Monday, May 12, 2014

Scotland: Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, Harry Potter and more from the Scottish capital

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
A medieval fortress dominates the skyline of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Edinburgh Castle stands at the head of Old Town, one of two distinct historic districts of the city. The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh are inscribed in the World Heritage List.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Old Town, with its medieval street plan and Reformation-era buildings, is the oldest part of the city. St. Margaret's Chapel, built in 1130 and the oldest building in the city, can be found in Edinburgh Castle. A visit to Edinburgh will not be complete without a trip to the castle (£16 entrance fee for adults).

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
View of New Town from Edinburgh Castle
The castle, once a shelter to Scottish royalty, also has several museums, the Scottish National War Memorial, and the Scottish Crown Jewels. The crown, scepter and sword are the oldest in the British Isles. One gets a great view of Old Town and New Town from Edinburgh Castle.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
From Edinburgh Castle, a road called the Royal Mile (approximately one Scots mile long) leads down to Holyrood Palace. It's actually a succession of streets that include Castlehill at the top, followed by Lawnmarket, the High Street, the Canongate and finally Abbey Strand. Many of Edinburgh's historic landmarks are located on these streets.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
Canongate Tollbooth was built in 1591 as a tollbooth, courthouse, burgh jail and meeting place
Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
If you are a fan of Harry Potter, make sure to turn right at George IV Bridge, which is between Lawnmarket and High Street, to visit The Elephant House. This café is the birthplace of Harry Potter since it's one of the café's where J.K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter novel.

Scottish National Parliament, Edinburgh, Scotland
In front of Holyrood Palace is the Scottish Parliament Building, designed by Catalan architect Enric Miralles, who passed away before it was completed in 2004.

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland
Holyrood Palace is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland, and has been the main residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century.

The ruins of Holyrood Abbey are adjacent to the palace.

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland
Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland
The former royal hunting estate is now Holyrood Park, a 260-hectare royal park with many hills, lochs, glens, ridges and basalt cliffs. Arthur's Seat, a 251-meter hill, provides fantastic views of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh, Scotland
View of Old Town from Princes Street in New Town
New Town was built between 1765 and 1850, a showcase of neoclassical and Georgian period architecture. Princes Street is the main shopping street in Edinburgh where you'll find some of the most popular names in fashion. Buildings are located on the north side of the street. The south side is mostly trees and open space, which allows beautiful panoramic views of Old Town and Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is a perfect introduction to Scotland. I had my first taste of haggis, Scotland's national dish, in Edinburgh. Haggis is a savory pudding made from sheep's heart, lungs, and liver minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices.

We also had our introduction to bagpipes and traditional Scottish music in Edinburgh. Check out the videos I took.


Part 1: Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, Harry Potter and more from the Scottish capital
Part 2: Eilean Donan Castle and Loch Ness
Part 3: Exploring the Isle of Skye
Part 4: Glencoe, Glenfinnan, spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands
Part 5: Glasgow's George Square at night

Also check out my photos of England, Scotland and Wales.
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