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City of Edinburgh
Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Èideann
Scots: Edinburgh/Embra/Enburrie
—  Unitary Authority & City  —

Coat of arms

Logo of the City Council
Nickname(s): "Auld Reekie", "Athens of the North"
Motto: "Nisi Dominus Frustra" "Except the Lord in vain" associated with Edinburgh since 1647, it is a normal heraldic contraction of a verse from the 127th Psalm, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain"
City of Edinburgh is located in Scotland
City of Edinburgh
Location in Scotland
Coordinates: 55°56′58″N 3°9′37″W / 55.94944°N 3.16028°W / 55.94944; -3.16028
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country Scotland
Lieutenancy area Edinburgh
Admin HQ Edinburgh City Centre
Founded 7th century
Burgh Charter 1125
City status 1889
 - Type Unitary Authority, City
 - Governing body City of Edinburgh Council
 - Lord Provost George Grubb
 - MSPs
 - MPs:
 - Unitary Authority & City 100.00 sq mi (259 km2)
Population (2008 est.)
 - Unitary Authority & City 471,650
 Urban 1,164,611
 - Urban Density 4,716/sq mi (1,820.9/km2)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 - Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Postcode EH
Area code(s) 0131
ISO 3166-2 GB-EDH
ONS code 00QP
OS grid reference NT275735
Website (Official Council site) (Visitor-facing site)

Edinburgh (pronounced /ˈɛdɪnb(ə)rə/ ( listen), ED-in-brə or ED-in-bə-rə; (Scots: Edinburgh/Embra/Emburrie) (Gaelic:Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland. It is the second largest city in Scotland and the seventh-most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council is one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The city council area includes urban Edinburgh and a 30-square-mile (78 km2) rural area.

Located in the south-east of Scotland, Edinburgh lies on the east coast of the Central Belt, along the Firth of Forth, near the North Sea. Owing to its spectacular, rugged setting and vast collection of Medieval and Georgian architecture, including numerous stone tenements, it is often considered one of the most picturesque cities in Europe.

Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city was one of the major centres of the Enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, earning it the nickname Athens of the North. The Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city.[1] In the 2008 mid year population estimates, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 471,650.[2] Edinburgh is well-known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, a collection of official and independent festivals held annually over about four weeks from early August. The number of visitors attracted to Edinburgh for the Festival is roughly equal to the settled population of the city. The most famous of these events are the Edinburgh Fringe (the largest performing arts festival in the world), the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Other events include the Hogmanay street party (31 December), Burns Night (25 January), St. Andrew's Day (30 November), and the Beltane Fire Festival (30 April).

The city attracts 1 million overseas visitors a year, making it the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, after London.[3] In a 2009 YouGov poll, Edinburgh was voted the "most desirable city in which to live in the UK".[4] Edinburgh was also rated The Best Place to Live in Channel 4's 2007 4Homes survey, .[5]



Humans have settled the Edinburgh area from at least the Bronze Age, leaving traces of primitive stone settlements at Holyrood, Craiglockhart Hill and the Pentland Hills for example.[6] Influenced through the Iron Age by Hallstatt and La Tene Celtic cultures from central Europe, by the time the Romans arrived in Lothian at the beginning of the 1st millennium AD, they discovered a Celtic, Brythonic tribe whose name they recorded as Votadini, likely to be a Latin version of the name they called themselves.

The city's name is most likely Celtic (P-Celtic, Brythonic) in origin, possibly Cumbric or a variation of it. It is first mentioned in the late 6th century in the heroic poems of the Gododdin (a later Brythonic form of 'Votadini'), named as both Eidyn and Din Eidyn and also described as Eidyn ysgor or Eidyn gaer, i.e. the stronghold or fort of Eidyn. All these forms use 'Eidyn' as a proper name, and the same is true for later translations made by invading Bernicians and Scots, typified in a note from the 9th century's Life of St Monenna, 'Dunedene, which is in English, Edineburg'.[7][8]

This Celtic root is contrary to the often-cited theory that the city was named after the Bernician King of Northumbria, Edwin, who was killed in AD 633. However it is extremely unlikely that Edwin had any connection with Edinburgh, despite the expansion of his kingdom during his reign. Although centuries later some, such as Symeon of Durham in the 12th century, referred to the city in terms such as Edwinesburch, this hypothesis has been largely discredited as 'folk-etymology', the invention of a connection where there is none, most likely for political reasons. Indeed rigorous etymological research supports the Celtic route theory.[9]

Nevertheless there is no doubt that the Angles of Northumbria did have significant influence over south east Scotland, notably from AD 638 when it appears the Gododdin stronghold of Din Eidyn was sieged. Though far from exclusive (cf Picts and Scots), this influence continued over three centuries. It was not until c. AD 950 when, during the reign of Indulf, son of Constantine, the city, referred to at this time in the Pictish Chronicle as 'oppidum Eden',[9] fell to the Scots and finally remained under their jurisdiction.[10]

It is worth noting that during this period of Germanic influence in south east Scotland, when the city's name gained its Germanic suffix, 'burgh', the seeds for the language we know today as Scots were sown.

By the 12th century Edinburgh was well established, founded upon the famous castle rock, the volcanic crag and tail geological feature shaped by 2 million years of glacial activity. Flourishing alongside it to the east, another community developed around the Abbey of Holyrood, known as Canongate. In the 13th century these both became Royal Burghs and through the late medieval period Edinburgh grew quickly.

In 1492 King James IV of Scotland undertook to move the Royal Court from Stirling to Holyrood, making Edinburgh the national capital.

Edinburgh continued to flourish economically and culturally through the Renaissance period and was at the centre of the 16th century Scottish Reformation and the Wars of the Covenant a hundred years later.

In 1603 King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English and Irish thrones, fulfilling his ambition to create a united kingdom under the Stuart Monarchy. Although he retained the Parliament of Scotland in Edinburgh, he marched to London to rule from his throne there. He ordered that every public building in the land should bear his family's emblem, the red lion rampant, and to this day the most common name for a public house in Britain is the Red Lion.

In 1639, disputes between the Presbyterian Covenanters and the Anglican Church led to the Bishops' Wars, the initial conflict of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. During the Third English Civil War Edinburgh was taken by the Commonwealth forces of Oliver Cromwell prior to Charles II's eventual defeat at the Battle of Worcester.

In 17th century Edinburgh, a defensive wall, built in the 16th century, largely as protection against English invasion following James IV's defeat at Flodden (hence its moniker, the Flodden Wall) still defined the boundaries of the city . Due to the restricted land area available for development, the houses increased in height instead. Buildings of 11 stories were common, and there are records of buildings as high as 14 stories,[citation needed] an early version of the modern-day skyscraper. Many of the stone-built structures can still be seen today in the Old Town.

In 1707 the Act of Union was ratified by a narrow margin in the Parliament of Scotland, however many Scots had opposed it and the people of Edinburgh rioted at the news. It would be almost 300 years before the Parliament was reinstated.

From early times, and certainly from the 14th century, Edinburgh (like other royal burghs of Scotland) used armorial devices in many ways, including on seals. However in 1732, the ‘achievement’ or ‘coat of arms’ was formally granted by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. These arms were used by Edinburgh Town Council until the reorganisation of local government in Scotland in May 1975, when it was succeeded by the City of Edinburgh District Council and a new coat of arms, based on the earlier one, was granted. In 1996, further local government reorganisation resulted in the formation of the City of Edinburgh Council, and again the coat of arms was updated.[11]

During the Jacobite rising of 1745, Edinburgh was briefly occupied by Jacobite forces before their march into England.

An 1802 illustration of Edinburgh from the west.

However following their ultimate defeat at Culloden, there was a period of reprisals and pacification, largely directed at the Catholic Highlanders. In Edinburgh the Hanoverian monarch attempted to gain favour by supporting new developments to the north of the castle, naming streets in honour of the King and his family; George Street, Frederick Street, Hanover Street and Princes Street, named in honour of George IV's two sons.

Edinburgh is noted for its fine architecture, and the New Town for its Georgian architecture in particular.[citation needed]

The city was at the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment and renowned throughout Europe at this time, as a hotbed of talent and ideas and a beacon for progress.[citation needed] Celebrities from across the continent would be seen in the city streets, among them famous Scots such as David Hume, Walter Scott, Robert Adam, David Wilkie, Robert Burns, James Hutton and Adam Smith. Edinburgh became a major cultural centre, earning it the nickname Athens of the North because of the Greco-Roman style of the New Town's architecture, as well as the rise of the Scottish intellectual elite who were increasingly leading both Scottish and European intellectual thought.[citation needed]

Edinburgh today

In the 19th century, Edinburgh, like many cities, industrialised, but did not grow as fast as Scotland's second city, Glasgow, which replaced it as the largest city in the country, benefitting greatly at the height of the British Empire.


The city is affectionately nicknamed Auld Reekie[12] (Scots for Old Smoky), because when buildings were heated by coal and wood fires, chimneys would spew thick columns of smoke into the air. The colloquial pronunciation "Embra" or "Embro" has also been used[13] as in Robert Garioch's Embro to the Ploy.[14]

Some have called Edinburgh the Athens of the North. It is also known by several Latin names; Aneda or Edina. The adjectival form of the latter, Edinensis, can be seen inscribed on many educational buildings.[15][16][17][18][19]

Edinburgh has also been known as Dunedin, deriving from the Scottish Gaelic, Dùn Èideann. Dunedin, New Zealand, was originally called "New Edinburgh" and is still nicknamed the "Edinburgh of the South". The Scots poets Robert Burns and Robert Fergusson sometimes used the city's Latin name, Edina. Ben Jonson described it as Britain's other eye,[20] and Sir Walter Scott referred to the city as yon Empress of the North.[21] Robert Louis Stevenson, also a son of the city, wrote, "Edinburgh is what Paris ought to be".

Panorama of the Old Town and Southside of Edinburgh from the Nelson monument. The term panorama was originally coined by the painter Robert Barker to describe his panoramic paintings of Edinburgh.


Arthur's Seat viewed across southern parts of Edinburgh from Blackford Hill.

Bounded by the Firth of Forth to the north and the Pentland Hills, which skirt the periphery of the city to the south, Edinburgh lies in the eastern portion of the Central Lowlands of Scotland.[22] The city sprawls over a landscape which is the product of early volcanic activity and later periods of intensive glaciation.[23] Igneous activity between 350 and 400 million years ago, coupled with faulting led to the dispersion of tough basalt volcanic plugs, which predominate over much of the area.[23] One such example is Castle Rock which forced the advancing icepack to divide, sheltering the softer rock and forming a mile-long tail of material to the east, creating a distinctive crag and tail formation.[23] Glacial erosion on the northern side of the crag gouged a large valley resulting in the now drained Nor Loch. This structure, along with a ravine to the south, formed an ideal natural fortress which Edinburgh Castle was built upon.[23] Similarly, Arthur's Seat is the remains of a volcano system dating from the Carboniferous period, which was eroded by a glacier moving from west to east during the ice age.[23] Erosive action such as plucking and abrasion exposed the rocky crags to the west before leaving a tail of deposited glacial material swept to the east.[24] This process formed the distinctive Salisbury Crags, which formed a series of teschenite cliffs located between Arthur's Seat and the city centre.[25] The residential areas of Marchmont and Bruntsfield are built along a series of drumlin ridges located south of the city centre which were deposited as the glacier receded.[23]

Other viewpoints in the city such as Calton Hill and Corstorphine Hill are similar products of glacial erosion.[23] The Braid Hills and Blackford Hill are a series of small summits to the south west of the city commanding expansive views over the urban area of Edinburgh and northwards to the Forth.[23]

Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: Met Office

Edinburgh is drained by the Water of Leith, which finds its source at the Harperrig Reservoir in the Pentland Hills and runs for 29 km (18 miles) through the south and west of the city, emptying into the Firth of Forth at Leith.[26] The nearest the river gets to the city centre is at Dean Village on the edge of the New Town, where a deep gorge is spanned by the Dean Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford and built in 1832 for the road to Queensferry.[26] The Water of Leith Walkway is a mixed use trail that follows the river for 19.6 km (12.2 miles) from Balerno to Leith.[27]

Designated in 1957, Edinburgh is ringed by a green belt stretching from Dalmeny in the west to Prestongrange in the east.[28] With an average width of 3.2 km (2 miles) the principal objective of the green belt was to contain the outward expansion of Edinburgh and to prevent the agglomeration of urban areas.[28] Expansion within the green belt is strictly controlled but developments such as Edinburgh Airport and the Royal Highland Showground at Ingliston are located within the zone.[28] Similarly, urban villages such as Juniper Green and Balerno sit on green belt land.[28] One feature of the green belt in Edinburgh is the inclusion of parcels of land within the city which are designated as green belt even though they do not adjoin the main peripheral ring. Examples of these independent wedges of green belt include Holyrood Park and Corstorphine Hill.[28]

Like much of the rest of Scotland, Edinburgh has a temperate, maritime climate which is relatively mild despite its northerly latitude.[29] Winters are especially mild, with daytime temperatures rarely falling below freezing, and compare favourably with places such as Moscow, Labrador and Newfoundland which lie in similar latitudes.[29] Summer temperatures are normally moderate, with daily upper maxima rarely exceeding 22 °C.[29] The highest temperature ever recorded in the city was 31.4 °C on 4 August 1975.[29] The proximity of the city to the sea mitigates any large variations in temperature or extremes of climate. Given Edinburgh's position between the coast and hills, it is renowned as a windy city, with the prevailing wind direction coming from the south-west which is associated with warm, unstable air from the Gulf Stream that can give rise to rainfall - although considerably less than cities to the west, such as Glasgow.[29] Rainfall is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year.[29] Winds from an easterly direction are usually drier but colder. Vigorous Atlantic depressions, known as European windstorms, can affect the city between October and May.[29]


Old and New Towns of Edinburgh*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill. The Dugald Stewart memorial is visible in the foreground.
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 728
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1995  (19th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Map of the city, showing New Town, Old Town, and the West End.

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is divided into areas that generally encompass a park (sometimes known as "links"), a main local street (i.e. street of local retail shops), a high street (the historic main street, not always the same as the main local street, such as in Corstorphine) and residential buildings. In Edinburgh many residences are tenements, although the more southern and western parts of the city have traditionally been more affluent and have a greater number of detached and semi-detached villas.

The historic centre of Edinburgh is divided into two by the broad green swath of Princes Street Gardens. To the south the view is dominated by Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the extinct volcanic crag, and the long sweep of the Old Town trailing after it along the ridge. To the north lies Princes Street and the New Town. The gardens were begun in 1816 on bogland which had once been the Nor Loch.

