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Our Dynamic Earth

statue and fountain, was erected in 1873, paid for by Lady Burdett-Coutts, reputed to be the richest woman in the country at the time. Bobby himself is now also buried in Greyfriars. His headstone reads: ‘Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all’. The Palace of Holyrood Royal Mile (N10) 0131 556 5100 See page 23

The Hub Castlehill, Royal Mile (F11) 0131 473 2015 thehub– Open daily

The historic, grade-A listed building is impossible to miss on your way to or from Edinburgh Castle, casting an

Discover the experience with spirit Enjoy a barrel ride through a replica distillery as you become part of the whisky making process t Explore the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky t Silver, Gold and Platinum tours* Amber Restaurant, Coffee Shop and Whisky Bar t Fabulous Scottish cuisine matched with an amazing variety of Scotch Whiskies t Discover our unique chocolate and Whisky pairing t Traditional Whisky Bar with over 330 different Scotch Whiskies Personal shopping in our Whisky Shop t Discover over 330 different Single Malt, Grain and Blended Scotch Whiskies in our Whisky Shop Ticket bookings: Call 0131 220 0441 or visit Book Amber Restaurant online at *

15 Languages available, fully accessible

24 Edinburgh 2011: The Insiders’ Guide

imposing shadow on the ground below. The Hub was built between 1842 and 1845, by architects James Gillespie Graham and Augustus Welby Pugin, and originally housed the Assembly Hall and offices for the Church of Scotland. The Edinburgh International Festival acquired the building in 1995 and it underwent a huge transformation before opening to the public in July, 1999. It now houses a friendly cafe and performance space, and, of course, doubles as a venue during the festival. Lauriston Castle 2a Cramond Road South 0131 336 2060

Open by guided tour only:



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Apr–Oct Mon–Thu, Sat & Sun 2pm, Nov–Mar Sat & Sun 2pm £5 (£3) Lauriston Castle was left to the nation in 1926 after the death of its last private owner, and the interior is just as she would have left it. The beautiful gardens were designed by William Playfair in the 1940s. Museum on the Mound The Mound (G10) 0131 243 5464 Open daily, admission free

This museum is relatively new (opened in 2006), but offers a fascinating, and free, look at all things financial, from insurance to banknote design. Unless you’ve been lucky enough to win the lottery, seeing £1million in real–life is something many of us could only dream of, but at the Museum on the Mound, you can look (but don’t touch) at this mythical pile of cash. Or, if you fancy trying to get some yourself, why not try your hand at cracking a safe. The Nelson Monument Calton Hill (A8) 0131 556 2716 Open daily £3

Lord Nelson famously died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and just one month later, Edinburgh’s citizens met to plan building a monument to him, before his body had even got back to Britain. The building was completed in 1815, with the time ball added in1852 to help ships’ captains set their chronometers accurately from the deck of their ships on the Forth when the ball

was dropped at one o’clock. However on foggy days they couldn’t see the signal, so in 1861 the one o’clock gun was introduced. At one o’clock, be sure to look out for the ball as it is still dropped daily (except Sunday). Inside the monument you can read a copy of his last letter to the great love of his life, Emma, Lady Hamilton, see a model of his flagship, Victory, and find out what happened in the battle. Our Dynamic Earth Holyrood Road (M 11) 0131 550 7800, Open daily Apr–Oct; closed Mon–Tue, Nov–Mar; check website for times in Dec and Jan £11.55 (£7.70), under 3s free

Our Dynamic Earth takes you on a journey through our planets past, present and future, with interactive exhibits and impressive technology. Beginning with the Big Bang, children and adults alike can witness the creation of the Earth, follow the planet through its evolution and even catch glimpses of its future. From dry tundra to the bottom of the ocean, a journey through Dynamic Earth is exciting, fun and engaging. Whether coming face to face with an extinct dinosaur, feeling the sticky heat of a tropical rainforest or flying over glaciers in prehistoric Scotland, Dynamic Earth presents all aspects of the planet we live in. Population growth, concepts of time and the realities of climate change are just the tip of the iceberg – and there’s even one of those too!

Getting around Edinburgh’s volcanic terrain means you’re never far from a steep hill, and while getting around the city centre is simple on foot or by bike, taking a bus tour is an easy way to see the sights, especially if your time is limited


he city’s main tour operator is Edinburgh Bus Tours, which runs a number of guided hopon hop-off routes throughout the city, taking in highlights such as the Castle, the New Town, the Edinburgh Dungeon and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Tours start at Waverley Bridge but can be joined at any of the stops along the route. Its City Sightseeing ticket has a commentary available in nine languages, as well as a Horrible

Histories Edinburgh guide for kids – or for anyone interested in learning about the darker side of the city’s past. It also has a vintage tour bus option, and hardier passengers can take a bracing seat on the open top deck for great views of the city. Tickets can be used for 24 hours and the company also runs a ‘bus and boat’ ticket together with Forth Boat Tours at South Queensferry from April to October. If you’re looking to venture farther afield, are on a tight budget or just want a little more independence, a £3 day ticket from Lothian Buses will allow you unlimited travel on its buses anywhere in the city and are available from the driver.

 Edinburgh Bus Tours 0131 555 6363

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Good at food.

One beautiful city, four great cafés. Freshly-prepared food and award-winning coffee.

