The Saturday City: Edinburgh

The first thing you notice about Edinburgh is its beauty. The cobble streets, tight quarters, the castle, the Gothic architecture of many of its buildings- it jumps out at you. While the city has a modern section, the charm of old Edinburgh permeates the whole city.

There is history everywhere you look in this city. One of the real charms of Edinburgh is that it is very walkable and you almost trip over the history where you go. Some of the great things I tripped over while I was there:

The Royal Mile – Historic street from the Castle to the palace. A great place to people watch, sight see, and eat.

St. Giles Cathedral – This not-technically a cathedral cathedral (cathedrals need a bishop and this one has none) is very old and very beautiful. Located between the Castle and the Palace, it’s a good place to see stunning Gothic architecture and good stained glassed windows.

Little alleys and squares – All through Edinburgh, you encounter little alleys that lead into little squares and backyards. It’s very medieval and quite beautiful.

The MacKenzie Poltergeist – Supposedly the spirit of King Charles II’s torturer, George MacKenzie, roams Greyfriars Graveyard clawing at people and leaving marks. In fact, Edinburgh is a great city to take a ghost tour in as it is supposedly one of the most haunted in the world.

Edinburgh Castle – Not the best castle in the world but it has an interesting history, a daily cannon fire, great views, and historic artifacts in it.

The Scott Memorial – Climb up the stairs for a good view of the city.

The Elephant House– Have a tea where J.K Rowlings penned Harry Potter.

Rosslyn Chapel – This famous church is a Da Vinci Code lover’s dream. Even if you don’t believe in any of that, the detailed carvings are impressive.

There’s more to Edinburgh than just what I listed. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Edinburgh is a great place for people who like art. I missed a few international film and art festivals by about a month. I really enjoyed Edinburgh. It’s a major tourist destination but not really. It lacks a lot of the crowds and in your face pandering that many other cities have making it a relaxing place to visit.

  1. Excellent Photos. I have to admit, it was the Elephant House where J.K Rowling penned Harry Potter that caught my attention. I had heard years earlier that she wrote in a coffee shop and it is pretty cool to actually see the place that I had heard about all those years ago.

  2. Wow, I thought JK Rowling penned the first Harry Potter in a relative’s pub that became a chinese buffet? That is what the locals told me, but who really knows? (I was there in 2006)

    Either way the city was home to many great literary talents….a lovely place to take a literary pub crawl…pints and prose. And whose personal prose doesn’t get better with pints?

    Also, if you can make it there in August, definitely attend the ‘fringe fest.’ Great time.

    stay adventurous,

  3. wow!! your website and travel blogging has evovled into something great!! i dont know if you remember me but i was in south america in 2008… now i am in south africa for 3 months!! and let me tell you this place is nothing what i thought is was going to be. its rough that is for certain!

  4. Iain Miller

    I have to say Edinburgh is a pretty cool place to work as well as visiting. I’ve travelled through here every day for a year and the architecure never fails to impress.

    I have to say though it’s not a Saturday City to me as the weekend gives me time to recover from my extensive fact finder tour of the bars and clubs. From wee gems like Deacon Brodie’s in the Old Town to the slightly more upmarket Living Room in the New Town.

    Of course there is the madness of the Festival once a year which makes the place party central with famous names playing big venues to the unknown acts playing in backrooms of pubs.

    It really is a great place to work and play.

    • NomadicMatt

      The saturday city name is just a blog thing- you can see it anyday but “saturday city” flows and I use the term as a way to highlight destinations…which I do on saturday

  5. Love Edinburgh! Been twice and would happily go back again some day. Your blog definitely sums it up well. All those cool little buildings and alleyways are the best part. Once you start poking down those and bypass the main streets, you feel like you really know the city.

    My random bit of remembered trivia reading this as the plaza/car park in front of St. Giles. Was told that’s where a cemetery was that was covered over later! I’m sure that was from one of the ghost tours (took 3!).

  6. Helen

    Great set of photos Matt, you really do this beautiful city justice. It’s nice to see the full range of things to do covered and not just the usual touristy stuff (which is of course amazing too!). There’s nothing like being in Edinburgh around the festival..

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