To the immediate west of the castle lies the financial district, housing insurance and banking buildings. Probably the most noticeable building here is the circular sandstone building that is the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Old Town

Looking down The Royal Mile

The Old Town has preserved its medieval plan and many Reformation-era buildings. One end is closed by the castle and the main artery, the Royal Mile, leads away from it; minor streets (called closes or wynds) lead downhill on either side of the main spine in a herringbone pattern. Large squares mark the location of markets or surround public buildings such as St. Giles' Cathedral and the Law Courts. Other notable places nearby include the Royal Museum of Scotland, Surgeons' Hall and McEwan Hall. The street layout is typical of the old quarters of many northern European cities, and where the castle perches on top of a rocky crag (the remnants of an extinct volcano) the Royal Mile runs down the crest of a ridge from it.

Due to space restrictions imposed by the narrowness of the "tail", the Old Town became home to some of the earliest "high rise" residential buildings. Multi-storey dwellings known as lands were the norm from the 1500s onwards with ten and eleven stories being typical and one even reaching fourteen stories. Additionally, numerous vaults below street level were inhabited to accommodate the influx of (mainly Irish) immigrants during the Industrial Revolution. These continue to fuel legends of an underground city to this day. Today there are tours of Edinburgh which take you into the underground city, Edinburgh Vaults.[30]

New Town

View of the New Town

The New Town was an 18th century solution to the problem of an increasingly crowded Old Town. The city had remained incredibly compact, confined to the ridge running down from the castle. In 1766 a competition to design the New Town was won by James Craig, a 22-year-old architect. The plan that was built created a rigid, ordered grid, which fitted well with enlightenment ideas of rationality. The principal street was to be George Street, which follows the natural ridge to the north of the Old Town. Either side of it are the other main streets of Princes Street and Queen Street. Princes Street has since become the main shopping street in Edinburgh, and few Georgian buildings survive on it. Linking these streets were a series of perpendicular streets. At the east and west ends are St. Andrew Square and Charlotte Square respectively. The latter was designed by Robert Adam and is often considered one of the finest Georgian squares in the world. Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland, is on the north side of Charlotte Square. Sitting in the glen between the Old and New Towns was the Nor' Loch, which had been both the city's water supply and place for dumping sewage. By the 1820s it was drained. Some plans show that a canal was intended[citation needed], but Princes Street Gardens were created instead. Excess soil from the construction of the buildings was dumped into the loch, creating what is now The Mound. In the mid-19th century the National Gallery of Scotland and Royal Scottish Academy Building were built on The Mound, and tunnels to Waverley Station driven through it. The New Town was so successful that it was extended greatly. The grid pattern was not maintained, but rather a more picturesque layout was created. Today the New Town is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture and planning in the world.

South side

A popular residential part of the city is its south side, comprising a number of areas including St Leonards, Marchmont, Newington, Sciennes, The Grange, Edinburgh "South side" is broadly analogous to the area covered by the Burgh Muir, and grew in popularity as a residential area following the opening of the South Bridge. These areas are particularly popular with families (many well-regarded[citation needed] state and private schools are located here), students (the central University of Edinburgh campus is based around George Square just north of Marchmont and the Meadows, and Napier University has major campuses around Merchiston & Morningside), and with festival-goers. These areas are also the subject of fictional work: Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus lives in Marchmont and worked in St Leonards; and Morningside is the home of Muriel Spark's Miss Jean Brodie. Today, the literary connection continues, with the area being home to the authors J. K. Rowling, Ian Rankin, and Alexander McCall Smith.


Leith is the port of Edinburgh. It still retains a separate identity from Edinburgh, and it was a matter of great resentment when, in 1920, the burgh of Leith was merged[31] into the county of Edinburgh. Even today the parliamentary seat is known as 'Edinburgh North and Leith'. With the redevelopment of Leith, Edinburgh has gained the business of a number of cruise liner companies which now provide cruises to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Leith also has the Royal Yacht Britannia, berthed behind the Ocean Terminal and Easter Road, the home ground of Hibernian.

Urban Area

The urban area of Edinburgh is almost entirely contained within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary, merging only with Musselburgh in East Lothian.


Edinburgh compared[32][33]
UK Census 2001 Edinburgh Lothian Scotland
Total population 448,624 778,367 5,062,011
Population Growth 1991–2001 7.1% 7.2% 1.3%
White 95.9% 97.2% 98.8%
Asian 2.6% 1.6% 1.3%
Under 16 years old 16.3% 18.6% 19.2%
Over 65 years old 15.4% 14.8% 16.0%
Christian 54.8% 58.1% 65.1%
Muslim 1.5% 1.1% 0.8%

At the United Kingdom Census 2001, Edinburgh had a population of 448,624, a rise of 7.1% on 1991.[32] Estimates in 2008 placed the total resident population at 471,650 split between 227,922 males and 243,728 females.[34] This makes Edinburgh the second largest city in Scotland after Glasgow.[32] According to the European Statistical agency, Eurostat, Edinburgh sits at the heart of a Larger Urban Zone covering 665 square miles (1,724 km2) with a population of 778,000.[35]

The cramped tenements of the Royal Mile were once home to most of Edinburgh's population.

Edinburgh has a higher proportion of those aged between 16 and 24 than the Scottish average, but has a lower proportion of those classified as elderly or pre-school.[34] Over 95% of Edinburgh respondents classed their ethnicity as White in 2001, with those identifying as being Indian and Chinese at 1.6% and 0.8% of the population respectively.[36] In 2001, 22% of the population were born outside Scotland with the largest group of immigrants coming from England at 12.1%.[36] Since the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, a large number of migrants from the accession states such as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia have settled in the city, with many working in the service industry.[37]

There is evidence of human habitation on Castle Rock from as early as 3,000 years ago.[38] A census conducted by the Edinburgh presbytery in 1592 estimated a population of 8,000 scattered equally north and south of the High Street which runs down the spine of the ridge leading from the Castle.[39] In the 18th and 19th Centuries, the population began to expand rapidly, rising from 49,000 in 1751 to 136,000 in 1831 primarily due to rural out-migration.[40] As the population swelled, overcrowding problems in the Old Town, particularly in the cramped tenements that lined the present day Royal Mile and Cowgate, were exacerbated.[40] Sanitary problems and disease were rife.[40] The construction of James Craig's masterplanned New Town from 1766 onwards witnessed the migration of the professional classes from the Old Town to the lower density, higher quality surroundings taking shape on land to the north.[41] Expansion southwards from the Royal Mile/Cowgate axis of the Old Town saw more tenements being built in the 19th century, giving rise to present day areas such as Marchmont, Newington and Bruntsfield.[42]

Early 20th century population growth coincided with lower density suburban development in areas such as Gilmerton, Liberton and South Gyle. As the city expanded to the south and west, detached and semi detached villas with large gardens replaced tenements as the predominant building style. Nonetheless, the 2001 census revealed that over 55% of Edinburgh's population live in tenements or high rise flats compared to the Scottish average of 33.5%.[43]

Throughout the early to mid 20th century many new estates were built in areas such as Craigmillar, Niddrie, Pilton, Muirhouse, Piershill and Sighthill, linked to slum clearances in the Old Town.



Pipers emerging from Edinburgh Castle during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Culturally, Edinburgh is best known for the Edinburgh Festival, although this is in fact a series of separate events, which run from the end of July until early September each year. The longest established festival is the Edinburgh International Festival, which first ran in 1947. The International Festival centres on a programme of high-profile theatre productions and classical music performances, featuring international directors, conductors, theatre companies and orchestras.

The International Festival has since been taken over in both size and popularity by the Edinburgh Fringe. What began as a programme of marginal acts has become the largest arts festival in the world, with 1867 different shows being staged in 2006, in 261 venues. Comedy is now one of the mainstays of the Fringe, with numerous notable comedians getting their 'break' here, often through receipt of the Perrier Award.

In 2008 the largest comedy venues on the Edinburgh Fringe launched as a festival within a festival, labelled the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. Already at its inception it was the largest comedy festival in the world.[44] Alongside these major festivals, there is also the Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival (moved to June from 2008), the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The Edge Festival (formerly known as T on the Fringe), a popular music offshoot of the Fringe, began in 2000, replacing the smaller Flux and Planet Pop series of shows.

Running concurrently with the summer festivals, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo occupies the Castle Esplanade every night, with massed pipers and fireworks.

The Edinburgh International Science Festival is held annually in April and is one of the most popular science festivals in the world.


A Viking longship being burnt during Edinburgh's annual Hogmanay celebrations.

Equally famous is the annual Hogmanay celebration. Originally simply a street party held on Princes Street and the Royal Mile, the Hogmanay event has been officially organised since 1993. In 1996, over 300,000 people attended, leading to ticketing of the main street party in later years, with a limit of 100,000 tickets. Hogmanay now covers four days of processions, concerts and fireworks, with the actual street party commencing on New Year's Eve. During the street party Princes Street is accessible by ticket only, allowing access into Princes Street where there are live bands playing, food and drink stalls, and a clear view of the castle and fireworks. Alternative tickets are available for entrance into the Princes Street Gardens concert and Ceilidh, where well known artists perform and ticket holders are invited to participate in traditional Scottish Ceilidh dancing. The event attracts thousands of people from all over the world. On the night of 30 April, the Beltane Fire Festival takes place on Edinburgh's Calton Hill. The festival involves a procession followed by the re-enactment of scenes inspired by pagan spring fertility celebrations.

Museums and libraries

Edinburgh is home to a large number of museums and libraries, many of which are national institutions. These include the Museum of Scotland, the Royal Museum, the National Library of Scotland, National War Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Edinburgh, Museum of Childhood and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Literature and philosophy

Edinburgh has a long literary tradition, going back to the Scottish Enlightenment. Edinburgh's Enlightenment produced philosopher David Hume and the pioneer of political economy, Adam Smith. Writers such as James Boswell, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Sir Walter Scott all lived and worked in Edinburgh. J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter novels, is a resident of Edinburgh. Edinburgh has also become associated with the crime novels of Ian Rankin; and the work of Leith native Irvine Welsh, whose novels are mostly set in the city and are often written in colloquial Scots. Edinburgh is also home to Alexander McCall Smith and a number of his book series. Edinburgh has also been declared the first UNESCO City of Literature.

Music, theatre and film

Outside festival season, Edinburgh continues to support a number of theatres and production companies. The Royal Lyceum Theatre has its own company, while the King's Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, and Edinburgh Playhouse stage large touring shows. The Traverse Theatre presents a more contemporary programme of plays. Amateur theatre companies productions are staged at the Bedlam Theatre, Church Hill Theatre, and the King's Theatre amongst others. Youth Music Theatre: UK has a regional office in the city.

The Usher Hall is Edinburgh's premier venue for classical music, as well as the occasional prestige popular music gig. Other halls staging music and theatre include The Hub, the Assembly Rooms and the Queen's Hall. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is based in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh has two repertory cinemas, the Edinburgh Filmhouse, and the Cameo, and the independent Dominion Cinema, as well as the usual range of multiplexes.

Edinburgh has a healthy popular music scene. Occasional large gigs are staged at Murrayfield and Meadowbank, whilst venues such as the Corn Exchange, HMV Picture House and the Liquid Room cater for smaller events.

Edinburgh is also home to a flourishing group of contemporary composers such as Nigel Osborne, Peter Nelson, Lyell Cresswell, Hafliði Hallgrímsson, Edward Harper, Robert Crawford, Robert Dow, and John McLeod[45] whose music is heard regularly on BBC Radio 3 and throughout the UK.

Edinburgh is also home to several of Scotland's galleries and organisations dedicated to contemporary visual art. Significant strands of this infrastructure include: The Scottish Arts Council, Inverleith House, Edinburgh College of Art, Talbot Rice Gallery (University of Edinburgh), The Travelling Gallery, Edinburgh Printmakers, WASPS, Artlink, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Doggerfisher, Stills, Collective Gallery, Out of the Blue, The Embassy, Magnifitat, Sleeper, Total Kunst, OneZero, Standby, Portfolio Magazine, MAP magazine, Edinburgh's One O'Clock Gun Periodical and Product magazine and the Edinburgh Annuale.

Visual arts

Edinburgh is home to Scotland's five National Galleries as well as numerous smaller galleries. The national collection is housed in the National Gallery of Scotland, located on the Mound, and now linked to the Royal Scottish Academy, which holds regular major exhibitions of painting. The contemporary collections are shown in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the nearby Dean Gallery. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery focuses on portraits and photography.

The council-owned City Arts Centre shows regular art exhibitions. Across the road, The Fruitmarket Gallery offers world class exhibitions of contemporary art, featuring work by British and international artists with both emerging and established international reputations.

There are world class private galleries, including: Doggerfisher and Ingleby Gallery, the latter serving up a constantly challenging exhibition program of Museum quality work.

Nightlife and shopping

Edinburgh has a large number of pubs, clubs and restaurants. The traditional areas were the Grassmarket, Lothian Road and surrounding streets, Rose Street and its surrounds and the Bridges. In recent years George Street in the New Town has grown in prominence, with a large number of new, upmarket public houses and nightclubs opening, along with a number on the parallel Queen Street. Stockbridge and the waterfront at Leith are also increasingly fashionable areas, with a number of pubs, clubs and restaurants.

The largest nightclubs are Lava & Ignite (formerly Cavendish) and City Nightclub, as well as Edinburgh University's student union, Potterrow. Smaller commercial venues include Base, Faith, Stereo, and Karma. In recent years night clubs on George Street such as Opal Lounge, Lulu's, Why Not and Shanghai have become popular.

The main alternative, indie and rock nights are hosted at The Hive, Opium and Studio 24. The Liquid Room is currently undergoing a full re-fit after being damaged by the fire that destroyed an Indian restaurant which was situated behind it in December 2008. It is expected to reopen within the year.

The underground nightclub scene playing music such as techno, house, electronica, drum & bass and dubstep has suffered in recent years with the closure of Wilkie House, The Honeycomb, The Venue, La Belle Angele (destroyed in the Cowgate fire) and Luna (formerly eGo). Cabaret Voltaire, The Bongo Club, and Sneaky Pete's now host the majority of underground events held in Edinburgh.

There are two dedicated gay clubs in Edinburgh, CC Blooms and GHQ; several other club venues have LGBT nights.

A fortnightly publication, The List, is dedicated to life in Edinburgh and around, and contains listings of all nightclubs, as well as music, theatrical and other events. The List also regularly produces specialist guides such as its Food and Drink guide and its guide to the Edinburgh Festivals.

