Hikers, bikers, runners and strollers are all welcome here in the centre of Edinburgh. Stretching for a mile, the Old Town within the spellbindingly beautiful city of Edinburgh is a perfect starting point for all those who are curious and want to explore. With its spacious roads, medieval architecture and bagpipes playing in the far distance, this is the place where you’ll experience the real Scotland.
After spending a day in Glasgow, we decided to drive east towards the capital of Scotland. Though it was only an hour’s drive, we found the city of Edinburgh to be a lot more historic and archaic with a throng of tourists which we did not really notice in Glasgow.
Upon entry into Edinburgh, we immediately made our way to the imposing Edinburgh Castle, which is conveniently located in the heart of the Old Town. Navigating through the cobbled streets, hidden courtyards and narrow alleyways of the Old Town was definitely a thrill though, I recommend a good pair of shoes.
Our trip here was more of a retreat than anything else. We were just eager to take a step away from the monotonous surrounding in West Yorkshire and explore something different. Edinburgh’s unique architecture and hidden corners was the perfect getaway spot. Within Edinburgh’s old town royal mile, we found an array of attractions and sights which are perfect if you’re looking to learn more about Scotland’s culture and history. I’ll be writing a separate post about all the things you can see/visit in the Old Town, so keep a look out for that one.
What makes the Old Town different is that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1995. One thing we noticed was that the city’s old town was laid out in an unusual manner. At first we found it quite strange, but later learned that it’s because the city is located on both an extinct volcano and a glacial ridge which runs downhill from the Edinburgh castle. The mile of the Old Town is located on the glacial ridge whilst the castle sits atop the extinct volcano.
For some promising views, make your way up Castlehill which is at the end of the Royal Mile on your way to the Edinburgh Castle. From here, visitors can get some picturesque views of the many listed buildings of Edinburgh. For some even more promising views, head over to Calton Hill which guarantees eclectic views of the Old Town. This is probably the best spot if you’re looking for some impeccable views of the city’s skyline.
Interestingly, the Edinburgh Castle was once a war prison during the American Wars of Independence and even today it is home to an active military base. A quick tip; look out for the 1 o’clock gun, fired every day except Sundays.
If you’re looking for a short city break, and one that is filled with plenty of history, Edinburgh should definitely be on your list. Wherever you walk in the Old Town, you’ll be walking in the footsteps of kings and queens, religious radicals, notorious figures and invading armies.
I think the best way to explore the Old Town is by foot as it means you’ll see more along the way and at every corner. Do keep in mind that the streets in the Old Town are not connected as may be illustrated on maps as there are some streets in the Old Town which are bridges. It’s also important to keep in mind that there are some staircases and steep slopes between streets. Whatever you do, be prepared for the labyrinth of cobbled streets and some tough terrain.
Image Credit (Header Photo): On The Market