{travel diaries} Edinburgh

Minh and I finally made a trip up to Edinburgh, Scotland, a couple weeks back. You would think that we would have done this sooner, since it’s such a short flight (or a long drive), but we just never got around to making the trip. Having been around England quite a bit, for us, Edinburgh falls into the category of “big British town”. The layout is generally the same as other larger British towns that we’ve seen around England.. same stores at the highstreet, a castle or similar structure, pubs of various sizes here and there, etc… Edinburgh has some exceptions to this since it’s the capital, and perhaps has a bit more character, and the people were generally nicer (rather than just being polite). Mainly we stuck with the touristy bits around the city, since we were only there for the weekend, and didn’t get a chance to explore any of the greenspace around the city (like Arthur’s Seat, which is behind the parliament building – that would have been a nice day hike if we had time). Not sure if we’ll make it back since there are lots of other places for us to visit, but it might be nice to see if we can squeeze in some other parts of Scotland over the next several months. We’ll see.

The Palace at Holyroodhouse

The Palace at Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British Monarchy in Scotland. Lots of history and scandal is associated with the property, as is usually the case with these old castles, manors, and abbeys scatters across the UK, but the one I remember involves Mary, Queen of Scots, her second husband Lord Darnley, and her private secretary David Rizzio. Not your standard love triangle story.. but in jealous rage, Lord Darnely and his cronies barged into Mary’s supper chamber, dragged David Rizzio into a nearby room, and proceeded to beat him and stab him 56 times. But you know what they say about karma.. about a year or so later, Lord Darnley was murdered by strangulation.

Palace of Holyroodhouse
Canongate, The Royal Mile, EH8 8DX

Museum of Edinburgh

Straight from the museum’s website: “The Museum of Edinburgh is the City’s treasure box – a maze of historic rooms crammed full of iconic objects from the Capital’s past.” We stopped in to avoid the rain, and kill some time before we could check into our hotel. The museum is deceptively large, since there are multiple floors with exhibitions of on all sorts of aspects of the city… from the Commonwealth Games in 1970 and 1983 to decorative arts and the city’s history.

Museum of Edinburgh
Huntly House
142 Canongate, Royal Mile
Edinburgh, EH8 8DD

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a massive fortress. We forgot to take advantage of our English Heritage membership discount, which makes entry half price, but we were smart enough to purchase our tickets online (using the phone while we were already standing in line) to avoid half of the long ticket queue. Again, lots of history here, and there were also various exhibits dedicated to different parts of Scottish military. There was also a good exhibition on the Honours of Scotland (otherwise known as the Scottish Crown Jewels), which we were not allowed to photograph, but did get to see. We were there on a Sunday, so we didn’t get to see/here the One O’Clock Gun.. but that was another interesting factoid we learned while there.

Edinburgh Castle
Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG

Scottish Parliament Building

I’ll spare you all the details about the history of the Scottish Parliament and the upcoming referendum for independence… But I do want to talk about The Great Tapestry of Scotland, which was on display in the public areas of the parliament building. The tapestry, which is the longest in the world at 143 meters long, is made up of over 200 panels that depict the complete history of Scotland – from ancient times to present day. I’ve included some pictures of my favorite panels.

The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh, EH99 1SP

Scottish National Gallery

The National Gallery wasn’t in our original plan to visit, but we had some extra time before we needed to get to the airport, and it’s free… so we decided to give it a go. Art is art, and I’m no art expert.. so I’ll just leave you with the pictures.

Scottish National Gallery
The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL

I know I’ve already posted a ton of pictures to this post, but wanted to include some randoms from around town. There’s actually a lot around town in terms of statues and memorials, but we couldn’t capture it all…


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