I’ve had the opportunity over the past few years to visit quite a few cities in the United Kingdom. Each one has a unique personality and it’s own perks. However, none of them strike my heart with such awe, splendor and beauty as does Edinburgh. From my first footsteps off the Scottrail in Edinburgh Waverly Station to the wander through both Old and New Towns leaves me with a gaping jaw and a mind floating in the the heavy rain burdened clouds.
It’s funny that they have two neighborhoods in the center of Edinburgh that are both very old historic areas, yet one is actually called “New Town”. You see, “Old Town” has the Castle as the central focal point. They actually built the city around the castle and once they needed to expand and add another “suburb”, King James VII suggested they build there. Wikipedia has a great article summarizing the history of the planning of this area of the city and they called it a “marvel of city planning”.
Every which way you turn there is some stunning old architecture coated in the grime of centuries past begging for a photograph. I’ve been there in the sunshine, but more often I have been there in the rain and I still love it. When it starts raining, there are plenty of coffee shops, stores, pubs, restaurants and museums to pop into. Some of my favorites are just around the corner from the Royal Mile, like Maxies, where you go down the stairs to sit on their patio… You see, Edinburgh is a city built on hills, with stairs going up and down to get in between the buildings and roads that run up and down the sides of the hills instead of over the top.
In day, you can walk the Royal Mile, see a few sights in Old Town, have a quick pint and brief lunch in a pub and also walk a little bit of the New Town area as well. I have a loop that I like to run that takes you out of Edinburgh Waverly Sation to the left, up the stairs to the Royal Mile, up to the Castle, around the grounds, down to Merchant Street, then back up and through Princes Park across to Rose Street in the New Town area and then back to Princes Park where you’ll see the wonders of the Scottish Rite and then you can hop back over to the train station to complete your walking loop.