Old and New Towns of Edinburgh comprise the medieval Old City with its castle, and the planned extension of the New City.
In the Old Town, the Edinburgh Castle became the seat of Scottish kings, and many struggle took place here. With the Treaty of Union in 1707, Scotland lost its sovereignity and the Castle its royal function. The Old Town is also dominated by the Holyrood Abbey and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
In contrast with the medieval old city, a neoclassic New City has been developed in the 18th century to house Edinburgh's growing population. This part of town is the largest area of Georgian architecture in Europe. Notable public buildings here include the Register House, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Assembly Rooms.
Visit October 2001
To say that Edinburgh is a grey city may lead to misunderstanding: in this case I don't mean boring or clouded. But you can't ignore the fact that 95% of its buildings are in the same colour grey. This determines the face of the city.
The two best sights in my opinion are (of course) Edinburgh Castle, and Holyrood House. The last one is the palace of the Queen. It is open to visitors, and I can recommend a guided tour (the only way you get into the building anyway).
Edinburgh is also a nice place to stay, shop and eat, an important feature after you have seen all the monuments. A slight warning at the end: it's also an expensive city (at least for Europeans like myself).
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|Kyle Magnuson (United States of America):|
I've had the great pleasure of spending 6 months in Scotland as a student. During this amazing opportunity I spent countless days exploring every corner and side street of Edinburgh. From Calton Hill, the Scott Monument, the Royal Mile, Hollyrood House, Greyfriar's Church, Edinburgh Castle, the museum and galleries in New Town, the new and old Scottish Parliament, and Arthur's Seat. I even made the long (but enjoyable) urban trek from central Edinburgh to Leith Harbour.
The museums are excellent. The National Museum of Scotland, Scottish Portrait Gallery, Scottish National Gallery, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Writer's Museum are all worth visiting, if you have the time.
One perk of Edinburgh is that the sites are often free or inexpensive! Exception is the overpriced Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh is an exceptional world heritage city, and one of the most enjoyable cities to enjoy on foot or public transportation.
| Date posted: November 2012|
|Ian Cade (England):|
To my mind this is Britain’s finest World Heritage Site, both in terms of what there is to see and also the visiting experience.
I knew that Edinburgh was a rather hilly city, but I was still surprised by just how craggy it was. The castle sits atop an extraordinarily high outcrop, especially when viewed from the bottom of Princes Street Gardens, which sit in the ravine that divides the old and new towns. To my surprise Edinburgh also manages to contain a ‘mountain’ in the heart of the city, with the looming presence of Salisbury Crags and Arthurs Seat providing the backdrop for the new Parliament Building and Holyrood Palace.
The World heritage inscription makes a point of this being the Old and New towns of Edinburgh and there is a very big difference between them. The Old town feels very medieval, focused around the touristy Royal Mile. I enjoyed strolling along here, but had more fun ducking off down the side alleys to clamber up and down streets of stairs or fine lovely secluded parks like Dunbar Gardens. The well planned New town reminded me of Dublin and Bath, and I really enjoyed strolling around here and heading down to the Stockbridge area for a leisurely brunch on Saturday morning.
The differences between the Old and New towns were a large inspiration on Jekyll and Hyde, written by Edinburgh native Robert Louis Stevenson. This is just one of the points that illustrates Edinburgh’s huge literary heritage. It ranges from the works of Sir Walter Scott through to the modern detective fiction of Ian Rankin or as the inspiration for Harry Potter novels. This was the reason it was made UNESCO’s first city of literature. Edinburgh also had a large impact on Political, Economic and Scientific thought which led to it being termed the ‘Athens of the North’. This also explains the national monument in the shape of the Parthenon which is situated on Carlton Hill and offers magnificent views.
I visited during the famous festival in August, and I really loved the buzz that came with being in the centre of the world’s largest arts festival. I really loved the city, and for the first time visiting a WHS city in Britain I really got the frisson I get from visiting unique foreign destinations. It offered so much to do that I would have no problem heading back up for a repeat visit, there is so much more I could write but I don’t want to bore people.
Britain’s best world heritage site!
