Edinburgh, with its castle high on the rock, is a mecca for those heading to Scotland.
Edinburgh, with its castle high on the rock, is a mecca for those heading to Scotland, but if you can find the local hotspots rather than the tourist traps, you’ll experience a side of the city never to be forgotten.
Split into the Old Town and the New Town, the sights of Edinburgh are easily accessible on foot, although a comfortable pair of shoes is required to manage the challenge presented by the many cobbled streets. The New Town, despite its name, actually dates back to 1767, when wealthy natives relocated from the crowded Old Town to escape the stench.
Wandering around the New Town is made all the easier by the neat grid order to the streets – you’ll never get lost. So choc-full of historic sites, such as the beautiful Queen Charlotte Square, which was once home to the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell, and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, this area is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designer shops, chic boutiques and cool bars are in abundance along upmarket George Street. However, if these are a little too rich for your budget, head to A Room In The West End, just a five-minute walk from Princes Street. It not only offers exceptional Scottish food at affordable prices, you can even take your own wine and get plenty of Teuchter (common name for someone from the highlands but frequently used by lowlanders to describe anyone north of Glasgow) banter thrown in.
For a taste of Edinburgh’s underworld, head to the Old Town, home to Ian Rankin’s popular anti-hero Inspector Rebus and William Brodie, the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde. In the 18th century, this highly respected Old Town Councillor and Deacon of the Guilds of Wrights and Masons fraternised with the great and good of Edinburgh, then robbed them blind at night. Eventually Brodie was captured, unmasked and hanged, but today he is considered a local hero. Deacon’s House Café, located in Brodie’s old house on the Royal Mile, is as good a place as any to take a refreshment, but wander from the popular path and try some of the pubs in the lanes of the famous Mile.
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