Princes Street is the main shopping area in the city centre, with a wide range of stores from souvenir shops, from chains such as Boots and H&M and institutions like Jenners. George Street, north of Princes Street, is home to a number of upmarket chains and independent stores. The St. James Centre, at the eastern end of George Street and Princes Street, hosts a substantial number of national chains including a large John Lewis. Multrees Walk, adjacent to the St. James Centre, is a recent addition to the city centre, hosting brands such as Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Mulberry and Calvin Klein, with Harvey Nichols anchoring the development.

Edinburgh also has substantial retail developments outside the city centre. These include The Gyle and Hermiston Gait in the west of the city, Cameron Toll, Straiton Retail Park and Fort Kinnaird in the south and east, and Ocean Terminal to the north, on the Leith waterfront. The Royal Yacht Britannia lies in dock here next to the centre.

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is a non-profit zoological park located in Corstorphine. The land lies on Corstorphine Hill and provides extensive views of the city. Built in 1913, and owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, it receives over 600,000 visitors a year, which makes it Scotland's second most popular paid-for tourist attraction, after Edinburgh Castle.[46] As well as catering to tourists and locals, the Zoo is involved in many scientific pursuits, such as captive breeding of endangered animals, researching into animal behaviour, and active participation in various conservation programs around the world.[47] The Zoo is the only zoo in Britain to house polar bears and koalas, as well as being the first zoo in the world to house and breed penguins.



Edinburgh has two professional football clubs - Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian. They are known locally as Hibs and Hearts and both teams currently play in the Scottish Premier League. Hibs play at Easter Road Stadium, which straddles the former boundary between Edinburgh and Leith, while Hearts play at Tynecastle Stadium in Gorgie.

Edinburgh was also home to senior sides St Bernard's, and Leith Athletic. Most recently, Meadowbank Thistle played at Meadowbank Stadium until 1995, when the club moved to Livingston, becoming Livingston F.C.. Previously, Meadowbank Thistle had been named Ferranti Thisle. The Scottish national team has occasionally played at Easter Road and Tynecastle.

Non-league sides include Spartans and Edinburgh City, who play in the East of Scotland League along with Civil Service Strollers F.C., Lothian Thistle F.C., Edinburgh University A.F.C., Edinburgh Athletic F.C., Tynecastle F.C., Craigroyston F.C. and Heriot-Watt University F.C.. Edinburgh United F.C. plays in the Scottish Junior Football Association, East Region.

Rugby Union

The Scotland national rugby union team plays at Murrayfield Stadium, which is owned by the Scottish Rugby Union and is also used as a venue for other events, including music concerts. Edinburgh's professional rugby team, Edinburgh Rugby, play in the Celtic Magners League at Murrayfield. It is the largest capacity stadium in Scotland. Raeburn Place held the first rugby international game between Scotland and England. Edinburgh is also home to numerous smaller rugby teams including The Edinburgh Academicals (who play at Raeburn Place), The Murrayfield Wanderers and several teams from the universities in Edinburgh.

Other sports

The Scottish cricket team, who represent Scotland at cricket internationally and in the Friends Provident Trophy, play their home matches at The Grange.

The Edinburgh Capitals are the latest of a succession of ice hockey clubs to represent the Scottish capital. Previously Edinburgh was represented by the Murrayfield Racers and the Edinburgh Racers. The club play their home games at the Murrayfield Ice Rink and are the sole Scottish representative in the Elite Ice Hockey League.

The Edinburgh Diamond Devils is a baseball club claiming its first Scottish Championship in 1991 as the "Reivers." 1992 saw the team repeat as national champions, becoming the first team to do so in league history and saw the start of the club's first youth team, the Blue Jays. The name of the club was changed in 1999.

Edinburgh has also hosted various national and international sports events including the World Student Games, the 1970 British Commonwealth Games, the 1986 Commonwealth Games and the inaugural 2000 Commonwealth Youth Games. For the Games in 1970 the city built major Olympic standard venues and facilities including the Royal Commonwealth Pool and the Meadowbank Stadium.

In American football, the Scottish Claymores played WLAF/NFL Europe games at Murrayfield, including their World Bowl 96 victory. From 1995 to 1997 they played all their games there, from 1998 to 2000 they split their home matches between Murrayfield and Glasgow's Hampden Park, then moved to Glasgow full-time, with one final Murrayfield appearance in 2002. The city's most successful non-professional team are the Edinburgh Wolves who currently play at Meadowbank Stadium.

The Edinburgh Marathon has been held in the city since 2003 with more than 13,000 taking part annually. The city also has a half-marathon, as well as a number of 10 km and 5 km races, including a 5 km race on the first of January each year.

Edinburgh has a speedway team, the Edinburgh Monarchs, which is currently based at the Lothian Arena in Armadale, West Lothian.

Edinburgh Eagles are a rugby league team who play in the Rugby League Conference Scotland Division. Murrayfield Stadium also hosts the Magic Weekend where all Super League matches are played(at Murrayfield) all on the one weekend.


Edinburgh has the strongest economy of any city in the UK outside London.[citation needed] The strength of Edinburgh's economy is reflected by its GVA per capita, which was measured at £28,238 in 2005.[48] The economy of Edinburgh and its hinterland has recently been announced as one of the fastest growing city regions in Europe.[citation needed] Education and health, finance and business services, retailing and tourism are the largest employers.[49] The economy of Edinburgh is largely based around the services sector — centred around banking, financial services, higher education, and tourism. Unemployment in Edinburgh is low at 1.9%, which has been consistently below the Scottish average.[50] Banking has been a part of the economic life of Edinburgh for over 300 years, with the establishment of the Bank of Scotland by an act of the original Parliament of Scotland in 1695. Today, together with the burgeoning financial services industry, with particular strengths in insurance and investment underpinned by the presence of Edinburgh based firms such as Scottish Widows and Standard Life, Edinburgh has emerged as Europe's sixth largest financial centre.[51] The Royal Bank of Scotland opened its new global headquarters at Gogarburn in the west of the city in October 2005; its registered office remains in St. Andrew Square.

Edinburgh Financial District

Manufacturing has never had as strong a presence in Edinburgh compared with Glasgow; however brewing, publishing, and nowadays electronics have maintained a foothold in the city. While brewing has been in decline in recent years, with the closure of the McEwan's Brewery in 2005, Caledonian Brewery remains as the largest, with Scottish and Newcastle retaining their headquarters in the city.

Tourism is an important economic mainstay in the city. As a World Heritage Site, tourists come to visit such historical sites as Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Georgian New Town. This is augmented in August of each year with the presence of the Edinburgh Festivals, which bring in large numbers of visitors, generating in excess of £100 m for the Edinburgh economy.[52]

As the centre of Scotland's government, as well as its legal system, the public sector plays a central role in the economy of Edinburgh with many departments of the Scottish Government located in the city. Other major employers include NHS Scotland and local government administration.


Following local government reorganisation in 1996, Edinburgh constitutes one of the 32 Unitary Authorities of Scotland.[53] Today, the City of Edinburgh Council is the administrative body for the local authority and has its powers stipulated by the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994.[54] Like all other unitary and island authorities in Scotland, the council has powers over most matters of local administration such as housing, planning, local transport, parks, economic development and regeneration.[54] The council is composed of 58 elected councillors, returned from 17 multi-member electoral wards in the city.[55] Each ward elects three or four councillors by the single transferable vote system, to produce a form of proportional representation. Following the 2007 Scottish Local Elections the incumbent Labour Party lost majority control of the council, after 23 years, to a Liberal Democrat/SNP coalition.[56]

Since 2007, the council has operated a committee structure, headed by the Lord Provost, who chairs the full council and acts as a figurehead for the city.[57] The Provost, currently George Grubb, also serves as ex officio the Lord Lieutenant of the city.[58] A Leader and Policy & Strategy Committee, appointed by the full council, are responsible for the day-to-day running of the city administration. Jenny Dawe has been the Council Leader since May 2007. Councillors are also appointed to sit on the boards of public bodies such as Lothian and Borders Police and the Forth Estuary Transport Authority.[57]

Edinburgh City Chambers is the headquarters of the City of Edinburgh Council.

In terms of national governance, Edinburgh is represented in the Scottish Parliament. For electoral purposes, the city area is divided between six of the nine constituencies in the Lothians electoral region.[59] Each constituency elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first past the post system of election, and the region elects seven additional MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation.[59]

Edinburgh is also represented in the House of Commons by 5 Members of Parliament elected from single member constituencies by the plurality system. One of the local constituencies, Edinburgh South West, is represented by Alistair Darling, the current UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.[60]


Edinburgh Airport is the principal international gateway to the city, handling almost 9 million passengers in 2008. In anticipation of rising passenger numbers, the airport operator BAA outlined a draft masterplan in 2006 to provide for the expansion of the airfield and terminal building.[61] The possibility of building a second runway to cope with an increased number of aircraft movements has also been mooted.[61]

As an important hub on the East Coast Main Line, Edinburgh Waverley is the primary railway station serving the city. With more than 14 million passengers per year, the station is the second busiest in Scotland behind Glasgow Central.[62] Waverley serves as the terminus for trains arriving from London King's Cross and is the departure point for many rail services within Scotland operated by First ScotRail.

A First ScotRail Class 170 entering Edinburgh Waverley railway station

To the west of the city centre lies Haymarket railway station which is an important commuter stop. Opened in 2003, Edinburgh Park station serves the adjacent business park located in the west of the city and the nearby Gogarburn headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Edinburgh Crossrail connects Edinburgh Park with Haymarket, Waverley and the suburban stations of Brunstane and Newcraighall in the east of the city.[63] There are also commuter lines to South Gyle and Dalmeny, which serves South Queensferry by the Forth Bridges, and to the south west of the city out to Wester Hailes and Curriehill

Lothian Buses operate the majority of city bus services within the City and to surrounding suburbs, with the majority of routes running via Princes Street. Services further afield operate from the Edinburgh Bus Station off St. Andrew Square. Lothian, as the successor company to the City's Corporation Trams, also operates all of the City's branded public tour bus services, the night bus network and airport buses.[64] Lothian's Mac Tours subsidiary has one of the largest remaining fleets of ex-London Routemaster buses in the UK, many converted to open top tour buses.[65] In 2007, the average daily ridership of Lothian Buses was over 312,000 - a 6% rise on the previous year.[64]

One of Lothian Buses fleet on Princes Street.

In order to tackle traffic congestion, Edinburgh is now served by six park and ride sites on the periphery of the city at Sheriffhall, Ingliston, Riccarton, Inverkeithing (in Fife) and Newcraighall. A new facility at Straiton opened in October 2008. A referendum of Edinburgh residents in February 2005 rejected a proposal to introduce congestion charging in the city.

Edinburgh has been without a tram system since 16 November 1956.[66] However, following parliamentary approval in 2007, construction began on a new Edinburgh tram network in early 2008, which has led to major disruption to transport services[citation needed]. The first stage of the project was expected to be operational by July 2011[67] but is unlikely to be working before the beginning of 2012.[68] The first phase will see trams running from the airport in the west of the city, through the centre of Edinburgh and down Leith Walk to Ocean Terminal and Newhaven.[69] The next phase of the project will see trams run from Haymarket through Ravelston and Craigleith to Granton on the waterfront.[69] Future proposals include a line going west from the airport to Ratho and Newbridge, and a line running along the length of the waterfront.[70]


There are four universities in Edinburgh with over 100,000 students studying in the city.[71] Established by Royal Charter in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is one of Scotland's ancient universities and is the fourth oldest in the country after St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen.[72] Originally centred around Old College the university expanded to premises on The Mound, the Royal Mile and George Square.[72] Today, the King's Buildings in the south of the city contain most of the schools within the College of Science and Engineering. In 2002, the medical school moved to purpose built accommodation adjacent to the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at Little France. The University was voted 20th in the world in the 2009 THES World University Rankings.[73]

In the 1960s Heriot-Watt University and Napier Technical College were established.[72] Heriot-Watt traces its origins to 1821, when a school for technical education of the working classes was opened.[74] Based in Riccarton to the west of the city, Heriot-Watt specialises in the disciplines of engineering, business and mathematics.[75] Napier College was renamed Napier Polytechnic in 1986 and gained university status in 1992.[76] Edinburgh Napier University has campuses in the south and west of the city, including the former Craiglockhart Hydropathic and Merchiston Tower.[76] It is home to the Screen Academy Scotland.

The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Building now forms part of the Napier University campus.

Further education colleges in the city include Jewel and Esk College (incorporating Leith Nautical College founded in 1903), Telford College, opened in 1968, and Stevenson College, opened in 1970. The Scottish Agricultural College also has a campus in south Edinburgh. Awarded university status in January 2007, Queen Margaret University was founded in 1875, as The Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy, by Christian Guthrie Wright and Louisa Stevenson.[77]

Other notable institutions include the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh which were established by Royal Charter, in 1506 and 1681 respectively. The Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh was founded in 1760 - an institution that became the Edinburgh College of Art in 1907.[78]

There are 18 nursery, 94 primary and 23 secondary schools in Edinburgh administered by the city council.[79] In addition, the city is home to a large number of independent, fee-paying schools including George Heriot's School, Fettes College, Merchiston Castle School, George Watson's College, Edinburgh Academy and Stewart's Melville College.


The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh is the main public hospital for the city.

Hospitals in Edinburgh include the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which includes Edinburgh University Medical School, and the Western General Hospital, which includes a large cancer treatment centre and the nurse-led Minor Injuries Clinic. There is one private hospital, Murrayfield Hospital, owned by Spire Healthcare. The Royal Infirmary is the main Accident & Emergency hospital not just for Edinburgh but also Midlothian and East Lothian, and is the headquarters of NHS Lothian, making it a centric focus for Edinburgh and its hinterland. The Royal Edinburgh Hospital specialises in mental health; it is situated in Morningside. The Royal Hospital for Sick Children is located in Sciennes Road; it is popularly known as the 'Sick Kids'.

Religious communities

The fan vaulted ceiling dominates the interior of St John's Church in central Edinburgh.


The Church of Scotland claims the largest membership of any religious denomination in Edinburgh. Its most important and historical church is St Giles' Cathedral; others include Greyfriars Kirk, Barclay Church, Canongate Kirk and St Andrew's and St George's Church. In the south east of the city is the 12th century Duddingston Kirk. The Church of Scotland Offices are located in Edinburgh, as is the Assembly Hall and New College on The Mound.

The Roman Catholic Church also has a sizeable presence in the city. Its notable structures include St Mary's Cathedral at the top of Leith Walk, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St Patrick's, St. Columba's, St. Peter's and Star of the Sea. The Roman Catholic community in Edinburgh is part of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, which is led by Keith Cardinal O'Brien, considered to be the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.

The Free Church of Scotland (Reformed and Presbyterian) has congregations on the Royal Mile and Crosscauseway; its offices and training college are located on the Mound.

The Scottish Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion. Its centre is the resplendent St Mary's Cathedral, Palmerston Place in the west end.

