Edinburgh and gradually discovering more secrets of the city and its inhabitants, made me experience this place in an exciting and far more intense way. Let yourself be fascinated by the superstition, the supernatural, and the horror Edinburgh has to offer.

Viviane Jackl

THE EDINBURGH DUNGEON The 80-minute journey into the dark world of the Edinburgh Dungeon provides the perfect mixture of thrill and entertainment. In the courtroom, you might have to take the blame for unjustly being accused of witchery. The torturer in the next room gives a lively introduction into the horrors of martyrdom and popular torture techniques. You would be surprised what could be done with a meat hook. Continue the tour to meet the filthy robber’s den of Sawney Bean and his incestuous cannibal family. A macabre and yet funny show awaits you in the anatomy room. Eventually, after experiencing what it is like to be sentenced to death by hanging, try and find a way out of the fun house. The Edinburgh Dungeon on 31 Market Street next to Waverly Bridge offers daily tours until the 25th Oct 10am-5pm. For opening times, tour dates, and prices, check the website: Ordering the tickets online can save you up to £5.25 and you can use the priority entrance to avoid waiting in a queue. -VJ

MARY KING’S CLOSE Located on the Royal Mile in the Old Town, The Real Mary King’s Close is the only close untouched by progression and preserved in most of its original structure. The tour offers a short glimpse into the

lives of the poorer people who worked and died there. A poor family’s home in the close usually bore the unimaginable smell of burned fishoil which was used for the lamps and, of course, the stink of the waste bucket in the farthest corner of the room. In addition to the low life expectancy of forty years, the plague hit Edinburgh very hard in the 17th century. Being brought to the House of Death meant the death sentence in almost every case. There, the victims of the pneumonic and bubonic plague drew their last suffering breaths. The tour continues until Oct 2013 on Mon-Sun 10am-9pm, Nov 2013-Mar 2014 Sun-Thur 10am5pm and Fri-Sat 10am-9pm. The tour lasts one hour and starts approximately every 15 minutes. Sturdy shoes are recommended but safe wheelchair access is not possible. Special events for 2013/14 can be looked up under: 2 Warriston’s Close, High St -VJ

DOOMED, DEAD & BURIED In Edinburgh, there are numerous horror tours, which not only take you back into medieval times, but also send an exciting chill down your spine. Mercat Tours offers, amongst others, the “Doomed, Dead & Buried” tour which starts at the Mercat Cross on High Street. Along the way to the Blair Street Underground Vaults, ghost stories like that of William Barton and the devil or the one about half-hanged Maggie get the audience in the mood for what is still to come. Due to dim light and the uneven ground, your senses sharpen and perceive every noise and movement more intensely. The only light is provided by a few candles whose flickering flames throw restless shadows on the walls. The last stop of this tour is the Canongate

Graveyard, which also has frightening tales of body-snatchers and living people mistakenly buried. Prices are for adults £14, children £7 and concession £12. The tour runs from Apr-Oct daily at 8.30pm and Nov-Mar only on Fri & Sat at 8.30 pm. It lasts 1h45min but is unsuitable for those with disability or limited mobility. For other tours check the website: http://www. -VJ

GREYFRIARS KIRKYARD The Greyfriars kirkyard, which was built in the mid-16th century, is located in the Old Town and bears many secrets, myths and unexplainable disturbances. In the 17th century, approximately 400 Covenanters were imprisoned in an enclosed area of the graveyard because they opposed the interference of the English monarchy in ecclesiastical matters of Scotland. Since most of the Covenanters were unwilling to give up their resistance, they had to endure inhumane living conditions and brutal torture, which mostly ended in a slow and agonising death. According to reports and documentaries focusing on the paranormal activity of the so-called Covenanters’ Prison, there are over 350 individual cases of people discovering unexplained scratches, bruises, or bite marks after having entered this evil resting-place. For safety reasons, the Covenanters’ Prison is closed and can only be seen through iron bars, but occasionally people find their way into this haunted place. Ironically enough, the Poltergeist of George MacKenzie, the main prosecutor of the Covenanters, is buried in the nearby Black Mausoleum and is now said to roam the graveyard at night. is now said to roam the graveyard at night. -VJ


EDINBURGH TIMELINE ORIGINS 600 Hill fort defences are visible around Arthur’s Seat at Dunsapie Hill 1020 Malcolm II permanently annexes Edinburgh to Scotland 1093 St Margaret of Scotland dies in the ‘Castle of Maidens’ in November in Edinburgh 1128 Holyrood Abbey was founded in Edinburgh by David I, King of Scotland 1130 David I builds a formidable royal castle, Edinburgh Castle, on the rock.

1600 to 1750 1603 The Union of the Crowns 1645 Fearing the spread of the plague, Edinburgh Town Council banned all gatherings except weddings and funerals

1750 to 1800 1759 The Nor’ Loch is drained and becomes Princes ­Street Gardens 1771 Walter Scott is born at College Wynd, Edinburgh

1677 The first coffee house opens in the city

1772 North Bridge is built

1707 The Union of the English and Scottish Parliaments

1781 The Mound road is opened

1748 Adam Smith begins to deliver public lectures in Edinburgh

1787 The Assembly Rooms are built in George Street

1800 to 1860 1826 Charles Darwin begins studying medicine at Edinburgh University 1827 Burke and Hare commit their first murder in a spree that would last 12 months 1842 The Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line is opened to the public 1846 The Scott Monument is erected 1859 The National Gallery opens

1860 to 1900 1872 Greyfriars Bobby dies aged 16, and is buried near his owner, John Gray, at Greyfriars Kirkyard 1883 - Robert Louis Stevenson, born in Edinburgh, publishes Treasure Island as a novel 1886 - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is published by Stevenson 1889 The Scottish National Portrait Gallery opens on Queen Street 1895 Edinburgh is lit by electricity 1947 -The first Edinburgh Fringe Festival is held

1900 to PRESENT 1950 The first Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held 1996 The Stone of Destiny is returned to Scotland 1997 JK Rowling’s first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is published 1999 The Scottish Parliament is opened by Her Majesty The Queen near Holyrood Palace 2004 The new Scottish Parliament building opens 2004 Edinburghs is named the first UNESCO City of Literature



Edinburgh 2013


Final (single) 'scot to be fun !!!