Scott monument, Waldorf Astoria, Balmoral Hotel, the Golden mile of Edinburgh-Scotland (1.6 kms long). The stroll should begin on Shandwick Place walking north-east from Palmerston Place. On either side of the street you will find all kinds of shopping. Classy high-end boutiques to souvenir shops, grocery stores to the ‘pound stretcher’, bars/pubs and restaurants to music stores. The atmosphere is vibrant, people smartly dressed and yes, you will see a few Scottish folk dressed traditionally, in full attire.
Princes street has so much history and many monumental structures. The Waldorf Astoria on the south side of Lothian road, the beginning of the ‘mile’ is one of them. Formerly, “The Caledonian” Hotel and once-upon-a-time the entrance to the “Princes railway station”, non-existent anymore. To see more pictures, click here.
The right (south) side has only one construction, St. John’s Episcopal church, then begins the Princes street gardens. You have an uninterrupted beautiful view of the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. On the left side, shopping.
Almost near the end of Princes street gardens, you come upon the Royal Scottish Academy and the Scottish National Gallery. The artworks on display in the gallery are breathtaking. The picture below is part of the ground floor, main galleries. To see more pictures, click here.
A little north of the gallery is the Scott Monument, a fitting tribute to one of the best writers of the time, Sir Walter Scott. As you walk further north you come upon another historical landmark, The Balmoral Hotel, which has a checkered past. It sits on top of Waverley train station named after Sir Scotts’ Waverley novels.
Continue walking and you will come to Calton Hill, the headquarters of the Scottish Government based at St Andrew’s House on the steep southern slope of the hill. The Scottish Parliament Building, and other notable buildings like Holyrood Palace, lie near the foot of the hill. On the hill you will find several iconic monuments such as the National Monument and the Dugald Stewart Monument. To see more pictures, click here.
The picture below gives you an idea of the phenomenal view you get of the city from Calton hill. It is aimed south but you can view all directions from up here, the picture includes the Dugald Stewart Monument. The view of the Firth of Forth is beautiful as well. The climb up Calton hill is steep and tiring but well worth it.
The Royal Mile
At the east end you will find the magnificent, impressive Holyrood Palace. The Queen spends a week here every summer and when in residence, the Scottish version of the Royal Standard is flown. To the west is the guardhouse, adjacent former Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon’s School, built in the 1840’s. These buildings are now, the Queen’s Gallery and display works of art from the Royal Collection. To see more pictures, click here.
Walking west on the ‘Royal Mile’, you will pass the Scottish Parliament building and come upon St. Giles’ Cathedral. Its distinctive crown steeple is a prominent feature of the city skyline.
This part of the Royal Mile turns into a busker and entertainer venue past noon. Most of the performers are pretty awesomely talented and skillful. You will find a mix of shops, restaurants, pubs and visitor attractions like the Royal Mile Whiskies and Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. Would definitely recommend visiting the latter. The next BIG attraction is Edinburgh Castle itself. To see more pictures, click here.
This is the view of the Castle from the Esplanade. It looks just as impressive from all around town. More views of Edinburgh Castle can be seen here. When leaving the Castle, walk back down the Royal Mile till you come to St. Columba’s Free Church of Scotland. Take Bow street and you will come upon a little staircase walkway that will take you to Victoria street. Walk right here, it is downhill and a very pretty walk. you will come upon a little café called OINK that serves the most delicious Scottish Hog roast sandwiches. Walk further downhill and you are in Haymarket, my favorite part of Edinburgh!
- There are a lot of budget hotels and also Airbnb’s that are centrally located.
- Waverley Train station is right in the middle of the Historic centre but Haymarket station isn’t too far away. I would say a 25 minute scenic walk through the historic centre anyways.
- The whole of the historic centre of Edinburgh can be walked. Princes street could be done in a day but a couple days would be better if you want to take in detail.
- The same goes with the Royal Mile. Two days if you want to take in detail.
- I found the city exceptionally safe. Never felt threatened or afraid at any time.
- Eat food in local “diners, pool halls, pubs”. Very tasty, traditional and inexpensive. My personal favorite, Diane’s Pool Hall, N/W corner of Morrison street and Morrison Link.
- Traveling inter-city, the train is exceptional. Going sightseeing out of the city, I would recommend hiring a car as you can stop wherever and take some phenomenal pictures of this beautiful country.
- If you’ve forgotten some essential item, look for it in a “Pound stretcher”, a low budget store.