In addition, there are a number of independent churches situated throughout the city; these churches tend to have a high percentage of student congregants and include Destiny Church, The Rock Elim Church, Charlotte Chapel, Carrubbers Christian Centre, Morningside Baptist Church and Bellevue Chapel.

Other faiths

Edinburgh Central Mosque - Edinburgh's main mosque and Islamic Centre is located on Potterrow on the city's southside, near Bristo Square. It was opened in the late 1990s and the construction was largely financed by a gift from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.[80] The first recorded presence of a Jewish community in Edinburgh dates back to the late 17th century.[citation needed] Edinburgh's Orthodox synagogue is located in Salisbury Road, which was opened in 1932 and can accommodate a congregation of 2000. A Liberal congregation also meets in the city. There is also a Sikh Gurdwara and Hindu Mandir in the city which are both located in the Leith district. Edinburgh Buddhist Centre, part of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, is situated by the Meadows.

Notable residents

Scotland has a rich history in science and engineering, with Edinburgh contributing its fair share of famous names. James Clerk Maxwell, the founder of the modern theory of electromagnetism, was born here and educated at the Edinburgh Academy and University of Edinburgh, as was the engineer and telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell.[81] Other names connected to the city include Max Born, physicist and Nobel laureate; Charles Darwin, the biologist who discovered natural selection; David Hume, a philosopher, economist and historian; James Hutton, regarded as the "Father of Geology"; John Napier inventor of logarithms;[82] chemist and one of the founders of thermodynamics Joseph Black; pioneering medical researchers Joseph Lister and James Young Simpson; chemist and discoverer of the element nitrogen, Daniel Rutherford; mathematician and developer of the maclaurin series, Colin Maclaurin and Ian Wilmut, the geneticist involved in the cloning of Dolly the sheep just outside Edinburgh. The stuffed carcass of Dolly the sheep is now on display in the National Museum of Scotland.

The lighthouse engineering family, the Stevenson family was based in Edinburgh.

Famous authors of the city include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus series of crime thrillers, J. K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, who wrote her first book in an Edinburgh coffee shop (Nicolson's Cafe,[83][84] the Elephant House and Black Medicine), Adam Smith, economist, born in Kirkcaldy, and author of The Wealth of Nations, Walter Scott, the author of famous titles such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe, Robert Louis Stevenson, creator of Treasure Island and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Edinburgh has been home to the actor Sir Sean Connery, famed as the first cinematic James Bond;[85] Ronnie Corbett, a comedian and actor, best known as one of The Two Ronnies;[86] and Dylan Moran, the Irish comedian. Famous city artists include the portrait painters Sir Henry Raeburn, Sir David Wilkie and Allan Ramsay. Historians such as Douglas Johnson and Arthur Marwick had roots here.

The city has produced or been home to musicians that have been extremely successful in modern times, particularly Ian Anderson, frontman of the band Jethro Tull; Wattie Buchan, lead singer and founding member of punk band The Exploited; Shirley Manson, lead singer for the band Garbage; The Proclaimers; the Bay City Rollers; Boards of Canada and Idlewild.

Edinburgh is the hometown of the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, who was born in the city and attended Fettes College;[87] Robin Harper the co-convener of the Scottish Green Party; and John Witherspoon, the only clergyman to sign the United States Declaration of Independence, and later president of Princeton University.[88]

On the more sinister side, famous criminals from Edinburgh's history include Deacon Brodie, pillar of society by day and burglar by night, who is said to have influenced Robert Louis Stevenson's story, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde[89] the murderers Burke and Hare[90] who provided fresh corpses for anatomical dissection by the famous surgeon Robert Knox[91] and Major Weir a notorious warlock.

Twinning arrangements

The City of Edinburgh has entered into 11 international twinning arrangements since 1954.[92] Most of the arrangements are styled as 'Twin Cities', but the agreement with Kraków is designated as a 'Partner City'.[92] The agreement with the Kyoto Prefecture, concluded in 1994, is officially styled as a 'Friendship Link', reflecting its status as the only region to be twinned with Edinburgh.[92]

Country City or municipality Subdivision Date of agreement
 Germany Munich Bavaria 1954
 France Nice Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur 1958
 Italy Florence Tuscany 1964
 New Zealand Dunedin Otago 1974
 Canada Vancouver British Columbia 1977
 USA San Diego California 1977
 Spain Segovia Castile and León 1985
 China Xi'an Shaanxi 1985
 Ukraine Kiev Kiev Oblast 1989
 Denmark Aalborg Nordjylland 1991
 Japan Kyoto Prefecture Kansai 1994
 Poland Kraków Lesser Poland Voivodeship 1995[93]

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  85. ^ "Connery: Bond and beyond". BBC News. 1999-12-21. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  86. ^ Hannah Stephenson (2006-11-04). "I will not say goodnight yet...". Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  87. ^ "Blair's birthplace is bulldozed in Edinburgh". 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  88. ^ W. Frank Craven (1978). "John Witherspoon". Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  89. ^ "Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library". 
  90. ^ "The Worlds of Burke and Hare". 
  91. ^ Rosner, Lisa (2010). The Anatomy Murders. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0812241916. 
  92. ^ a b c "Twin and Partner Cities". City of Edinburgh Council. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  93. ^ "Kraków otwarty na świat". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Edinburgh is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
Holyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace

Edinburgh (Gaelic: Dùn Èideann; [1]) is the capital of Scotland located in the Central Belt region of the country. With a population of approximately 450,000 (1 million in the city region), "Auld Reekie" (Edinburgh) manages to combine both ancient and modern in a uniquely Scottish atmosphere. Watched over by the imposing castle - the symbol of the city - Edinburgh combines medieval relics, Georgian grandeur and a powerful layer of modern life with contemporary avant-garde. In Edinburgh, medieval palaces rub shoulders with the best of modern architecture, Gothic churches with amazing museums and galleries. Scotland's throbbing night-life centre, Edinburgh - "the Athens of the North" - is also a feast for the mind and the senses, playing host to great restaurants, shops and an unequaled programme of city festivals throughout the year. Hogmanay - the Scottish New Year - kicks off the festivities, which culminate in the high summer with the Tattoo, the International and the Fringe, amongst many others.

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh were listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1995. In 2004, Edinburgh became the first member of the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative when it was designated a City of Literature.

In a 2009 poll by YouGov, Edinburgh was voted the most desirable city to live in the UK.

Edinburgh districts
Edinburgh districts
Entrance to Edinburgh Castle
Entrance to Edinburgh Castle
Railbridge on the Firth of Forth, an engineering marvel constructed in 1890
Railbridge on the Firth of Forth, an engineering marvel constructed in 1890
  • The Old Town— Edinburgh's medieval heart along the Royal Mile, which runs from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. Most of the really famous sites are in this area.
  • The New Town— The other half of the city centre is the Georgian (late 18th century) New Town. The commercial heart of the city, this is what shopaholics make a beeline for.
  • Stockbridge and Canonmills— Exclusive neighbourhood to the north of the New Town, some interesting independent shopping plus the most relaxing spot in the city - the Royal Botanic Garden.
  • Leith— Edinburgh's independent-minded port area is a destination in its own right.
  • Edinburgh/East— The beach district of Portobello and the historic village of Duddingston both lie in the east of the city.
  • Edinburgh/South— A popular part of town for students, so there are plenty of interesting places to eat and drink. Further out is Edinburgh's Outdoor Playground of the Pentland Hills, and the intriguing Roslin Chapel.
  • Edinburgh/West— Edinburgh's excellent zoo is here, plus the temple of sport that is Murrayfield rugby stadium.
  • South Queensferry— On the north-western fringe of the city, site of the contrasting engineering marvels that are the Forth Bridges (one road and one rail). Quite a few hotels here and with good transport links to the city centre it can be a good base for visitors.


Edinburgh is on the east coast of Scotland's central Lowlands, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. Edinburgh's landscape is the product of ancient volcanism (both the Castle crag and Arthur's Seat are the eroded plugs of volcanoes) and more recent glaciation (carving out valleys south of the castle and the old Nor'Loch, presently the site of the Princes Street Gardens). Impress the locals by knowing that Princes Street is the correct spelling (dedicated plurally and not possessively for King George III's sons - hence the absence of an apostrophe). Don't make the mistake of pronouncing it Princess Street - though many of the locals won't know the difference! And watch out for these two commonly mis-pronounced streets as well: Cockburn (coe-burn) and Buccleuch (buh-clue) are nearly always gotten wrong, to the amusement of the locals.


Edinburgh's historic center is bisected by Princes Street Gardens, a broad swathe of parkland in the heart of city. Southwards of the gardens is the castle, perched on top of an extinct volcanic crag, and flanked by the medieval streets of the Old Town following the Royal Mile along the ridge to the east. To the north of Princes Street Gardens lies Princes Street itself - Edinburgh's main shopping boulevard - and the Georgian period New Town, built after 1766 on a regular grid plan.


Edinburgh has been the royal capital of Scotland since 1437.


Edinburgh is noted as a long-lived literary capital of the English-speaking world.

The great Scottish historical novelist Sir Walter Scott was born in the city and has his great monument on Princes Street. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also a native of Edinburgh.

More recently, Edinburgh has variously been the home and inspiration for such well-known modern writers as Muriel Spark (author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Irvine Welsh (author of the 1993 novel Trainspotting, set in the gritty district of Leith), Ian Rankin (a crime writer best known for the Inspector Rebus series, set in Edinburgh), Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Lady Detective's Agency and several novels set in the Scottish capital) and J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame.


Edinburgh's climate is most comfortable for the traveler from May to September. That said, the weather in Edinburgh is always changeable and visitors should expect both sunshine and rain, whatever the season. Edinburgh tends to get windy while it rains as well, so be sure to pack either a raincoat or a sturdy umbrella! Many a tourist has abandoned an inverted umbrella due to the persistant, whipping winds. Summer, the main festival season, combines long daylight hours with lengthy evenings (being so far north, it rarely gets dark before 10 or 11 at night!). Winter can be bitterly cold, with short daylight hours, but Edinburgh has an abundance of indoor attractions and activities that make the cold winter days fly by. In other words, bring a coat big lad, will ya?

The Hub on the Royal Mile, the former Tollbooth Kirk is the headquarters of the Edinburgh International Festival
The Hub on the Royal Mile, the former Tollbooth Kirk is the headquarters of the Edinburgh International Festival

When to go

Travellers should note that Edinburgh becomes overwhelmingly crowded (accommodation-wise) during the main festival periods of high summer (August to early September) and Hogmanay (around New Year's Day / 1 January). Visitors at these times should plan well ahead (even more than a year in advance!) for booking central accommodation and event tickets at these times.

Get in

By plane

Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) [2], is situated some 10 miles west of the city. The airport offers a wide range of domestic and international flights to Europe and North America. Many visitors to the city arrive via a connecting flight from London. Edinburgh Airport does, however, have a daily flight to and from Newark (Continental Airlines), a short drive from New York City and also a daily flight to and from Atlanta, Georgia and New York City (Delta Air Lines). In comparison to most Scottish airports, Edinburgh's European flight network is well developed, with frequent scheduled flights to destinations such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Helsinki, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm,Warsaw and Zurich.

A dedicated airport bus service, Airlink Express [3], service 100, runs from outside the terminal building to Edinburgh city center (Waverley Bridge) at least every 10 minutes until 00.22 and then every 30 minutes until 04.45. The bus leaves from Waverley Bridge (opposite entrance to train station) for the Airport at the same intervals 24/7. Adult fares are £3.50 for a single, £6 for an open return and the journey takes an average 25 mins.

A cheaper alternative is the ordinary Lothian Buses service 35, which runs from the bus stance outside the arrivals building to Ocean Terminal via the Royal Mile/High Street. Although much slower, and with less provision for baggage than the 100, it is far cheaper at £1.20 single, and also allows the use of day tickets and other options that work on all Lothian Buses services - a great option for getting straight to the city if travelling light, or on a budget.

Car parks serving Edinburgh Airport
Address On/Off Airport Distance / Transfer Time Security Park Mark®
[4] Award
Additional Information
Edinburgh NPC Long Term Parking
Edinburgh Long Stay,Gogar Bridge Road,Edinburgh Airport,Edinburgh,EH12 9DN
5 minutes transfer time
Manned presence around the clock, regular foot patrols and CCTV surveillance
Regrettably no trailers are permitted in the car park
Edinburgh Scotpark
Edinburgh Scotpark,49 Eastfield Road,Edinburgh Airport,Edinburgh,EH28 8NB
4-5 minute transfer
High security fencing, comprehensive CCTV surveillance and regular patrols
Regrettably, no trailers are allowed in the Scotpark


By train

The main railway station in Edinburgh is called Waverley Railway Station [5] and is an attraction in itself. First opened in 1846, Waverley Station was rebuilt 1892-1902. It lies between the old town and modern Edinburgh, adjacent to Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens, where it serves over 14 million people per annum. Despite various refurbishments, the past still survives in the station's elaborate, domed ceiling where wreathed cherubs leap amid a wealth of scrolled ironwork.

The "charged by the piece" left luggage service at Waverley railway station is much more expensive than the lockers a few blocks away at the Edinburgh Bus station on St. Andrew's Square.

Waverley Station is a major hub for the Scottish rail network, operated by First Scotrail [6]. There is an hourly service to Dundee and Aberdeen, and two hourly to Inverness. Shuttle trains to Glasgow (Queen Street) run every 15 minutes throughout the day, dropping to 30 minutes on evenings and Sundays, and the journey takes 45-50 minutes. Some services run to Glasgow Central instead, but run via Lanarkshire with many more stops. Certain National Express East Coast trains originating from London also continue to Glasgow Central - again your ticket will be valid on these services but the journey will take slightly longer than the shuttle.

The vast majority of train services to Edinburgh from London (and most of eastern England) are operated by East Coast (which replaced National Express on 14 November 2009) [7]; an hourly service leaves from London Kings Cross station throughout the day until 6PM. Journey time is between 4hrs 20min and 5 hours. The cheapest tickets (£16 to £90) are advance single (one-way) fares for a fixed train time bought 2-12 weeks in advance, and the flexible Saver Ticket (roughly £100 single or return) is not valid at some times to/from London. Virgin Trains [8] operate a once daily service from London Euston via the West Coast route and a 2 hourly service from Birmingham New Street with an average journey time of 4hrs 4 mins.

For a different travel experience from London, try the Caledonian Sleeper service [9], which runs every night from London's Euston Station except Saturdays, and the journey takes approximately 8 hours. Bear in mind that if you are travelling alone you may have to share the sleeping compartment with a stranger of the same sex. Tickets can be booked in the usual manner at any main line railway station in Britain, and the cost of a return journey to Edinburgh from London varies from around £100 for two one-way "Advance" tickets rising to the full open return fare of £165. You can also travel for around £23 one-way in a seated carriage or £95 return (full fare). BritRail passes can be used to reserve tickets on the sleeper trains.