Fruitmarket Gallery Café 45 Market Street 0131 226 1843

Fenton Barns Farm Shop and Café Fenton Barns, near Drem, East Lothian 01620 850 294

26 Edinburgh 2011: The Insiders’ Guide

Saint Giles’ Cathedral Café High Street 0131 225 5147

Storytelling Café 43 – 45 High Street 0131 556 1229



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Rosslyn Chapel Roslin, Midlothian 0131 440 2159 Open daily, closed 25, 26 & 31 Dec, and 1 Jan £7.50 (£6), under 16s free

Rosslyn Chapel has always been of interest to historians, but recently reached a wider area of attraction by being a crucial location in the book and film, The Da Vinci Code, which has transformed it to an extremely popular attraction. Founded in 1446 as the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew by Sir William St Clair, the Chapel took some forty years to complete and was not finished until after Sir William’s death in 1484. The beauty of its setting and the mysterious symbolism of its ornate stonework have inspired and intrigued artists and visitors ever since. Royal Yacht Britannia Ocean Terminal, Leith (Q18) 0131 555 5566 See page 21

The Scott Monument East Princes Street Gardens (G9) 0131 529 4068 Open daily

The Scott Monument is the largest monument to a writer in the world, commemorating Sir Walter Scott, who through his work is credited (and blamed for) creating the Highland laddie version of Scotland many tourists expect to see. When Scott died in 1832, a competition opened to design a monument to him, and this was won by George Meikle Kemp, a self-taught architect. The monument was inaugurated in 1846,

and the striking design, described by Bill Bryson as a ‘Gothic rocket ship’, dominates Princes Street. For those with a head for heights, climbing the 200ft tower rewards with fantastic panoramas of the city and surrounding countryside. The Scottish Parliament Holyrood (M10) 0131 348 5200 Admission and guided tour free, tickets needed for entry to Debating Chamber Opening times vary, see website. Closed Sun

Scotland’s controversial Parliament sits at the foot of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile in front of the spectacular Holyrood Park and Salisbury Crags. Constructed from a mixture of steel, oak, and granite, the complex building has been hailed as one of the most innovative designs in Britain today, but opinion is still divided as to whether it is an architectural asset, or a complete waste of money. Whatever you think of it, the building is certainly a talking point. Drawing inspiration from the surrounding landscape, the flower paintings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the upturned boats on the seashore, Enric Miralles, one of the world’s premier architects, developed a design that he said was a building ‘growing out of the land’. Surgeons’ Hall Museum Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Nicolson Street (I12,13) 0131 527 1649 Open Mon–Fri (additional

Park life Duddingston, next to Holyrood Park on the southeastern slope of Arthur’s Seat, is a pretty village that dates back to the 12th century and is a dedicated conservation area.


he village’s oldest surviving building is Duddingston Kirk, which still retains some Norman features and is one of the oldest places of worship still in use in Scotland. One of the village’s best known buildings – and most popular attractions however, is the Sheep Heid, a pub with its own skittle alley and an ideal spot for a pint after a walk up Arthur’s Seat. The pub is known as Scotland’s oldest, as there’s been a building bearing the Sheep Heid name on the site since 1360. Also of interest is Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Cottage, where the

Prince stayed before the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745, although this is now a private house. Duddingston Loch is the only freshwater loch in the city and is home to a variety of wildlife including waders and otters. The loch is also the home of curling - the rules of the game were penned in Thomson’s Tower, which is now open to visitors. The loch has also long been popular with skaters, as depicted in Henry Raeburn’s famous 1795 oil painting of the skating minister, which is on display in the National Gallery.

 Duddingston Kirk Old Church Lane 0131 661 4240 The Sheep Heid The Causeway 0131 661 7974 Thomson’s Tower Dr Neil’s Garden Trust, Old Church Lane 07849 187 995

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opening hours during Festival, closed over Christmas and New Year) £5 (£3)

If you like your exhibits with an added edge of gore, then the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is the place to go. Open to the public since 1832 (making it Scotland’s oldest museum), it houses one of the largest and most historic collections of surgical

pathology material in the United Kingdom. Find out about Edinburgh’s special contribution to surgical practice in modern times, pre-anaesthesia surgery, Simpson and the discovery of chloroform as an anaesthetic; and Lister and the breakthrough discovery of antiseptic. When you’ve been through the Dental Collection, you’ll be thankful for modern techniques.

The waterfront • Discover the heart and soul of this very special royal residence • Enjoy an audio tour SJ½ZIHIGOWEZEMPEFPI in 22 languages • Relax in the stunning 6S]EP(IGO8IE6SSQ ˆ*VIITEVOMRKEX3GIER 8IVQMREP WLSTTMRK GIRXVI

Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ Tel: 0131 555 5566 Registered charity: SC028070

28 Edinburgh 2011: The Insiders’ Guide

Vibrant, colourful Leith has shaken off its long-held seedy reputation in recent years to establish itself as an area of stylish urban regeneration and a must-visit destination for foodies.


world away from the seamy side of Edinburgh life portrayed by Irvine Welsh in the novel Trainspotting, Leith is now home to a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants, while the cobbled Shore, which sits along the Water of Leith, is lined with

stylish eateries and pubs that are perfect for an al fresco pint in the brief Scottish summer. Once an independent burgh, Edinburgh’s port reluctantly became part of the city only in 1920, and although it’s only a mile north of town along Leith Walk, retains an independent, multicultural identity and sense of community, and even hosts its own annual festival. It may not be on quite the same scale as those held up the road in Edinburgh, but is run by Leithers, involves local acts and artists and has a strong focus on the community.

Edinburgh Insiders Guide  

City Guide to Edinburgh

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