Princes Street Gardens is a huge public park in Edinburgh, Scotland. The gardens link the castle with the shopping area around Princes Street and there’s plenty to see and do in them. There are the usual flowerbeds, pretty borders, trees and grassed areas you’d find in most parks but there’s also a large amphitheatre here which is known as the “Ross Bandstand”.
The Scottish Parliament is one of Edinburgh’s most striking structures, but it is also very different to most of the city’s others which are historic, traditional looking buildings. As such, the architecture of the Parliament has been a talking point since the designs were first seen and you’ll either love it or hate it.
Edinburgh Castle is the city’s most famous landmark and it’s huge! We think this is the must-see attraction in Edinburgh and looking around will probably take you quite a while. Highlights include the Castle Vaults, the Great Hall, beautiful St Margaret’s chapel, and one of the world’s oldest guns, Mons Meg. On top of that, there’s the National War Museum of Scotland, two Scottish regimental Museums and the crown jewels, the “Honours of Scotland”.
St Giles Cathedral is one of the most distinctive buildings on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. It’s unusual “crown” shaped spire is one of the first things you notice from a distance, but there’s plenty more to see when you get up close. It’s the High Kirk of Edinburgh and the Mother Church of Presbyterianism and inside there are many areas which mark its significance. In particular, look out for the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland’s chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen).
The Royal Yacht Britannia was Queen Elizabeth II’s beloved yacht which she had to part with in a cost cutting measure in 1997. It’s now a floating tourist attraction so you can see how the Queen and her family used to live whilst sailing around the world on behalf on the UK. It’s based at a huge shopping centre in Leith, just outside Edinburgh and it’s an absolute must on any trip to the area.
Calton Hill was developed as an urban park where distinguished gentleman could walk with their ladies. The city’s elders wanted to create a cultural area and with its superb views over Edinburgh, Calton Hill was the perfect place. Today, there are fewer Victorian gentlemen, but it’s a great place to come for some time out from the busy Princes Street shopping area below. You won’t believe how good the panoramic views are until you make the effort to climb to the top.
Holyrood House, also known as Holyrood Palace, is the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh. She comes to stay only once a year but she does call in on other special occasions. We thought this palace was fascinating, partly because it’s much more “down to earth” than some of the bigger Royal residences.
This is one of the world’s oldest and most famous streets and it links Edinburgh Castle at the top of the hill, with the palace of Holyrood House at the bottom. Walking “The Mile” as it’s known is an activity that visitors and locals have undertaken for hundreds of years. To save your legs, it’s best walked down hill and along the way, you’ll see the castle, the Scotch Whisky Experience, St Giles Cathedral, the Scottish Parliament building and endless tartan-covered souvenir shops.