However, heavily discounted one-way tickets on the Caledonian Sleeper known as "Bargain Berths" are available for £19, £29, £39 or £49 depending on how early you book, but confusingly these cannot be bought from a railway station in the normal way - they can only be purchased from the First ScotRail website and you will be emailed an e-ticket (similar to an airline) which you must print out and show to the conductor at the platform before getting on the train.

Trains to other English cities are operated by Arriva Cross Country (services via York, Birmingham and central England to the south coast and West Country) and Trans-Pennine Express (services to Manchester via Carlisle) from Waverley.

There is a second railway station in the center of Edinburgh, Haymarket, which is around a mile to the west of Waverley. If you are arriving from the north, west or south-west, Haymarket is a better station to exit at if you are heading straight for the airport, zoo, or modern art gallery, or if your accommodation is on the west side of town, as you will avoid the city center traffic and it is on the major west-bound bus routes.

Both Waverley and Haymarket stations had ticket barriers installed in 2004 so you will need to purchase a ticket in order to enter or leave the platform area. If you get on a train at an unmanned station you can purchase a ticket from the conductor on the train, or from a ticket inspector near the barrier gates - there is usually a long queue during the peak rush hour period. The barrier gates will retain single journey tickets, so be sure to get a receipt if you need one. If you have the larger kind of ticket that does not fit in the barrier you will need to go to the gate which is manned by a member of staff who will check your ticket and let you through. If you do not have a ticket, you will need to go to the ticket office behind the barrier (platform 14 at Waverley) to buy one.

Edinburgh Park is a new train station that opened in 2004, which is some miles from the city center, serves business parks and "The Gyle" shopping center. It should be noted that direct trains from Glasgow do not call at this station. You must either change in Linlithgow or, travel past Edinburgh Park and change at Haymarket to double back, on a train bound for Dunblane or Bathgate.

By road

By road, Edinburgh can be reached most immediately from the M8 (west from Glasgow), M9 (north-west from Stirling), A90/M90 (north from Perth and Dundee), the A1 (south-east from Newcastle upon Tyne and north-east England) and A701/M74 (south-west from Carlisle and north-western England).

From London the fastest route to Edinburgh is the M1 motorway, followed by the A1(M) and the A1 - a journey of 398 miles and approximately 8-9 hrs driving time.

Edinburgh is not a particularly car friendly city with the myriad of one-way streets and the Old Town's medieval layout, and the dedication of parking wardens to ticketing anything that is not moving is legendary. In addition, the works to install the new tram line will be ongoing until 2011, and have caused numerous road closures and diversions throughout the City Centre and Leith. Finding parking can be difficult, though there are several multi-story car parks in the city center (Castle Terrace for the West End, try St James Center at the East End (access from York Place). It is often cheaper and quicker to use the new Park and Ride systems now in place on all approaches to the City, (National Park and Ride Directory is available online [10]), so it's even easy to just abandon your car on the outskirts. For visitors arriving from the M8, follow directions for Edinburgh Airport to reach Ingliston Park and Ride; this facility is half a mile from the airport terminal.

By bus

The city is served by the major inter-city bus companies from around Scotland and England. Most long distance services start and end in the Bus Station in St Andrew Square. The left luggage lockers at the Bus station are much cheaper than the "charged by the piece" left luggage service at Waverly train station.

  • Norfolk Line [11] run a thrice-weekly service from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Rosyth in Fife, only 12 miles from Edinburgh. The crossing takes approximately 20 hours. Ferry foot passengers should make use of the free shuttle bus service to Inverkeithing Rail Station from where there are four trains per hour to Edinburgh.
  • A ferry/bus service from Belfast to Edinburgh can be booked through Citylink [12].
  • Passenger cruise liners are a common sight in summer at Leith Docks, where a new terminal has been built next to the Ocean Terminal shopping/leisure complex.

Get around

Edinburgh is a compact city - most of the sights and major tourist attractions are within the Old Town and New Town and are no further than a 15 minute walk apart. Walking along elegant or atmospheric streets is one of the pleasures of the city. There are however, a number of hills to be navigated; for example from Princes Street, up The Mound towards Edinburgh Castle requires some significant legwork, but it's worth it for the views en route.

The city's public transport system is relatively poor next to London and other major European cities - being heavily reliant on buses, which have to navigate the city's sometimes bustling traffic. Congestion charging similar to that found in the English capital has been proposed but was defeated at a referendum. Equally, the suburban railway network is very sparse compared to that of Glasgow, although there have been some slow and steady improvements over the years with work now begun on a tram system linking the city centre to Leith and to the airport. The tram line is due to open in 2011.

By bus

Edinburgh has two main bus companies, Lothian [13], which is run by the Edinburgh City Council, and First [14], a private operator. These two companies share the same bus stops, and the fares are identical, but the route numbers are not interchangeable, and neither are the tickets.

Lothian Bus in the new livery, at Canonmills
Lothian Bus in the new livery, at Canonmills

Lothian are the larger operator in the city itself whose distinctive burgundy and cream colored buses had become as much a symbol of Edinburgh as its buildings. For some reason Lothian see this as a negative and this livery has now almost completely been phased in favour of the new colours which are predominantly white, with red and gold rhombuses of different sizes along the sides. Some of the more important routes also have different colours on the front and roof of the bus, to help passengers spot their required bus. Single tickets are £1.20 (70p for under 16s) and are only valid for one journey (i.e. if you have to change bus you have to buy another £1.20 ticket!). Bear in mind that bus drivers will not give change, so save up those £1 and 20p coins. Some busy stops on main routes have red ticket machines, which sell single tickets for £1.10, as well as day tickets (no discount). The machines don't give change either.

Lothian offer an all-day ticket for £3 (as of January 09) that covers all transport (except sight-seeing, airport express and night services). The all-day ticket is a great way to see the city without the expense of the tour buses, as you can get on and off all Lothian buses for the whole day! Kids day tickets are generously discounted to £2.40.

Lothian are in the process of rolling out their BusTracker[15] service. This provides "real time" bus service information. Electronic signs are being installed along major routes, showing the wait time for the next bus on each service at that stop. Online, it's possible to view the information for every bus stop in the city, not just those stops with electronic signs. Every stop has a unique 8 figure code, which are listed on the website and also displayed at the stop. You can access Bus Tracker via a mobile phone at An free iPhone app named "Edinbus" provides similar information with route maps and a stop locator.

First [16] buses mostly service further-flung areas to the east and west of the city.

Edinburgh Coach Lines now (since July 2009) operate service 13 [17], a bus which will be of use to many visitors as it is the only route serving the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Dean Gallery. Single tickets are in line with Lothian fares at £1.20 for adults and 70p for children (U16). Lothian season tickets and day tickets are not valid on service 13.

There are also four companies that operate sightseeing buses [18], all of which are now owned by Lothian Buses. All have a policy that a sightseeing ticket is valid for 24 hours, so you can get around central Edinburgh quite handily using the sightseeing buses. Each sightseeing bus follows a different route around the city, but they all start and finish at Waverley Bridge, adjacent to Waverley Station on Princes Street.

By train

A small number of suburban rail routes run from Waverley station, most of the stations lying in the south west and south east suburbs of the city, and are useful for reaching the outer suburbs and towns of Balerno, Currie, Wester Hailes, Portobello, Prestonpans, Musselburgh and a useful link to Edinburgh Park which is adjacent to the Gyle shopping complex. Services to North Berwick, Bathgate or Glasgow Central will make stops at these various stations. Note that standard National Rail fares apply to these trains - there are no credible daily season ticket options available. Check at the station before you board!

The "charged by the piece" left luggage service at Waverly train station is far more expensive than the storage lockers a few blocks away at the Bus station on St Andrew's square.

By car

Central Edinburgh is a nightmare to drive in, particularly the Old Town with its tangle of medieval streets with their associated one way systems. The New Town fares slightly better, but the scourge of the city is the infamous parking attendants, locally known as "Blue Meanies" who mercilessly swoop on vehicles which may have only been illegally parked for a matter of minutes. Edinburgh operates a "controlled parking zone" - on-street parking is illegal within a large central area (see map [19]) without a residents parking permit. Parking fines are £40 and vehicles parked in an obstructive manner are liable to be towed away with a £150 release fee to be paid for its retrieval. Even the suburbs (especially Morningside, The Grange, The Meadows) have little parking available (and on-street parking is illegal within the controlled parking zone). Take a bus and/or walk. Leith seems to fare a bit better for parking, but there's no guarantee. Park and Ride facilities provide access to the city center [20]. Additionally, drivers should take heed of tram construction currently affecting Haymarket and the west end of Princes Street, although most of Princes Street is now clear.

By foot

Edinburgh is a beautiful city that's full of history. There is no better way to see it than to walk.

  • Edinburgh walking directions [21] can be planned online with the walking route planner.

By tram

There is a single tram line currently being built in Edinburgh that will link Leith on the east to Edinburgh Airport on the west, passing through the New Town in the city centre. This is due to be finished by 2011. As it will link the airport, zoo, both main train stations, Princes Street, Leith and the Cruise Liner terminal it may be helpful for some visitors to the city. However, buses are likely to remain the main and most practical method of public transport in Edinburgh for the foreseeable future.

By taxi

Like most major British cities, Edinburgh offers a choice between Black Cabs, carrying up to 5 passengers, which can be hailed on the street, and minicabs, which must be pre-booked. Black cabs display an orange light above the windscreen to indicate that they are available to hire. It's usually quite easy to find a cab in and around the city centre, and on the main radial routes running out of the centre. There are also Taxi Ranks dotted around the city, where black cabs will line up to be hired. Taxi Rank locations include:

  • Outside the main entrances of Haymarket and Waverley train stations.
  • Opposite the Caledonian Hotel and Sheraton Hotel (both near the West End), The George Hotel (east end of George Street) and the Crowne Plaza Hotel (High Street, Royal Mile).
  • St Patrick's Square, off South Bridge
  • Leith Bridge, close to The Shore and Commercial Quay, in Leith

The main taxi firms operating within the city are:

  • Central Radio Taxis (Black Cabs) - 0131 229 2468
  • City Cabs (Black Cabs) - 0131 228 1211
  • Festival Cars (minicabs - mostly saloon cars but also have people carriers with up to 8 seats. Let them know the number in your party when you book) - 0131 552 1777


For the budget-conscious and/or avid sightseer, the Edinburgh Pass [22] is well worth bearing in mind, offering a maximum of £155 worth of entry to 27 of Edinburgh's top attractions, a 90-page guidebook, retail and restaurant offers and discounts. All this, as well as free public transport around the city and airport transfers. A one-day pass costs £24, two days £36, three days £48. Can be purchased online or at Tourist Information Centers.

Cannons on the northern defenses of Edinburgh Castle
Cannons on the northern defenses of Edinburgh Castle

If you are staying in Scotland a little while, it might be worth getting a Historic Scotland Membership [23]. Passes last for a year, and cost about £40 for adults and £30 for concessions (including full-time students). They provide unlimited access to about 70 paying sites in Scotland, including Edinburgh's Castle and Craigmillar Castle. You also get a lot of discounts for their shops, a quarterly magazine, and 50% off all English, Welsh and Manx historical sites.

  • Edinburgh Doors Open Day [24] is an annual event, co-ordinated by the Cockburn Association, where many important and/or historic buildings across the city open up their doors to the public at no charge. Many of the buildings are not normally accessible so this can present a unique opportunity to see some of the city's lesser-known architectural marvels. It usually takes place on the last weekend in September. Brochures with details of the participating sites, opening times, access details etc., can be picked up from city libraries in the run up to the day, or downloaded from the website.
  • Edinburgh Castle, [25]. Edinburgh Castle, home to the Edinburgh Tattoo, is a magnificently situated royal fortress located on one of the highest points in the city. The castle has been continuously in use for 1000 years and is in excellent condition. (Old Town)  edit
  • Abbey and Palace of Holyroodhouse [26]— The Palace is a royal residence, and hosts the Queen's Gallery containing a collection of art from the Royal Collection. (Old Town)
  • St Giles' Cathedral [27]— The historic City Church of Edinburgh is also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh and takes its name from the city's patron saint. (Old Town)
  • Mary King's Close [28]— Warriston's Close (opposite St Giles' Cathedral), open daily except Christmas Day - a slice of Edinburgh's medieval history, preserved since being closed over in the 18th century - watch out for the haunting. (Old Town)
  • Gladstone's Land [29]— In the Lawnmarket at the top of the Royal Mile. It is a 17th century Old Town tenement (known as a 'Land') decorated with period furniture. It has an impressive painted ceiling. (Old Town)
  • Greyfriars Kirkyard is a very old graveyard in Old Town off the Southwest corner of George IV Bridge, made famous by Disney as the home of Greyfriars Bobby. (Old Town)
  • Camera Obscura [30]— Castle Hill. Over 150 years old, the Camera Obscura focuses light from the top of the tower onto a large dish in a dark room below, allowing a 360 degree view of all of Edinburgh! (Old Town)
  • The Scottish Parliament [31], (eastern end of the Royal Mile, opposite the Palace of Holyrood House)— A unique building designed by the Spanish (Catalan) architect Enric Miralles. It is necessary to get (free) tickets to watch the Parliament in session from the Public Gallery. (Old Town)
  • Scott Monument, East Princes Street Gardens. Built in 1846 to commemorate the life of Sir Walter Scott after his death in 1832, the Gothic spire monument allows you to climb 200 ft above the city center to enjoy fantastic views.(New Town) Admission £3.00.  edit
  • The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Terminal, open Jan-Mar & Nov-Dec 10AM-5PM, Apr-Jun & Sep & Oct 10.00AM-5.30PM, Jul 9.30AM-5.30PM, Aug 9.30AM-6PM last entry 1.5 hrs before closing, closed Christmas and New Year’s Days, admission adult £10, seniors £8.75, child 5-17 yrs and students with ID £8.75, children under 5 free - decommissioned from royal use in recent years and voted one of Edinburgh’s best new attractions, Britannia offers visitors the chance to tour the royal apartments and view a selection of the many gifts offered to the royals by dignitaries worldwide. (Leith)
Penguin Parade
Penguin Parade
  • Royal Botanic Garden [32], Inverleith Row (East Gate) / Arboretum Place (West Gate), Stockbridge. Very impressive gardens with a collection of interesting plants. Great place to wander around on a sunny day, or to sit and have a picnic. Free entry to the gardens, entry to the glasshouses costs £3.50 adults, £3 concessions, £1 children. (Stockbridge and Canonmills)
  • Edinburgh Zoo [33]. Watch the world famous Penguin Parade. (Edinburgh/West)
  • Rosslyn Chapel Take bus number 15 to see this chapel, featured in "The Da Vinci Code" novel and film. (Edinburgh/South)
  • Museum of Scotland [34] and Royal Museum [35], Chambers Street, Old Town tel 0131 247 4422. fax 0131 220 4819. typetalk 18001 0131 247 4422. email The museum mixes innovative modern architecture with the best of Scotland's heritage. The Royal Museum has a magnificent airy Victorian atrium now with the Millennium Clock at one end - arrange to be there when it is chiming. Exhibits in the Museum of Scotland include Scottish pottery and weapons from the Roman era and the Renaissance. Opening hours are 10AM - 5PM Monday to Saturday with extended opening to 8PM on Tuesdays; and 12PM - 5PM Sundays. Admission is free.
  • The National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, EH2 2EL, New Town tel. +44 (0)131 624 6200, [36] holds much of Scotland's fine artwork and carries exhibitions that change seasonally. The new Western Link was opened in 2004 with an entrance from Princes Street Gardens. It joins The National Gallery with the neighbouring Scottish Academy gallery and gives Scotland it's first world class art space.
  • The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 74 Belford Road on the western fringe of the New Town, +44 131 624 6200, [37] contains a fine selection of modern art from Scotland and other countries.
  • The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market St., behind the Edinburgh Waverley Rail Station, Old Town [38]. Aims to find the most appropriate way to bring artists and audiences together. It is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity. Opening hours M-Sa 11AM-6PM; Su 12PM-5PM. Admission free.
  • There are a number of independent galleries in the St Stephen Street area of Stockbridge


Refer to the district articles for listings.

