In September 2016 my husband and I visited Edinburgh. The city is wonderful with the perfect blend of history and modernity. The bustling life of Princess Street was almost too much for my taste buds and so we always looked for the quieter corners of Edinburgh.
A city map is a “must have”, otherwise you missed all the little treasures ( like all the closes and gardens) , and runs the risk of getting carried away by the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile and nothing else from Edinburgh.
Nevertheless, we have visited the classic tourist spots, because who wants to miss Calton Hill or Edinburg Castle.
Stage 1- The Canongate Churchyard and Canongate Kirk
The Canongate Churchyard is the resting place of several Edinburgh notables including the economist Adam Smith, the philosopher and Smith’s biographer Dugald Stewart, Agnes Maclehose (the “Clarinda” of Robert Burns), by tradition David Rizzio, the murdered private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the poet Robert Fergusson, whose statue in bronze by David Annand stands outside the kirk gate. Bishop James Ramsay is also buried here…
The Kirk of the Canongate, or Canongate Kirk, serves the Parish of Canongate in Edinburgh’s Old Town, in Scotland. It is a congregation of the Church of Scotland. The parish includes the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament. It is also the parish church of Edinburgh Castle, even though the castle is detached from the rest of the parish. The wedding of Zara Phillips, the Queen’s granddaughter, and Mike Tindall, took place at the church on 30 July 2011.
Robert Fergusson statue in bronze
Located in Reid’s Court partially hidden by modern blocks on the north side of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the Canongate Manse is a simple early-18th century mansion, comprising two storeys with wings, which were added in the later 18th century. The building still serves as the home for the Minister of Canongate Kirk, as well as the church offices.
(Source “The Gazetteer for Scotland”)
After all this we had a nice Break in Dunbars Close Garden right next to the Kirkyard.
Dunbar’s Close on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town is a hidden gem. The garden has been laid out in the style and character of a 17th century garden. To enter you travel along a narrow, cobbled close. It opens out into a surprisingly tranquil and elegant parterre of clipped shrubs under a cosy green canopy of trees. Beyond, the garden are further parterres, each with different atmospheres and all are sheltered thanks to high church walls on the west side and clipped hedging on the others.
Stage 2 — White Horse Close and Scottish Parliament Building
White Horse Close, or “Whitehorse Close”, is an enclosed courtyard off the Canongate at the foot of the Royal Mile at the eastern end of the Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland. It was formerly known as “Ord’s Close”, after Laurence Ord, the putative builder of the 17th-century inn at its northern end.
The close is widely regarded as the most picturesque group of buildings on the Royal Mile, but we almost overlooked it like many visitors to the city who fail to enter the pend which connects it to the Canongate
And when you leave this Close you can see how past and future always find together in Edinburgh — the very modern Scottish Parliament Building is just around the corner
Stage 3 — In front of Palace of Holyroodhouse
We didnt made it inside (of course…so here just a look at the entrance to the Palace :))
Stage 4 — Calton Hill
The site is enclosed by a boundary wall with a monument to John Playfair, president of the Edinburgh Astronomical Institution, in the southeast corner. The oldest part is the Gothic Tower in the southwest corner, facing Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle. It is also known as Observatory House, the Old Observatory, or after its designer James Craig House. The central building with the appearance of a Greek temple is the Playfair Buildin, which was closed during our visit. (source wikipedia)
After being unoccupied for several years, in 2012 the Council started a £1,000,000 program to renovate the remaining buildings in partnership with the Collective Gallery.In 2014. Here how it should look after the renovation.
The Dugald Stewart Monument is a memorial to the Scottish philosopher Dugald Stewart (1753–1828). It is situated on Calton Hill overlooking Edinburgh city centre and was completed in August 1831.
The National Monument of Scotland is Scotland’s national memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. It was intended, according to the inscription, to be “A Memorial of the Past and Incentive to the Future Heroism of the Men of Scotland”.
The monument dominates the top of Calton Hill, just to the east of Princes Street. It was designed during 1823–6 and is modelled upon the Parthenon in Athens. Construction started in 1826 and, due to the lack of funds, was left unfinished in 1829. This circumstance gave rise to various nicknames such as “Scotland’s Disgrace”, “Edinburgh’s Disgrace”, “the Pride and Poverty of Scotland” and “Edinburgh’s Folly”.
The Nelson Monument is a commemorative tower in honour of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson. It is situated on top of Calton Hill, and provides a dramatic termination to the vista along Princes Street from the west. The monument was built between 1807 and 1815 to commemorate Nelson’s victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and his own death at the same battle. In 1853 a time ball was added, as a time signal to shipping in Leith harbour. (Source Wikipedia)
The view from the Calton Hill is overwhelming. On one side you can see the sea, on the other side you look directly at Princess Street. But of course you are always surrounded by tourists and their Selfie-Sticks 🙂