Can you visit Edinburgh without going to the Castle? I guess if you don’t like castles… but really it is one of the hilltop features of the city so you’ll see it even if you don’t visit it!
The second day in Edinburgh was all about visiting the Castle. But, on the way up the Royal Mile, we visited Mary King’s Close, St Giles Cathedral and we stumbled on a major parade!
The Royal Mile might be almost wall to wall tourist shops, but there are plenty of interesting bits of history behind the souvenir stands!
There are so many interesting closes off the Royal Mile… (and yes that is a cigar shop “Indian” on the left *cringe*)
Mary King’s Close is underneath the City Chambers, buried by the structure
You can’t take pics in Real Mary King’s Close, which is a shame because it’s fascinating to see the old houses and sections of street that were covered over by construction and left, weirdly, largely intact. It is the most kitsch and touristy thing I’ve ever done… but I have to say it was well presented and provided lots of good info too!
Yes it involved people in costumes (disappointingly our guide wasn’t Scottish!), but also some clever use of staged scenes, audio tracks and video. The low lighting gives it a nice atmosphere and they keep you moving at a good pace.
After the experience in the buried close we were heading for the Castle when we realised something was going on (crowd control barriers and police), so stuck around to see what would happen. Took a few days to find out what we’d seen, but at the time it was a parading military band involving a lot of kilts! Very impressive and such a great accidental find.
Turned out it was the official dissolution of the Parliament ahead of the election
Then, finally, it was Castle time…
Yes this is me… on a bright, windy, cold day holding a visitor guide from about the time I was born! (evidence that my parents visited)
The Castle has so many parts and so many interesting things to explore, but my favourite parts were St. Margaret’s Chapel (beautiful simplicity) and the dog’s cemetery.
Such a great thing to honour soldier’s dogs
St. Margaret’s Chapel
I have soooo many photos of different sections of the castle, views from the castle and military personnel coming back from the parade earlier (and millions of other tourists!), but I think the above is a good taster.
After exploring the Royal Mile and the Castle – and stopping to have a scone and a rest – we wandered over to the National Museum of Scotland. This was our second visit, because it’s just too big to do in one hit and this time we focused on the area devoted to Scotland.
I love this way of displaying jewellery and other body ornaments!
These chess pieces are wonderful, but that bit more interesting because a visit to Lewis – where these beauties were found – was up later in the itinerary.
Right before the Museum closed we went up to the roof and enjoyed the fabulous views – despite the dull cloudiness – including a great one of the Castle!
And fair warning to those who’ve been reading my Scottish adventures… Our 2nd day in Edinburgh was our 2nd day in Scotland which makes this the second to last post!