Holyrood Palace from the Scottish Parliament
Holyrood Palace from the Scottish Parliament
  • Walk along the Water of Leith, a small river that meanders through Edinburgh, providing a peaceful haven from the busy city. Check out the Leith or Stockbridge and Canonmills sections of the route.
  • Edinburgh has an excellent theatre and concert life. Europe's largest theatre, the 3000-seat Edinburgh Playhouse (top of Leith Walk, New Town) hosts major West End shows. The Festival Theatre (Old Town) frequently hosts opera and ballet, and the Usher Hall (Lothian Road) has weekly orchestral concerts all year round with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The Queen's Hall (South Clerk Street, (Old Town) is home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. For a cheaper option, the excellent Bedlam Theatre (Bristo Place, Old Town) regularly puts on good student theatre and is the home to Scotland's oldest improvised comedy troupe, The Improverts.
  • Experience traditional Folk Music at one of the pubs in the Old Town or Leith which host regular sessions.
  • Suntrap Garden. The Suntrap Garden is a three-acre garden comprises of many gardens within a single garden, including Italian, Rock, Peat and Woodland.  edit


Edinburgh in the summer becomes "festival city" when a huge number of major national and international arts festivals are hosted by the city. Most of these occur virtually simultaneously in August. These cater for a wide variety of interests and include:

  • The Edinburgh International Festival [39]— The original that spawned all the rest. Founded in 1947 and still seen as more "high-brow" than any of its offspring. Surprisingly, tickets are often priced more reasonably than for many Fringe shows.
  • The Edinburgh Military Tattoo [40]— One of the iconic images of Edinburgh for millions worldwide is the yearly Tattoo, kilted pipers skirling below the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. Although tickets sell out well in advance, persevering individuals are likely to find one or two tickets still for sale due to cancellations...just be prepared to ask, ask, and ask again!
  • The Edinburgh Fringe Festival [41]— As the name might suggest, this Festival developed on the "Fringe" of the main International Festival and offers more alternative performances, with an emphasis on comedy and avant-garde; it is now the largest arts festival in the world.
  • The Edge Festival [42] (formerly known as "T on the Fringe")— Music festival which takes place alongside the Fringe Festival.
  • Edinburgh Hogmanay. [43] A night of fun, fireworks and singing in Princess Street gardens.
  • The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. [44]
  • The Edinburgh International Book Festival [45]— Takes place in a temporary village of marquees at Charlotte Square (West End of George Street, New Town).
  • The Edinburgh International Film Festival [46]— Now moved to June from its former slot in August, so that it no longer clashes with all the others! Centred around the Filmhouse Cinema on Lothian Road, though other cinemas take part too.
  • The Edinburgh International Television Festival [47]— Predominantly a "closed shop" for industry professionals only.
  • The Edinburgh Mela [48]— Multicultural festival held in Leith.
  • Imaginate Festival [49]— Every May/June, an international festival of children's theatre.
  • Edinburgh International Science Festival [50]— Takes place annually in March or April. Emphasis on "hands-on" science.

One important thing to decide when planning a trip to Edinburgh is whether you wish to go at festival time, which runs from early August through to mid-September. Hotel rooms in and around the city are noticeably much more expensive then, and you will need to book well (at least six months!) in advance.


Edinburgh in the winter festive season is also huge: whole sections of central Edinburgh are roped off and accessible only by ticket for the Scottish New Year Celebrations known as Hogmanay [51], of which the Edinburgh Hogmanay is easily the largest in Scotland.

  • Go to the cinema. Edinburgh has a number of cinemas covering mainstream, foreign language and arthouse films.
    • Cineworld, 130 Dundee St, 0871 200 2000. Mainly mainstream and arthouse. This is about 20 mins on foot from Princes Street and a Number 1 34 or 35 bus will take you.
    • Cameo Cinema, Home St, 0131 228 4141. Mainstream & alternative films.
    • Dominion, Newbattle Terrace, 0131 447 4771. Mainstream & alternative films. One screen is full of two- and three-person leather sofas for the ultimate cinema-going experience.
    • Filmhouse, Lothian Rd, 0131 228 2688. Arthouse & foreign language films.
    • Odeon Cinema, Lothian Rd, 0870 50 50 007.
    • Vue, Leith St, 08702 40 60 20.
  • See a 6 Nations Championship [52] rugby match at Murrayfield Stadium [53]. The 6 Nations is effectively the European Championship of rugby, taking place every spring between Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy and England. The teams play each other once per year, and alternate home and away games. In even-numbered years, England and France visit Murrayfield, while in odd-numbered years, Scotland host Wales, Ireland and Italy. On the weekend of a home match, Edinburgh is absolutely full to bursting, and the atmosphere is like nothing else, especially if Wales or Ireland are in town. If you plan to visit in February or March, be sure to check the fixtures and book accommodation well in advance if your trip coincides with a home match (Edinburgh/West).
  • Take in a football match at Hibernian F.C.'s Easter Road Stadium (Leith), or Heart of Midlothian FC's Tynecastle Park (Edinburgh/West).
  • Catch a match of the city's professional rugby club, Edinburgh Rugby, at Murrayfield (Edinburgh/West).
  • Catch an American Football match at the Edinburgh Wolves's home venue of Meadowbank Stadium (Edinburgh/East).
  • For a different type of rugby, come to Edinburgh when the Edinburgh Sevens Rugby Festival [54] is held at Murrayfield—a weekend typically at the end of May. For background, sevens is a version of rugby union with 7 players per side instead of the normal 15, and generally sees fast-paced, action-packed games. Every year, the IRB Sevens World Series travels the world, pitting the world's top teams in rugby sevens against each other—and Edinburgh is the circuit's final stop each season.


Edinburgh is host to a number of higher and further education organisations including 4 Universities. The following offer summer schools of a week or more on topics such as creative writing or printmaking:

  • The University of Edinburgh [55] - A prestigious university over 400 years old.
  • Edinburgh College of Art [56].

Edinburgh is a popular destination for language students, looking to learn English, or build on their existing English language skills. Most schools offer a "homestay" option where accommodation is with a local family, which can be a great introduction to Scottish life. Language schools in the city include:

  • EAC School, 45 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, 0131 477 7570 (, fax: 0131 477 7571), [57]. Large, well-established school, with premises on Frederick Street and Queen Street, in the city centre. Offers courses for adult and junior students.  edit
  • Edinburgh School of English, 271 Canongate, Edinburgh, 0131 557 9200 (, fax: 0131 557 9192), [58]. Great location on the Royal Mile. Caters to both adult and junior students  edit
  • MacKenzie School of English, 6 John's Place, Leith, 0131 555 5315 (, fax: 0131 555 5155), [59]. New (2008) school in a beautifully refurbished Victorian building on the edge of Leith Links. Generally catering to secondary school aged students.  edit


Refer to individual district articles for detailed listings.

  • Princes Street (New Town), north of the castle, is the main shopping street in Edinburgh. It runs through the middle of the city from the train station to Lothian Road. It contains large chain stores such as HMV for music, Topshop and H&M for clothes, tourist oriented shops, and department stores.
  • There are many more upmarket shops, restaurants and bars on George Street (New Town), which runs parallel to Princes Street.
  • Cockburn Street (pronounced "co-burn") in the (Old Town) has many small alternative shops selling music, novelty toys, underground clothing, body piercings and spiritual items.
  • The Royal Mile (Old Town), especially the higher end near the castle, has many tourist-oriented shops selling Scottish souvenirs from postcards to whisky and kilts.
  • Victoria Street (Old Town) is a nice street which is well worth a visit. You can find colourful buildings and interesting boutiques which are worth having a look at.
  • Victoria Street also leads onto the Grassmarket (Old Town), a street which gives stunning views of the castle, which dominates right over it, and is also full of interesting and nice shops, as well as several pubs and restaurants. The Grassmarket is definitly well worth visiting.
  • Multrees Walk (also known as The Walk), for high-end labels such as Vidal Sasoon, Armani, Vuitton, Harvey Nichols or Calvin Klein (New Town).
  • Other malls include Princes Mall or St James Mall which are both just off Princes Street, and Ocean Terminal in Leith.
  • Take home a bottle of Scotland's finest export, a single malt whisky.


Edinburgh is a great city for the food lover. There is a vast selection of eateries scattered throughout every part of the city, catering for all tastes, prices and styles - from fast-food to Michelin-starred grandeur. Just be careful around the castle and in the Grassmarket area, where many restaurants are tourist traps. Refer to the District articles for individual listings.

As well as the centre of Edinburgh, it is also worth checking out Leith and the West End when looking for a place to eat.

Rose St, running parallel to Princes St is a pedestrian precinct that has a huge number of pubs offering a variety of pub fare food.

And if you're up to it, be sure to drop by a chippy (fish and chip shop) and experience such Scottish delights as deep fried pizza, deep fried hamburgers, deep fried Black Pudding (a type of blood sausage), deep fried haggis and deep fried Mars bars. Edinburgh chippys are unique in the UK for offering salt'n'sauce as standard in place of the salt'n'vinegar usually provided elsewhere in the country. The sauce is a kind of runny, vinegary version of HP or Daddys style brown sauce. Most chippys will provide vinegar on request if you prefer, but you really should try salt'n'sauce at least once!


There are establishments to suit all tastes scattered throughout every pocket of the city. Be careful, some of the more local pubs can be a little rough around the edges, especially in Leith.

For a non-alcoholic beverage give Scotland's second national drink a try - Irn-Bru . It's a great cure for hangover.

Edinburgh is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

Part of the wall in the lounge of the Whisky Heritage Centre
Part of the wall in the lounge of the Whisky Heritage Centre

As for Scotland's first drink, you will find The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre [60] at the top of The Royal Mile, which offers an interactive "tour" of the history and practise of Whisky distilling. This is a good place to go if you want to sample whisky, as they have a very large selection (200+?) at reasonable rates. Older whiskys tend to cost more. The atmosphere is less pub-like than some might like as it tends to be fairly quiet - if you don't fancy the interactive tour and just want to try some whiskys then check the listings for some good whisky pubs. The food is reasonably priced and fairly good.

  • Lots of traditional pubs are all around the city.
  • Many famous traditional pubs on the Grassmarket, Old Town. These pubs are tourist traps and tend to be very popular with visiting stag and hen parties, so locals tend to keep clear.
  • Lots of modern clubs are around Cowgate and Lothian road including Base, Gig and Diva.
  • George Street in the New Town hosts many of Edinburgh's trendier bars
  • George IV Bridge in the Old Town is another trendy style bar area.
  • Other night clubs around the city include Ego, Faith and The Liquid Room.


See the district articles for individual listings.

Edinburgh has been established as a tourist destination for centuries, and so there is a huge choice of accommodation available for travellers. If you're planning a visit during festival time (August), around Christmas and New Year, or on the weekend of a Scotland home game in the 6-nations Rugby [61] (Mar/Apr, 2 or 3 matches per year), then you will find that all types of accommodation get booked up well in advance, and a premium may be applied to the room-rate. It's not impossible to get somewhere to stay at short notice at these times, but you won't be able to be fussy and it will probably be expensive.

For those on a budget, there are cheap youth hostels available with prices from £10 and above. The private/independent hostels center around the Cowgate area, the lower Royal Mile and its side streets. The hostels of the HI affiliated Scottish Youth Hostel Association [62] can be booked on-line and are an especially good deal during summer, when the SYHA rents student accommodation as summer hostels: Single rooms in the city center for a very modest price.

There are Guest Houses and small hotels dotted around almost every part of the city, however there are high concentrations in 2 areas, namely around Newington Road and Minto Street on the South side, and on Pilrig Street and Newhaven Road in Leith. Both areas are within a brisk 15-20 minute walk of the city centre and both have excellent round-the-clock bus services. If arriving in town without having booked accomodation, it may be worth heading for one or other of these areas and looking out for the "Vacancies" signs, though probably not during the festival or around Hogmanay.

Some of the Guest Houses and even hotels can be booked for as little as the hostels at certain times of year, while more upmarket accommodation ranges from boutique B&B's, with just a few rooms, lovingly run by a family, to world-renowned large 5-star hotels.



Multiple internet cafés and hotspot venues exist throughout Edinburgh (see district articles for details).

  • Many of the municipal libraries[63] throughout the city have PCs with free internet access. Some of the most prominent are listed in the relevant district articles.
  • The city's largest independent internet cafe is Mossco Internet Cafe, located near Haymarket Station (18 West Maitland Street), [64].
  • easyInternetcafe [65] 58 Rose Street (New Town), central branch of the bright orange chain (also in St James Centre and Stockbridge).

Stay safe

In general Edinburgh can be considered a safe destination for visitors, but like all other major cities, it pays to remain attentive and use some common sense.

