EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND


Our ship actually docked in Newhaven,  a district in the city of Edinburgh, between Leith and Granton and about 2 miles / 3.2 km north of the city centre. Formerly a village and harbour on the Firth of Forth, it had a population of approximated 5,000 in the 1991 census. Newhaven was designated a conservation area, one of 40 such areas in Edinburgh, in 1977.

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, located in Lothian on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. It is the second most populated city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. Recognized as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in Scotland. The city is also the annual venue of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and home to national institutions such as the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery. It is also the largest financial centre in the UK after London. The city has long been known as a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, the sciences and engineering. It is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the largest annual international arts festival in the world. The city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the second most popular tourist destination in the United Kingdom after London, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.

Our original tour was to be of the Royal Yacht Britannia which is berthed
in Edinburgh.  However, it seems there wasn't enough interest and the tour was canceled. As an alternative, we took a bus tour around town.
   

Royal Botanic Gardens - Inverleith Park Gates

Entrance to the park across from the new Visitor Gateway Centre.
   

The John Hope Gateway Centre

The John Hope Gateway offers visitors a facility where they can discover the world of plants and the scientific work of Royal Botanic Gardens through a unique set of interactive experiences and activities.
Izak and I didn't go in but chose to look around the immediate area instead.

 

The view to the right of the Centre.
      

A 2001 census revealed that over 55% of Edinburgh's population lived in tenements or blocks of flats, such as these, a figure in line with other Scottish cities, but much higher than other British cities, and even central London
.
 

.'Old Town' architecture tends to have that more 'medieval'
look to it with most of the buildings, tenements and townhomes made from the same tawny coloured stone. By comparison, 'New Town' has a more Georgian, neoclassical look.
 

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An Edinburgh Townhouse

It's not uncommon for Commonwealth countries to present the Queen with a high end home as a gift. In the case of Edinburgh, she was presented with a Townhouse such as this. It is the Queen's tradition to hold onto the homes then present them as gifts to those loyal to her. In the case of the one in Edinburgh, it was a thank you to her Lady in Waiting upon her retirement.

 

The coloured doors

.
Each townhouse in some areas has a different coloured door. The reason for this is that the homes all look alike and having a different coloured door made it easier for the men to find their own home after a night in the pub.
 

Robert Lewis Stevenson's childhood home in Heriot Row
.
 

The Georgian House

The Georgian House is an 18th century townhouse designed by then unknown architect James Craig, who won the competition to design a layout for Edinburgh's first New Town, and is situated at No. 7 Charlotte Square in the heart of the historic district. It has been restored and furnished by the National Trust for Scotland, and is operated as a popular tourist attraction, with over 40,000 visitors annually.
 
 
A New Town monument - to what I have no idea.
 

St.
 Andrew's and St. George's West Church

The church building was completed in 1784, and is now protected as a category A listed building, which means its been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

 

An apartment building beside the church -
beautiful architecture.
 

The Royal Bank of Scotland, St. Andrew Square

The building that houses the bank was originally called Dundas House. It was
designed by Sir William Chambers, built in 1774 for Sir Lawrence Dundas, and acquired by the bank in 1821, The statue in front is of John Hope, 4th Earl of Hopetoun (no that is not a typo).
 

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is the top paid tourist attraction in Scotland, with over 1.4 million visitors in 2013. Situated at the heart of the Scottish capital, the castle is perched on top of the craggy remains of an extinct volcano. It is thought to have been an important fortification since the Iron Age or earlier.
 

This colourful little building, which looks like it could be a gatehouse, is actually a public washroom.
 

A view into the park.
 

St. John's Church

The Church of St. John the Evangelist is a Scottish Episcopal church in the centre of Edinburgh, and is protected as a category A listed building.

 

The church was dedicated as St. John's Chapel in 1818 with construction having begun in 1816. The sanctuary and chancel were built in 1879-82 and the vestry and Hall in 1915 to 1916.
 

Beside the Church there is a stairway leading up from the Grassmarket area to Johnston Terrace and Edinburgh Castle.
 

Granny's Green Steps

The steps were
built as part of an initiative called Dance Base, the purpose of which was to invigorate the area while maintaining the traditional medieval patterns. The project was funded by a major award from Scottish Arts Council Lottery with additional funding from Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, City of Edinburgh Council and a number of other trust bodies.

Why are they call Granny's Green Steps? No one seems to know.
 

Edinburgh Castle
 

In 1140, Edinburgh castle became the first recorded meeting place of the assembly we now know as the Scottish Parliament. In 1566, it was the birthplace of the only child of Mary Queen of Scots, James I, who grew up to unite the crowns of Scotland and England as heir to Elizabeth I. In 1689, it endured its last full siege when the garrison became the last defenders of the Stewart king James VII.
 