[Site 8: Experience 8]
| Date posted: August 2011|
|Pamela Cooper (United States):|
Edinburgh remains one of my most favorite cities. I love the history and the modern city as well. The Castle has magnificent views and is magnificent itself from the Honors of Scotland to the War Memorial to St. Margaret's Chapel. Holyrood at the other end of the Royal Mile has it's own attractions with a fascinating hall of portraits to the tower where Mary Queen of Scot's secretary was killed. But then there is the Grassmarket as someone else has mentioned and the fantastic Museum of Scotland. You can go to Sandy's Bells and hear music that has been sounding through Scotland for centuries. An then there is New Town and the Georgian House and Thistle and Rose Lanes and food and drink. And then you can take the long walk to Leith and think again about Mary Queen of Scots and her first ride up to Edinburgh from the port. What a wonderful place.
| Date posted: August 2008|
Much of the architectural style in Edinbugh is consistent which gives a sense of order and identity. Edinburgh is also situated against the North Sea, which provides a sense of openness. The one thing that amazed me when I was there was how the weather varies literally from street to street. You can be walking on one side of the street where the clouds obstruct the sun and it maybe raining and on the opposite side of the street it will be sunny. Wonderful city.
|Marilia (Portugal (Azores)):|
Well... what can I say? Edinburgh just sweeps me out of my feet! New Town is exquisite, elegant and charming, but Old Town is my absolute favourite. I went there on an "exploration" trip because I'm going to live there for at least a year, and as I live in an island(also gorgeous to death - Sao Miguel in the Azores), I had to know how far from the sea I would be... Well, the first thing I herd as I woke up were seagulls..I felt right at home! Edinburgh has the best part of a world capital along with a cosy feeling of a small town. You cn't help but to feel at home!
| Date posted: April 2006|
|Klaus Freisinger (Austria):|
OK, so I did not try the haggis (there have to be limits), but I still enjoyed Edinburgh a lot (maybe because I skipped the haggis?..). The new town from the 17th and 18th centuries is well preserved, but was less interesting to me; the medieval old town, however, is wonderful and a great place to stroll. The castle, especially, is a great place to explore and really a treasure trove of Scottish history. If you get the chance, go see a performance of the Military Tattoo, held every August in front of the castle entrance. Really a great experience, and the bagpipers are definitely great musicians, even if I had had my doubts about this before. Also worth a visit is the suburb of Leith, where the royal yacht Britannia lies at anchor and can be visited. Plus Edinburgh is a good place for visits to other parts of Scotland, after this great city has given you an introduction to this country´s peculiar culture, history, and language (you get to used to it..).
Everybody should visit Edinburgh at least once in their lives, and if possible go during the summer festival, the Fringe Festival, the Tattoo Festival... all worth seeing, great people and great views. I've visited Edinburgh several times, and it seems I can't get enough of it, its people are really welcoming and charming, and don't worry if you are on your own, get into a pub and most certainly you'll feel at home.
Aye! I'd like to live in that wonderful city!
|Noel Tylla (United States):|
Ahhh. Edinburgh...(or as the locals say, "ed-in-bur-ah")
Have you ever had the feeling, say walking in a city, that you have been there before, but in actuality you have never been there before? The city itself is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, and I can't help getting "that" feeling walking the streets. Small cobblestone walkways that lead to closes, everywhere there is history. Every corner you turn,there is a story to be heard. If you have even a small imagination, you can picture what it was like here in the middle ages. The people are super friendly, the food is wonderful. (yes, and even try the haggis) The grassmarket area is my favourite, where there are a few small pubs and lots of great restaurants. And check out my friends band The Roods who usually play at Finnegan's wake every week for some great celtic rock.
For a party BETTER than Mardi Gras, try Hogmanay or Festival. I have been to both, and wish to be nowhere else on New years eve but here. There is no city in the world, where i would give up my citizenship, to be. As I wipe a tear from my eye! London is great, Paris is greater, but Edinburgh is out of this world!
|Rajeev Aloysius (Sri Lanka):|
The old city of Edinburgh is a world heritage site by itself. The attractions include the Castle on the hill overlooking Princes Street (Oxford Street of the Scottish Capital), Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Royal Mile in between, Arthur's Seat (an extinct volcano) in Holyrood Park, St Giles Cathedral (small for a cathedral but containing the chapel of the Knights of the Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle), The Firth of Forth, the University, St. Mary's catholic cathedral, numerous other old churches, the street where Sean Connery was born and was a milkman(he doesn't live there any more). I was there during the Festival in August, which is the largest Art event in the world. The city swells up in population as people from all over the world come to join in the festivities. You will never be bored because of the thrilling sounds of the bagpipes wafting over the hills. Don't miss the Military Tattoo if you can help it. They call it the "Greatest Show in the World", P.T. Barnum notwithstanding. The well-travelled Irish flautist James Galway once said that this city is his favourite city in the world.
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