Lyssiemay is mesmerised by Edinburgh’s rich heritage and culture.
When I chose to explore Scotland’s capital in 48-hours, I was thinking of good food and shopping until I arrived and was struck by its cultural heritage. The City has so much to offer that 48-hours are simply not enough if you love heritage, culture and shopping.
The city has five main parts; the new town with its elegant Georgian architecture provides a backdrop to a number of quality shops, bars and restaurants. The old town with its fascinating history has a compelling story told to visitors in a way that makes it impossible to ignore. Then, there is the West End with its boutique shopping extravaganza and cobbled streets as well as the Grassmarket offering a medieval market place. Finally, we have Leith, the city’s quarter by the sea, so ideal for ‘wining and dining’ but most important of all, it is home to The Royal Yacht Britannia – a five-star visitor attraction, steeped in history and filled with artefact from The Royal Collection. Above all, there is the Edinburgh festival which is another ball game altogether. Edinburgh enjoys an excellent reputation for shopping and his home to most of the designer labels in the world but first on my list though, was to taste Scotland’s national dish – haggis.
Travelling on the National Express train to Edinburgh is a perfect way to absorb the scenery as you look forward to arriving at your destination. The calm atmosphere of the first class coaches is very comfortable and practical to work in. They are also very clean and offer a range of complimentary refreshments, light biscuits and savoury nibbles. On-board catering also include hot and cold snacks ranging from breakfast specials starting from £3.60 and a good selection of wines and champagne all available at your seat or in the train’s dining car.
From the train station into majestic views
When you step off the National Express train to Edinburgh you arrive at Waverly Station which is right in the centre of the city making it very easy to link with a number of bus services. The city’s main train station greets you with one of the most majestic landmarks in the world, one which dominates Edinburgh’s city skyline – The Edinburgh Castle. The castle sits on an extinct volcano and offers the most stunning views in a city so well designed and easy to explore by foot.
Edinburgh has more restaurants per head of population than any other city in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, a trip to Scotland’s capital, provides an entirely different experience, with most of the shops in walking distance of another; fighting thousands of stressed shoppers and battling to travel in and out of the city’s shopping centres can be considered as an added bonus.
Attractions – what to see and do in Edinburgh
The simple answer is a lot. Edinburgh has everything to keep you busy. From festivals, to castles through to galleries, dungeons, monuments, parks and modern attractions, the choice is endless. You simply need to arm yourself with an Edinburgh Pass. The pass offers free entry into more than 30 attractions, travel on the Airlink from the airport to the city, bus travel around Edinburgh and discounts in shops and restaurants.The easy to carry pass uses smart card technology and is available in 1, 2 or 3 day passes which cost £24, £36 and £48 respectively for an adult pass.
There is also an optional 104 page colour guide book with city centre and transport route maps and details of all the attractions and offers at £16.
The best way to enjoy Edinburgh is to following some of its guided tours. The guides are very enthusiastic and present the city to in the most fascinating way. They are great storytellers and very proud to share all they know. If there was a decision to choose one destination to be the one that teaches history, I will suggest Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Castle Castle Hill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG
This is the most famous of Scotland’s castles, perhaps because it has a complex building history. The castle’s guides will allow you to enjoy and embrace the oldest part, St Margaret’s Chapel, which dates from the 12th century and continues to celebrate weddings in its famous chapel. There is also the Great Hall which was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon battery by the
You will enjoy the castle better when you tour it with an official guide. Visit Edinburgh during its festival and enjoy the added bonus of seeing the Castle under fireworks
The Palace of Holy Roodhouse Canongate, Royal Mile Edinburgh EH8 8DX : Tel: 0131 5565100
This is the official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty the Queen. It stands at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile against a spectacular drop of Arthur’s Seat. The Royal Apartments, where the Queen hosts State ceremonies and other official occasions are infused with centuries of history and have witnessed many important events in Scotland’s rich history.
The palace is perhaps best know as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, as well as the setting for the most dramatic episodes in her reign, culminating in the murder of her secretary Rizzio.
Our Dynamic Earth
This is one of Scotland’s most exhilarating visitor experiences. It is the only UK Science centre solely dedicated to the story of planet Earth. Everyone can learn about Scotland and how it came to be. They can explore a tropical rain-forest, travelling back in time to witness the big bang or being shaken by a volcano. The futuredome exhibition, the only of its kind, will challenge your thinking as you help decided the future of planet earth, while in the new Polar Gallery, you can witness the magical aurora borealis and touch a real iceberg.
It is normal but not compulsory to give a tip in Edinburgh and this is usually about 10-15%
How to get there
Edinburgh airport is 8 miles (12km) west of the city centre and the Airlink Bus operates a regular service to the city centre with a journey time of about 25 minutes.
Nevertheless, Lyssiemay Annoh travelled by train with National Express East Coast’s regular London – Edinburgh service: advance purchase return fares between London and Edinburgh, booked online, start from £28 Standard Class or £79 First Class. Book at www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com, call 08457 225 225 or visit any staffed rail station.