As we traveled through the Grassmarket area, we came across a few more colourful buildings - mainly pubs and shops.
 
 

It doesn't seem to matter where you go, you'll always find a construction sign somewhere.
 

Entrance to the Edinburgh Vaults

While it looks like we're just going over a bridge, we are actually going over one of the entrances to the Edinburgh Vaults. The Vaults are a series of chambers formed in the nineteen arches of the South Bridge which was completed in 1788. For around 30 years, the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen, and as storage space for illicit material, reportedly including the bodies of people killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for medical experiments. As the conditions in the vaults deteriorated, mainly because of damp and poor air quality, the businesses left and the very poorest of Edinburgh's citizens moved in, though by around 1820, even they are believed to have left too.
Today the north side of the Vaults are mainly used for 'ghost tours' (yes, they are reputed to be haunted) and the south side is home to a venue called 'The Caves and The Rowantree', which hosts private events, weddings, private dining, live music, and the occasional club night.

 

People and a Pizza joint on High Street
 

John Knox House
(aka Scottish Storytelling Centre)

The house dates back to
1470, which makes it one of the only original medieval buildings surviving on the Royal Mile. The house is associated with one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in Scottish History - The Scottish Reformation - which resulted in the outbreak of civil war and the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots. It is now the home to the Scottish Storytelling Centre, a vibrant arts venue which showcases Scottish culture. I wonder what dour John would think of that!
Above the lower bank of windows is inlaid brass lettering that reads "Lvfe God Abvfe Al And Yi Nychtbovr As Yi Self". If I were to hazard a guess, I would say the modern translation would be "Love God above all and your neighbour as yourself."
 

The People's Story

Housed in the late 16th century Canongate Tolbooth, 'The People's Story ' is a museum that uses oral history, reminiscence, and written sources to tell the story of the lives, work and leisure of the ordinary people of Edinburgh, from the late 18th century to the present day.

 

The Queen's Gallery

The Queen's Gallery is part of the Palace of Holyroodhouse complex. It was opened in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II and exhibits works from the Royal Collection.
 

Tourists outside Holyroodhouse.
 

The entrance gates of Holyroodhouse. We didn't take a tour and basically just had time to take pictures through the gapes in the grate.
 

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Founded as a monastery in 1128, it is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland and is commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining. Queen Elizabeth spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies. The 16th century Historic Apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots and the State Apartments, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public throughout the year, except when members of the Royal Family are in residence.
 

The main entrance of the Palace

The entrance and the area seen to the right were rebuilt in the 17th century
after the east range of the palace was set on fire during its occupation by Oliver Cromwell's soldiers.
 

Further to the right is the remaining part of the Gothic palace constructed by James the IV in the early 16th century. Behind it are the ruins of the
Augustinian Holyrood Abbey that was founded in 1128 at the order of King David I of Scotland.
 

The Scottish Coat of Arms near the entrance gate.

The fictitious unicorn has been a heraldic symbol of Scotland since the 12th century, when it was adopted by William 1 as the Scottish coat of arms. Today it is the 'official' animal of Scotland.
 

Another view of the Abbey ruins.
 

The statue at the top of the entrance gate is that of a lion standing on his hind legs, wearing a crown and holding a banner with a bunch of latin words that I can't read, having forgotten most of what I learned in junior high school.
 

The fountain in the forecourt, looking very much like a crown, is a 19th century replica of the 16th century fountain at Linlithgow Palace, which was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries.
 

Statue of Edward VII (by Henry Snell Gamley), unveiled by George V in 1922.
 

I tried to find out what this small building was but couldn't. All I know its near the "West Approach Coach Park" according to the sign.
 

Arthur's Seat

Near the Royal Mile is a conservation area known as Arthur's seat.
Arthur's Seat is the largest of the three parts of the Arthur's Seat Volcano site. Like the castle rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built, it was formed by an extinct volcano system of Carboniferous age (approximately 350 million years old). A track rising along the top of the slope immediately under Salisbury Crags has long been a popular walk, providing a spectacular a view of the city.
  

Back on the bus, the statue at the end of the street is the
Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Princes Street Gardens.


Statue of Adam Black

He was Lord Provost and a Member of Parliament for the City of Edinburgh in the mid 19th century. He was also a Scottish publisher
and founded the A & C Black publishing company which published the 7th, 8th and 9th editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica.


The Scottish National Gallery


Allan Ramsay

Allan Ramsay was a 18th century Scottish poet, playwright, publisher, librarian and wig-maker. Talk about varied talents!


I didn't intend to get the traffic light when I took this picture from the bus, but I rather liked it, so I included it.


Another statue of Queen Vickie!


Sails in the sunset

Closer to the ship's dock, I spotted this art installation.
 

A final view of Edinburgh, on our way to London.



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