  • Try not to get too drunk: if you have had too much, it might be wise to get a taxi home. There are taxi ranks all around the City Centre.
  • Night buses [66] (which depart from Waverley Bridge next to the train station) are affordable and safe alternatives to taxis, but stay on the lower deck. Night buses cost £3.00 for unlimited travel on a single night, so for groups of three or more travelling moderate distances, taxis can be more cost effective for single journeys.
  • Like most other cities, there are some rundown areas. For its size, Edinburgh does not have many, but there are still some suburbs that are better avoided by anyone unfamiliar with the area such as the following:
    • Niddrie and Craigmillar in the south-east of the city.
    • Sighthill and Wester Hailes in the west.
    • Muirhouse and Pilton in the north.



Many countries run consulates in Edinburgh [67]

  • Australia, 93 George Street, 0131 243 2589.  edit
  • Canada, 50 Lothian Road, 0131 473 6100.  edit
  • China, 55 Corstorphine Road, 0131 337 9896 (fax: 0131 337 7866).  edit
  • Denmark, 48 Melville Street, 0131 220 0300.  edit
  • France, 11 Randolph Crescent, 0131 220 0141.  edit
  • Germany, 16 Eglinton Crescent, 0131 337 2323.  edit
  • India, 17 Rutland Square, 0131 229 2144, [68].  edit
  • Ireland, 16 Randolph Cres, 0131 226 7711.  edit
  • Italy, 32 Melville Street, 0131 226 3631 (fax: 0131 226 6260).  edit
  • Japan, 2 Melville Crescent, 0131 225 4777.  edit
  • Monaco, 39-43 Castle Street, 0131 225 1200.  edit
  • New Zealand, 5 Rutland Square, 0131 222 8109.  edit
  • Poland, 2 Kinnear Road, 0131 552 0301.  edit
  • Russia, 58 Melville Street, 0131 225 7098.  edit
  • Spain, 63 North Castle Street, 0131 220 1843.  edit
  • Sweden, 22 Hanover Street, 0131 220 6050.  edit
  • Ukraine, 8 Windsor St, 0131 556 0023.  edit
  • USA, 3 Regent Terrace, 0131 556 8315.  edit
  • Tarvit Launderette, 7-9 Tarvit St (Beside the Kings Theatre in Tollcross), 0131 229 6382. Last wash 6PM Mon and Tues, 4.30PM at all other times.  edit
  • Bendix Self-Service Launderette, 342-346 Leith Wk, 0131 554 2180.  edit
  • Raeburn Launderama, 59 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, 0131 343 3399.  edit
  • Direct Dry Cleaning, 47 Bread Street, 0844 800 3033, [69]. Offer an interesting service for travellers where they will take your suitcase, unpack it, wash all the clothes and repack the case before handing it all back to you.  edit
  • Oscars, 371 Leith Walk, 0131 553 3662. Repairs, Zip replacements, hems shortened etc.  edit
  • Huttons Shoe Repairs, 11 Elgin Terrace (Just off Easter Road near its junction with London Road), 0131 661 6164. Well-established traditional cobblers  edit

Cash Machines

Almost all cash machines in Edinburgh will dispense Scottish bank notes, but there are a few listed here that usually have Bank of England notes, which may be convenient if you are leaving Scotland, (for more info see Scotland#Currency).

  • HSBC, 118 Princes Street, EH2 4AA
  • NatWest, 8 George Street, EH2 2SB
  • Barclays, 1 St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
  • Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, is located 46 miles west of Edinburgh and is easily reached via train (see above), bus (running from the main bus terminal) or via the M8 motorway. Great for shopping and has some excellent museums and galleries.
  • Fife is a predominantly rural county, with some lovely old towns and villages dotted throughout. This is the coast which can be seen across the Firth of Forth from many viewpoints around the city. It's easy to get to via the twin road and rail bridges across the Forth.
    • Dunfermline, previously the capital of Scotland, makes an excellent day trip. It is easily accessed by car via the Forth Road Bridge. There is a half hourly service by train from Waverley station (also stopping at Haymarket).
    • Aberdour— Described as "The Jewel of Fife", Aberdour is a historic and stunningly attractive coastal village 40 minutes drive North of Edinburgh. Aberdour Castle is a must-see, as well as the Blue-Flag awarded beach the Silver Sands. There are also several pubs, restaurants, and boutique shops.
    • St Andrews— Ancient university town, former ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, and home of the Royal and Ancient - the ruling body of Golf.
  • East Lothian, immediately to the east of the city, offers rolling green countryside, golden sandy beaches, dozens of golf courses, and more annual sunshine hours than any other part of the UK. The area has a number of picturesque villages and small towns, including North Berwick, with webcams at the Scottish Seabird Center giving live pictures of thousands of birds on the Bass Rock; Gullane, a mecca for golfers; Musselburgh for ice cream and horse racing; and Dunbar, a pleasant harbour town famous as the birthplace of conservationist John Muir.
    • The Museum of Flight [70] in East Fortune is about 30 minutes drive along the A1 towards Dunbar. It is home to a number of historic aircraft from across the history of flight, including British Airways Concorde G-BOAA. Remember to book in advance to see inside Concorde as these tickets are generally sold out on the day. Another rather good attraction (and well worth the look) is the De-Havilland Comet 4C, a modified version of the Worlds first jetliner.
  • West Lothian is the area to the west of the city. Generally less pretty than its eastern counterpart, but does have a couple of destinations worth the effort.
    • Linlithgow with its Palace, and links to Mary, Queen of Scots, is a great little town for a day trip from Edinburgh. It is a short drive by car on the M9. There is also a frequent service by train from Waverley station (also stopping at Haymarket).
    • Livingston— One of Scotland's New Towns, it is one of Scotland's most popular shopping spots, only a short drive from Edinburgh on the M8 or A70. Plus there are also bus and rail services to the new town.
  • The Falkirk Wheel [71] Built in 2001 to reconnect the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, it is the world's only rotating boat lift. Free entry to the visitor center / cafe / gift shop. Boat trips up on the Wheel take about an hour, and cost £8 adults, £4.25 children, £6.50 concessions. Half hourly buses from Falkirk town center, or a good walk from the Falkirk "Camelon" railway station. You can also cycle along the Union Canal from Edinburgh - the route is part of the National Cycle Network.
  • The Glentress Moutain Biking Centre [72] is the largest mountain biking centre in Scotland, and one of the best in the UK. You can hire a bike and helmet for around £20 a day. Routes are provided for cyclists of different skill levels, and are signposted so you won't get lost. You can get there on the 62 bus from Edinburgh in just over 1 hour (see Traveline Scotland [73] for travel info).
  • The Pentlands Hills Regional Park [74] is a low-lying hill range to the South of Edinburgh, popular with walkers and cyclists. Getting there takes around 30 minutes on the bus, or 45 minutes by bicycle from central Edinburgh. Cyclists are allowed to take bikes on buses run by MacEwans's Coach Services [75] which stop at the Flotterstone Inn. Map of official mountain bike routes [76]. Local walks - look for ones with "Pentland" in title [77]
  • National Cycle Network routes around Edinburgh [78] Edinburgh is well connected to the NCN with a variety of places accessible within a days cycling - Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk, Musselburgh, and Dunbar - all of which have train stations for the return journey. The number 1 route which goes south from Edinburgh to Melrose in the borders and then east to Berwick-upon-Tweed (and then back on the train) can be done in one weekend with a variety of accommodation available for an overnight stay in the historic border town of Melrose.
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    It’s where Miss Brodie enjoyed her prime

and beauty rubs shoulders with tenement grime, where Stevenson roamed the Georgian squares and Scott has that monument with all those stairs, where Connery delivered the milk each day before a licence to kill brought better pay, where each night the castle gets lit up like the Murrayfield crowd at the Calcutta Cup, where you can take a rest on Arthur’s seat when you tire of the throng on Prince’s Street, where the east wind blows across the Braids up the legs of kilties on parades, where the Botanical Gardens are a rival to Kew and the des. res. for fauna is Corstorphine Zoo, where the world comes visiting once a year for cultural treats from slapstick to Lear, where Japanese tourists hunting in packs sample the tartan and whisky macs, where the Royal Mile leads down to a palace almost as grand as that viewed by Alice, where the locals, full of civic pride, scoff at Big Brother up the Clyde. There are few more magical places to be even for Sassenachs just like me.

John C Bird


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EDINBURGH, a city and royal burgh, and county of itself, the capital of Scotland, and county town of Edinburghshire, or Midlothian, situated to the south of the Firth of Forth, 396 m. by rail N. of London. The old Royal Observatory on Calton Hill stands in 55° 57' 23" N. and 12° 43' 05" W. Edinburgh occupies a group of hills of moderate height and the valleys between. In the centre is a bold rock, crowned by the castle, between which and the new town lies a ravine that once contained the Nor' Loch, but is now covered with the gardens of Princes Street. To the east rises Calton Hill (355 ft.) with several conspicuous monuments, the city prison and the Calton cemetery. On the south-east, beyond the Canongate limits, stands the hill of Arthur's Seat (822 ft.). Towards the north the site of the city slopes gently to the Firth of Forth and the port of Leith; while to the south, Liberton Hill, Blackford Hill, Braid Hills and Craiglockhart Hills roughly mark the city bounds, as Corstorphine Hill and the Water of Leith do the western limits. The views of the city and environs from the castle or any of the hills are very beautiful, and it is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque capitals in the world. Its situation, general plan and literary associations suggested a comparison that gave Edinburgh the name of " the modern Athens "; but it has a homelier nickname of " Auld Reekie," from the cloud of smoke (reek) which often hangs over the low-lying quarters.

Table of contents

Chief Buildings

Of the castle, the oldest building is St Margaret's chapel, believed to be the chapel where Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore, worshipped, and belonging at latest to the reign of her youngest son, David I. (1124-1153). Near it is the parliament .and banqueting hall, restored (1889-1892) by the generosity of William Nelson (1817-1887) the publisher, which contains a fine collection of Scottish armour, weapons and regimental colours, while, emblazoned on the windows, are the heraldic bearings of royal and other figures distinguished in national history. Other buildings in the Palace Yard include the apartments occupied by the regent, Mary of Guise, and her daughter Mary, queen of Scots, and the room in which James VI. was born. Here also are deposited the Scottish regalia (" The Honours of Scotland "), with the sword of state presented to James IV. by Pope Julius II., and the jewels restored to Scotland on the death (1807) of Cardinal York, the last of the Stuarts. The arsenal, a modern building. on the west side of the rock, is capable of storing 30,000 stand of arms. In the armoury is a collection of arms of various dates;. and on the Argyll battery stands a huge piece of ancient artillery,. called Mons Meg, of which repeated mention is made in Scottish history. Argyll Tower, in which Archibald, 9th earl of Argyll, spent his last days (1685), was also restored in 1892 by Mr William Nelson.

Holyrood Palace was originally an abbey of canons regular of the rule of St Augustine, founded by David I. in 1128, and the ruined nave of the abbey church still shows parts of the original structure. Connected with this is a part of the royal palace erected by James IV. and James V., including the apartments occupied by Queen Mary, the scene of the murder of Rizzio in 1566. The abbey suffered repeatedly in invasions. It was sacked and burnt by the English under the earl of Hertford in 1544, and again in 1547. In a map of 1544, preserved among the Cotton MSS. in the British Museum, the present north-west tower of the palace is shown standing apart, and only joined to the abbey by a low cloister. Beyond this is an irregular group of buildings, which were replaced at a later date by additions more in accordance with a royal residence. But the whole of this latter structure was destroyed by fire in 1650 while in occupation by the soldiers of Cromwell; and the more modern parts were begun during the Protectorate, and completed in the reign of Charles II. by Robert Milne, after the designs of Sir William Bruce of Kinross. They include the picture gallery, 150 ft. in length, with 106 mythical portraits of Scottish kings, and a triptych (c. 1484) containing portraits of James III. and his queen, which is believed to have formed the altar-piece of the collegiate church of the Holy Trinity, founded by the widowed queen of James II. in 1462, demolished in 1848, and afterwards rebuilt, stone for stone, in Jeffrey Street. The picture gallery is associated with the festive scenes that occurred during the short residence of Prince Charles in 1745; and in it the election of representative peers for Scotland takes place. Escaping from France at the revolution of 1789, the comte d'Artois, afterwards Charles X. of France, had apartments granted for the use of himself and the emigrant nobles of his suite, who continued to reside in the palace till August 1799. When driven from the French throne by the revolution of 1830, Charles once more found a home in the ancient palace of the Stuarts. George IV. was received there in 1822, and Queen Victoria and the prince consort occupied the palace for brief periods on several occasions, and in 1903 Edward VII., during residence at Dalkeith Palace, held his court within its walls. A fountain, after the original design of that in the quadrangle of Linlithgow Palace, was erected in front of the entrance by the prince consort. The royal vault in the Chapel Royal, which had fallen into a dilapidated condition, has been put in order; Clockmill House and grounds have been added to the area of the parade ground, and the abbey precincts generally and the approaches to the King's Park have been improved. With the abolition of imprisonment for debt in 1881 the privileges of sanctuary came to an end.

Parliament House, begun in 1632 and completed in 1640, in which the later assemblies of the Scottish estates took place until the dissolution of the parliament by the Act of Union of 1707, has since been set apart as the meeting-place of the supreme courts of law. The great hall, with its fine open-timbered oak roof, is adorned with a splendid stained-glass window and several statues of notable men, including one (by Louis Francois Roubiliac) of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, lord president of the court of session (1685-1747), and now forms the ante-room for lawyers and their clients. The surrounding buildings, including the courtrooms, the Advocates' and the Signet libraries, are all modern additions. The Advocates' library is the finest in Scotland.

VIII. 30 a Founded in 1682, at the instance of Sir George Mackenzie, king's advocate under Charles II., and then dean of the faculty, it is regarded as the national library, and is one of the five entitled by the Copyright Act to receive a copy of every work published in Great Britain.

The General Register House for Scotland, begun in 1 774 from designs by Robert Adam, stands at the east end of Princes Street. It contains, in addition to the ancient national records, adequate accommodation, in fireproof chambers, for all Scottish title-deeds, entails, contracts and mortgages, and for general statistics, including those of births, deaths and marriages.

The Royal Institution, in the Doric style, surmounted by a colossal stone statue of Queen Victoria by Sir John Steell, formerly furnished official accommodation for the Board of Trustees for Manufactures and the Board of Fishery, and also for the school of art, and the libraries and public meetings of the Royal Society (founded in 1783), and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (founded in 1780). In 1910 it was renamed and appropriated to the uses of the Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which was instituted in 1826, and incorporated by royal charter in 1838, on the model of the Royal Academy in London. It is situated on the Mound close to the National Gallery, of which the prince consort laid the foundation stone in 1850. These collections, especially rich in Raeburn's works, include also Alexander Nasmyth's portrait of Robert Burns, Gainsborough's ",The Hon. Mrs. Graham" (see Painting, Plate VI. fig. 20), Sir Noel Paton's " Quarrel " and " Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania," several works by William Etty, Robert Scott Lauder and Sam Bough, Sir Edwin Landseer's " Rent Day in the Wilderness," and the diploma pictures of the academicians, besides many specimens of the modern Scottish school. The National Portrait Gallery and Antiquarian Museum are housed in Queen Street, in a building designed by Sir Rowand Anderson and constructed at the expense of J. R. Findlay of Aberlour (1824-1898), the government providing the site.


