Edinburgh - Off the beaten track
Edinburgh really is a beautiful city. I'd like to introduce you to a bit more of Edinburgh than just the usual places to visit such as Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. Edinburgh is wonderful for all the views down to sea at the Firth of Forth. All my suggestions are free, so you can have a great day without paying any admission charges. I always think that walking around is the great way to see a city but it would be bit much to walk around all these places. It's handy to have a pocket map if you plan to walk around just in case you need to get your bearings. If you like walking Edinburgh Leisure Walks is a great resource. Lothian Buses run an excellent service with a £1.20 flat ticket for any journey, you can also buy a one day pass for £3.00. Parking around central Edinburgh costs between 70 pence and two pounds per hour. There are different zones each with their own hours, days and charges.
|Calton Hill, at the eastern end of Princes Street is the most centrally located attraction in this guide. The views from Calton Hill are outstanding over the city and across the Forth Estuary towards Fife and over the Edinburgh skyline. Calton Hill is home to the National Monument an Athenian style acropolis built in 1822 to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. Some say the monument was not finished due to lack of funds, other say it was intended as a folly. Nelson's Tower and the City Observatory are also at Calton Hill.|
|Holyrood Park is an amazing haven, so close to the city centre. The park was originally used by royal hunting parties The park covers 650 acres. If you are feeling energetic you can climb Arthur's Seat for great panoramic views. There are several footpaths you can follow around the park, without too much of a climb. The photo opposite is taken at Loch Duddingston with Arthur's seat in the background. There is a road which circumvents the park with several free car parks. However the roads are usually closed on Sundays.|
|Poetically known as the "silver thread in a ribbon of green", the Water of Leith Walkway, is a 12 mile path from Balerno to Leith. It is a unique walk, you can hardly believe that you are so close to the hustle and bustle of a city. I've never done all the walk in one stretch but have walked on most parts on different occasions. I like the walkway between Canon Mills and Dean village, You can try theDean Village Walk to find our about the history of the village. The Dean Gallery of Modern Art is a few minutes from the walkway. There are public toilets at Cannon Mills and Stockbridge. There is also a wide selection of cafes and restaurants around these areas.|
|The Royal Botanical Gardens were established in 1670 and contain 6% of all known plants. It's free to enter the gardens but there is an admission charge of £3.50 for the greenhouses. There are various areas including the Chinese Hillside, the Rock Garden (pictured opposite) and Woodland Garden. The gardens are only a few minutes walk from the Canonmills exit of the Water of Leith Walkway.|
|The Dean Cemetery is next to the Dean Gallery. There is a gate from the Gallery car park into the cemetery, or the cemetery can be reached by coming up from the Water of Leith Walkway. It's really interesting to walk around and look at all the tombstones in this verdant and tranquil environment. I did spot the grave of the architect Playfair, responsible for much of the new town in Edinburgh. The photo opposite is the grave of James Buchanan, the founder of the Buchanan Institute in Glasgow.|
Edinburgh’s modern art collection is housed in two adjacent buildings, the Dean Gallery and the National Gallery of Modern Art, to the west of the city centre. The collection is large and comprehensive. There are also several outdoor exhibits in the grounds including the Landform where the earth is sculpted in curves based on the chaos theory. You can get to the collection, which is signposted from the Water of Leith Walkway.
When I visited in May 2007 I looked at the black and white works depicting the Fist World War. The were two pieces which made the biggest impression on me. The Card Players by Otto Dix which portrays three war veterans injured during action, one is playing with his mouth, another with his foot. The other was “Death Marches” by Percy Smith, one of seven in the Dance of Death series of etchings from 1919. It shows the eager new infantry recruits marching four abreast with the ghostly figure of Death surveying its fresh batch of victims. Another etching in the series Death Awed, portraying Death hovering over a fallen soldier has been quoted as being “one of the unsung masterpieces of British etching”. When I tried find out more about Percy Smith I drew a blank which surprised me, as I found his work very moving.
|Cramond is village in the north west of Edinburh situated close to the Forth estuary and on the banks of the River Almond. Cramond Island lies just off the coast reachable by a causeway at low tide. A line of concrete pylons, constructed as a submarine defence during the Second World War, runs alongside the causeway. You should check the tide times carefully before attempting to cross and if’s only safe for 2 hours before and after low tide. The tide can some in very quickly and there have been many incidents of people being stranded over the years.|
You can either walk east along the Esplanade towards Silverknowes or south along the River Almond Walkway. The Almond flows into the Forth estuary at Cramond. The most picturesque part of the walk is at the waterfall beside a ruin.
There a couple of pubs and a cafe in Cramond village as well as a large free car park and public toilets. You can reach Cramond on the no 41 Lothian bus from Edinburgh city centre,
|I came across the so called Craigentinny Marbles by accident on my way to Portobello. It was so weird to see this grand classical style mausoleum in the middle of streets of 1930s bungalows. William Henry Miller, who owned the then Craigentiny estate wanted to be buried in the open fields rather than in a churchyard. In 1848 that may have been the case, maybe now he may be reconsidering, thinking that a graveyard might now be a more appropriate setting than a housing estate. The Miller Mausoleum has bas relief sculptures of biblical scenes on 2 sides. Miller requested that he was buried at a depth of 40 feet, prompting rumours about his gender due to a slim build, weak voice and lack of facial hair. If he was buried so deeply there would be little opportunity for grave robbers to strike.|
|Portobello Beach is three miles east of the city centre. On a clear day you can see over the Firth of Forth to the county of Fife and the three Lomond Hills. A walk along the promenade is usually pretty refreshing.|
Sean Connery worked as lifeguard at now demolished outdoor Portobello Swimming Pool in the 1950s. There's an indoor 25 metre swimming pool with a Turkish bath
situated on the prom.
Where to stay in Edinburgh
One of the cheapest options can be to stay in a Travelodge where you can find rooms which sleep up to 2 adults and 2 kids from only £9 a night, if you book manage to book a room in their sale. Generally if you book a couple of months in advance and stay outside peak periods you can find room for £19 or £29. There are 6 Travelodges in the Edinburgh area - Central is just off the Royal Mile, Haymarket, West End and Learmouth are about a twenty minute walk from Princes Street and the other two Musselburgh and Dreghorn are located on the A720 City Bypass.
You can search for the best price for accommodation for your stay in Edinburgh using the Hotels Combined price comparison site.
|Edinburgh Hotels by HotelsCombined.com|