Edinburgh Sights – Scotland
DAY 3 – After our Castle visit, we drove down the Royal Mile, past the venerable St Giles’ Cathedral, to see the Queen’s Holyroodhouse Palace before crossing over to the 18th century New Town.
The Royal Mile was the main thoroughfare of medieval Edinburgh, linking the castle to Holyrood Palace. It extends from Castlehill to Canongate and many historical buildings line this stretch, for example in the second section are John Knox’s House and the Tron Kirk. By the way, the Royal Mile exceeds a mile by 107 yards.
There was time in the afternoon to shop on Prince’s Street, now the city’s most famous thoroughfare. We instead chose to spend the time exploring the Royal Mile and experiencing some of Edinburgh’s history and tourist attractions.
Edinburgh is well renowned for the arts and August is festival time. There were no less than six festivals on, including the Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh Internationl Festival and the International Film and Book festivals. We walked through the Festival Fringe area and enjoyed some of the activities there. Scotland is also famous for its Scotch and this whisky merchant on the Royal Mile had an impressive window display that attracted a number of passer-bys.
As we walked a little further on, we came upon St. Giles Cathedral. St Giles is the High Kirk of Edinburgh and is regarded as the mother church of Presbyterianism. Founded in the 1100s, the cathedral has witnessed executions, riots and celebrations, includidng the commemoration of Robert Louise Stevenson. Its famous crown spire dominates the skyline of Edinburgh. Ironically, it was from here that John Knox directed the Scottish Reformation.
The Cathedral also contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle and has honoured some of the greatest Scotsmen over the past 300 years. The exquisite rib-vaulting in the chapel, with its magnificent carvings and stonework is pretty amazing.
It was late afternoon and we sought out the The Greyfriars Pub, which we felt was a good spot for a lunch break and to visit the graveyard of Greyfriars Bobby. This faithful little Skye terrier sat on an old drinking fountain near the gateway to Greyfriars Church, guarding his master’s grave for 14 years. The people of Edinburgh fed him until his death in 1872. There were so many other interesting and historical buildings and landmarks, and not to mention pubs, that it was impossible to explore everything in a day.