Tourists In Edinburgh

Posted on

Pretty much ever since I moved to Edinburgh I’ve been wanting to go on a guided tour in the Old Town, but just never quite made it. We did go on one of those ghost tours in the underground vaults when I was still living in London and only visiting, but we had to interrupt the tour as I thought I was going to faint due to lack of oxygen (and perhaps my hangover had something to do with it too…)

However, last Saturday I told Matthew that we’re going on a free 2,5 hour tour of Edinburgh (I might’ve left out the 2,5 h part though haha). The tour isn’t really free though as you are expected to tip the guide who isn’t getting paid for the whole thing – they make that very clear. But the guide and the tour were excellent, so didn’t mind doing that at all. Sandemans is the company running the free tours as well as other tours if you’re interested!


I was determined to take as many photos as possible, which almost caused us to lose the rest of the group on several occasions…And as I wanted to focus on what the guide was saying too the quality of the photos suffered…This is our group (I got the photo off Sandemans Facebook page) – can you find us? 🙂


Bet you can’t guess how many floors the City Chambers building has…The correct answer is 12(!)


The artist who was working on this statue felt he wasn’t being paid enough – and when he didn’t receive more money he put pigs ears on the horse.


This is the Mercat Cross where public announcements have been announced for centuries – and still is. When baby George was born they announced it here as well. However, when baby Charlotte was born they didn’t….


I don’t know how it’s possible that I’ve lived in Scotland for 2,5 years without knowing that Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn?! This is at the top of the Mercat Cross – and I’m pretty sure I would never have noticed it if I hadn’t attended a guided tour!


Parliament square. Matthew decided to dress up as a turtle.


St Giles Cathedral is pretty amazing as you can see. It’s not actually a cathedral as it doesn’t have a bishop – so High Kirk of Edinburgh is a better name for it. The guy on the horse is Charles II of Scotland.


Our South African guide who’s been guiding here in the Burgh for 5 years definitely knew his stuff.


We didn’t go inside, but will definitely do that next time I’m in the area!


It was freezing and stupidly neither Matthew nor I were dressed appropriately.


The Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle with Holyrood Palace at the bottom – the official residence of the Queen in Scotland.


So cold my nose was about to fall off – where is my Finnish sisu?!


This is David Hume on the Royal Mile – a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist.


Another detail I haven’t noticed is the big toe that you’re supposed to rub for good luck. It’s quite ironic actually as Hume was a rationalist and didn’t believe in such nonsense…I didn’t touch the toe – mainly because it’s probably full of germs haha!


This is Gladstone’s Land, a 17th century high-tenement house (which means multi-occupancy building according to google) originally built in 1550. It’s been restored and furnished by the National Trust of Scotland, so you can actually visit the building. Will put that on my to do-list for sure!


If you’re after harris tweed, cashmere, knitwear or anything to do with kilts and tartans, Royal Mile is the place to come to!


This pretty Gothic building is called the Hub (nope, it’s not a church!) and hosts many shows during the Festival as well as weddings throughout the year.


And here we have the Castle from a more unusual angle. It’s built on volcanic rock that has been shaped by the ice age, leaving a tail behind which is now the Royal Mile.

Grassmarket area used to be were the poor lived, but now it’s a sought after area with lots of pubs and shops. The square was were a lot of hangings took place, and the names of many pubs there reflect this historical fact.


I hate to admit that during half-time a very cold Matthew managed to talk a very cold me into ditching the rest of the tour and go somewhere warm for a drink instead. We used the baby-card…Apparently the second half of the tour was more story-orientated, so at least we got 1,5 hours of pure history when attending the first half 🙂

Edinburgh is a city full of fascinating stories that I really haven’t “taken advantage of” before – which is a shame as I do think that your surroundings become so much more interesting when you know a little more about it. Think it’s finally time to pay Edinburgh Castle a visit too!

How well do you know the history of your own village/town/city?

x Nina x