Edinburgh wears its history on its sleeve, and there is plenty to uncover
The Scottish capital is known for many things – its incredible nightlife, its enviable shopping districts, its unrivalled culture and its world-famous festival season to name a few. But one of the areas where Edinburgh really excels is undoubtedly its history.
More than any other UK city, Edinburgh’s history is ready to be discovered and appreciated by residents and tourists alike. Even the way the city is laid out, with the Old Town and the New Town a mere bridge-walk away from each other, encourages people to take a break from their daily schedule to uncover a little slice of history for themselves.
But with so much to discover in the city, how do you know where to go? Luckily, we’re here to help. These are our picks for the top five places in the Scottish capital to discover the history of the city. Let’s take a look.
Edinburgh Castle is the jewel in Edinburgh’s crown, dominating the city’s skyline. The castle is known throughout the world and is often the first port of call for tourists coming to the city for the first time.
It is built on Castle Rock – a dormant volcano – and parts of the castle date all the way back to the 12th century. It’s seen many wars and sieges in its time, from the Wars of Scottish Independence to the siege to free James III of Scotland. Nowadays the castle houses the Regimental Headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard. The building to the south of the courtyard is now the National War Museum of Scotland.
The Royal Mile makes up the main thoroughfare of Edinburgh’s Old Town, stretching from the gates of Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. In between, visitors can enjoy shops, streets and hidden gems all teaming with endless historical discoveries, including St Giles Cathedral and the Deacon Brodie tavern. Many of the city’s most famous streets stem from the Royal Mile, including Canongate, Castle Hill and the Lawnmarket.
For a darker take on the city’s history, you really can’t miss the Edinburgh Dungeon. This unique underground experience shows off the darker aspects of Edinburgh’s history in a scary, tongue in cheek way which is typical of the Dungeon brand.
And since 2016, when the attraction underwent major construction and expansion, there is even more to enjoy. From cannibals and witches to disease and bodysnatching, this is a take on Edinburgh’s story unlike any other.
Located conveniently close to the city centre, on The Mound close to Princes Street, the Scottish National Gallery houses the country’s national collection of fine art, spanning from the beginning of the Renaissance up until the start of the 20th century. Fans of this institution should also check out the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, in order to put a face to the names of some of Scotland’s greatest historical figures.
Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is a cemetery unlike any other, as it is home to many of the city’s most famous figures both historical and fictional, including Allan Ramsay, Sir James Stirling and Sir Harry Munro. The graveyard is most famous as the burial site of the beloved Skye Terrier Greyfriar’s Bobby, who is famously said to have lain at his master’s graveside for fourteen years after he died, refusing to move. His headstone in the kirkyard reads: “Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.”
And for the eagle-eyed Potter-fans among you, look out for the grave of Thomas Riddell. This headstone is said to have inspired J K Rowling in her creation of He Who Must Not Be Named!
Become part of Edinburgh’s story yourself by finding your dream home in the city. Craighouse is a stunning property development from Qmile Group, located in tranquil Morningside. These luxury homes celebrate the rich history of the city while looking ahead to the future with state-of-the-art design.
Discover Craighouse for yourself by calling 0131 478 05 31 or by clicking here.