In conformity with the motto of the city, Nisi Dominus frustra, there are numerous handsome places of public worship. St Giles's church, which was effectively restored (1879-1883) by the liberality of Dr William Chambers the publisher, has interesting historical and literary associations. The regent Moray, the marquess of Montrose, and Napier of Merchiston were buried within its walls and are commemorated by monuments, and among the memorial tablets is one to R. L. Stevenson by Augustus St Gaudens. The choir (restored in 1873 by public subscription) is a fine example of 15th-century architecture, and the Gothic crown surmounting the central tower forms one of the most characteristic features in every view of the city. Just outside the church in Parliament Square, the supposed grave of John Knox is indicated by a stone set in the pavement bearing his initials, and in the pavement to the west a heart indicates the site of the old Tolbooth,' which figures prominently in Scott's Heart of Midlothian. Other churches having historical associations are the two Greyfriars churches, which occupy the two halves of one building; Tron church, the scene of midnight hilarity at the new year; St Cuthbert's church; St Andrew's church in George Street, whence set out, on a memorable day in 1843, that long procession of ministers and elders to Tanfield Hall which ended in the founding of the Free Church; St George's church in Charlotte Square, a good example of the work of Robert Adam. The United Free Church claims no buildings of much historic interest, but St George's Free was the scene of the ministrations of Dr Robert S. Candlish (1806-1873), Dr Oswald Dykes (b. 1835), Dr Alexander Whyte (b. 1837), a man of great mark and influence in the city, and his successor Hugh Black (b. 1868). Preachers like Robert Candlish, Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873), Marcus Dods (b. 1834), occupied many pulpits, besides those of the particular congregations whom each served. The most imposing structure belonging to the Scottish Episcopal Church is St Mary's cathedral, built on ground and chiefly from funds left by the Misses Walker of Coates, and opened for worship in 1879. It is in the Early Pointed style, by Sir Gilbert Scott, is 278 ft. long, and is surmounted by a spire 275 ft. high. The old-fashioned mansion of East Coates, dating from the 17th century, still stands in the close, and is occupied by functionaries of the cathedral. St John's Episcopal church at the west end of Princes Street was the scene of the ministrations of Dean Ramsay, and St Paul's Episcopal church of the Rev. Archibald Alison, father of the historian. The Catholic Apostolic church at the foot of Broughton Street is architecturally noticeable, and one of its features is a set of mural paintings executed byMrsTraquair. The Central Hall atTollcross testifies to Methodist energy. John Knox's house at the east end of High Street is kept in excellent repair, and contains several articles of furniture that belonged to the reformer. The Canongate Tolbooth adjoins the parish church, in the burial-ground of which is the tombstone raised by Burns to the memory of Robert Fergusson, and where Dugald Stewart, Adam Smith and other men of note were buried. Almost opposite to it stands Moray House, from the balcony of which the 8th earl of Argyll watched Montrose led to execution (1650). The city gaol, a castellated structure on the black rock of Calton Hill, forms one of the most striking groups of buildings in the town. In the Music Hall in George Street, Carlyle, as lord rector of the university, delivered his stimulating address on books to the students, and Gladstone addressed the electors in his Midlothian campaigns. St Bernard's Well, on the Water of Leith, was embellished and restored (1888) at the cost of Mr William Nelson. A sum of Lioo,000 was bequeathed by Mr Andrew Usher (1826-1898) for a hall to be called the Usher Hall and to supplement I The original Tolbooth was completed in 1501, but a new one took its place in 1563-1564, and was subsequently altered. At first occupied by the parliament and courts of justice, it served later as a prison, and was removed in 1817.

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e her e the municipal buildings. The library of the solicitors to the supreme courts presents to the Cowgate a lofty elevation in red sandstone. The Sheriff Court Buildings stand on George IV. Bridge, and facing them is Mr Andrew Carnegie's free library (1887-1889). At the corner of High Street and George IV. Bridge stand the County buildings. The Scotsman newspaper is housed in an ornate structure in North Bridge Street, the building of which necessitated the demolition of many old alleys and wynds, such as Fleshmarket Close and Milne Square. Ramsay Gardens, a students' quarter fostered by Prof. Patrick Geddes (b. 1854), grew out of the " goose-pie " house where Allan Ramsay lived, and with its red-tiled roof and effective lines adds warmth to the view of the Old Town from Princes Street. Not the least interesting structure is the old City Cross (restored at the cost of W. E. Gladstone), which stands in High Street, adjoining St Giles's. Several of the quaint groups of buildings of Auld Reekie have been carefully restored, such as the White Horse Close in the Canongate; the mass of alleys on the north side of the Lawnmarket, from Paterson's Close to James's Court have been connected, and here Lord Rosebery acquired and restored the 17th-century dwelling which figures in the legend of My Aunt Margaret's Mirror. Another model restoration of a historic close is found in Riddle's Close, which contains a students' settlement. If these and other improvements have led to the disappearance of such old-world picturesque buildings as Allan Ramsay's shop " at the sign of the Mercury, opposite Niddry Wynd," Cardinal Beaton's palace, the old Cunzie House, or mint, the beautiful timber-fronted " land " that stood at the head of the West Bow, and even such " howffs " as Clerihugh's tavern, where Mr Counsellor Pleydell and the rest played the " high jinks " described in Guy Mannering, it must be conceded that the changes in the Old Town (many of a drastic nature) have been carried out with due regard to the character of their environment.


Edinburgh is particularly rich in monuments of every description and quality. Of these by far the most remarkable is the Scott monument in East Princes Street Gardens, designed by George Meikle Kemp (1795-1844); it is in the form of a spiral Gothic cross with a central canopy beneath which is a seated statue of Scott with his dog " Maida " at his side, by Sir John Steell, the niches being occupied by characters in Sir Walter's writings. A column, 136 ft. high, surmounted by a colossal figure of Viscount Melville, Pitt's first lord of the Admiralty, rises from the centre of St Andrew Square. At the west end of George Street, in the centre of Charlotte Square, stands the Albert Memorial, an equestrian statue of the prince consort, with groups at each of the four angles of the base. Burns's monument, in the style of a Greek temple, occupies a prominent position on the Regent Road, on the southern brow of the lower terrace of Calton Hill. It was originally intended to form a shrine for Flaxman's marble statue of the poet (now in the National Portrait Gallery), but it proved to be too confined to afford a satisfactory view of the sculptor's work and was at length converted into a museum of Burnsiana (afterwards removed to the municipal buildings). On Calton Hill are a number of finely placed monuments. The stateliest is the national monument to commemorate the victory of Waterloo, originally intended to be a reproduction of the Parthenon. The plan was abandoned for lack of funds, after twelve out of the twenty-four Greek pillars had been erected, but it is perhaps more effective in its unfinished state than if it had been completed. The Nelson monument, an elongated turfeted structure, stands on the highest cliff of the hill. Close by is the monument to Dugald Stewart, a copy of the choragic monument of Lysicrates. Sir John Steell's equestrian statue of the duke of Wellington stands in front of the Register House, and in Princes Street Gardens are statues of Livingstone, Christopher North, Allan Ramsay, Adam Black and Sir J. Y. Simpson. In George Street are Chantrey's figures of Pitt and George IV., and a statue of Dr Chalmers; the 5th duke of Buccleuch stands beside St Giles's. Charles II. surveys the spot where Knox was buried; the reformer himself is in the quadrangle of New College: Sir David Brewster adorns the quadrangle of the university; Dr William Chambers is in Chambers Street, and Frederick, duke of York (1763-1827), and the 4th earl of Hopetoun are also commemorated.


Obviously the churchyards surrounding the older and more important parish churches - such as Greyfriars', St Cuthbert's and the Canongate, contain the greatest number of memorials of the illustrious dead. In Greyfriars' churchyard the Solemn League and Covenant was signed, and among its many monuments are the Martyrs' monument, recording the merits of the murdered covenanters, and the tomb of " Bluidy " Mackenzie. To the three named should be added the Calton burying-ground, with its Roman tomb of David Hume, and the obelisk raised in 1844 to the memory of Maurice Margarot, Thomas Muir (1765-1798), Thomas Fyshe Palmer (1747-1802), William Skirving and Joseph Gerrald (1765-1796), the political martyrs transported towards the end of the 18th century for advocating parliamentary reform. The Scottish dead in the American Civil War are commemorated in a monument bearing a life-sized figure of Abraham Lincoln and a freed slave. The cemeteries are all modern. In Warriston cemetery (opened in 1843) in the New Town, were buried Sir James Young Simpson, Alexander Smith the poet, Horatio McCulloch, R.S.A., the landscape painter, the Rev. James Millar, the last Presbyterian chaplain of the castle, and the Rev. James Peddie, the pastor of Bristo Street church. In Dean cemetery, partly laid out on the banks of the Water of Leith, and considered the most beautiful in the city (opened 1845), were interred Lords Cockburn, Jeffrey and Rutherford; " Christopher North," Professor Aytoun, Edward Forbes the naturalist, John Goodsir the anatomist; Sir William Allan, L Sam Bough, George Paul Chalmers, the painters; George Combe, the phrenologist; Playfair, the architect; Alexander Russel, editor of the Scotsman; Sir Archibald Alison, the historian; Captain John Grant, the last survivor of the old Peninsular Gordon Highlanders; Captain Charles Gray, of the Royal Marines, writer of Scottish songs; Lieutenant John Irving, of the Franklin expedition, whose remains were sent home many years after his death by Lieut. Frederick Schwatka, U.S. navy; and Sir Hector Macdonald, " Fighting Mac " of Omdurman. In the south side are the Grange, Newington or Echobank, and Morningside cemeteries. In the Grange repose the ashes of Chalmers, Guthrie and Lee, Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, Sir Hope Grant, Hugh Miller and the 2nd Lord Dunfermline.

Parks and Open Spaces. - Edinburgh is exceptionally well provided with parks and open spaces. The older are Princes Street Gardens, covering the old Nor' Loch, Calton Hill, the Meadows and the Bruntsfield Links. The municipal golf links are on the Braid Hills. On the southern side Blackford Hill has been set apart for public use. Here stands the Royal Observatory, in which the great Dunecht telescope was erected in 1896. Harrison Park is a breathing spot for the congested district of Fountainbridge, and the park at Saughton Hall, opened in 1905, for the western district of the city. To the north of the Water of Leith lie Inverleith Park, the Arboretum and the Royal Botanical Garden. This institution has undergone four changes of site since its foundation in 1670 by Sir Andrew Balfour and Sir Robert Sibbald, and now occupies an area of 34 acres in Inverleith Row. It includes a herbarium and palm house, with an extensive range of hot-houses, a museum of economic botany, a lecture-room and other requisites for the study of botany. The most important open spaces, however, surround Arthur's Seat (822 ft.). This basaltic hill, the name of which is believed to commemorate the British king Arthur, who from its height is said to have watched the defeat of the Picts by his followers, is shaped like a lion couchant, with head towards the north. It is separated from the narrow valley, in which lie the Canongate and Holyrood Palace, by Salisbury Crags, named after Edward III.'s general William Montacute, 1 st earl of Salisbury (1 3 01 - 1 344). At their base is the Queen's Drive (32 m. long), named by Queen Victoria. Adjoining Holyrood Palace is the King's Park, used as a parade ground.

Facing the crags on the south-west are the spots familiar to readers of The Heart of Midlothian, where stood Jeanie Deans's cottage, and between the crags and Arthur's Seat lies Hunter's Bog, used as a shooting range. Near here too are three small lakes, Duddingston, Dunsappie and St Margaret's, the last overlooked by the ruins of St Anthony's chapel.


In several directions many places once to be described among the environs have practically become suburbs of Edinburgh. Newhaven (population of parish, 7636), so called from the harbour constructed in the reign of James IV., had a shipbuilding yard of some repute in former times. The village has always been a fishing-place of importance, the " fishwives " in their picturesque garb being, till recently, conspicuous figures in the streets of the capital. It used to be a popular resort for fish dinners, and it plays a prominent part in Charles Reade's novel of Christie Johnstone. To the west lies Granton (pop. 1728), where the 5th duke of Buccleuch constructed a magnificent harbour. Before the building of the Forth Bridge the customary approach to Fifeshire and the north-east of Scotland was by means of a steam ferry from Granton to Burntisland, which is still used to some extent. There is regular communication with Iceland, the continental ports and London. A marine station here was established by Sir John Murray, but has been discontinued. Still farther west lies the village of Cramond (pop. of parish, 3815), at the mouth of the river Almond, where Roman remains have often been found. It was the birthplace of several well-known persons, among others of John Law (1671-1729), originator of the Mississippi scheme, Lauriston Castle being situated in the parish. Cramond Brig was the scene of one of the " roving " adventures of James V., when the life of the " Gudeman of Ballengeich " was saved by Jock Howieson of the Braehead. Corstorphine (pop. 2725), once noted for its cream and also as a spa, is now to all intents and purposes a western suburb of the capital. The parish church contains the tombs of the Forresters, of old the leading family of the district, with full-length sculptured figures, and at the base of Corstorphine Hill - from one point of which (" Rest and be Thankful ") is to be had one of the best views of Edinburgh - are the seats of several well-known families. Among these are Craigcrook Castle (where Lord Jeffrey spent many happy years, and the gardens of which are said to have given Scott a hint for Tullyveolan in Waverley), and Ravelston House, the home of the Keiths. To the south of the metropolis are Colinton (pop. 5499), on the Water of Leith, with several mansions that once belonged to famous men, such as Dreghorn Castle and Bonally Tower; and Currie (pop. 2513), which was a Roman station and near which are Curriehill Castle (held by the rebels against Queen Mary), the ruins of Lennox Tower, and Riccarton, the seat of the GibsonCraigs, one of the best-known Midlothian families. At Dalmahoy Castle, near Ratho (pop. 1946), the seat of the earl of Morton, are preserved the only extant copy of the bible of the Scottish parliament and the original warrant for committing Queen Mary to Lochleven Castle in Kinross-shire. Craigmillar, though situated in the parish of Liberton, is really a part of Edinburgh. Its picturesque castle, at least the oldest portion of it, probably dates from the 12th century. Its principal owners were first the Prestons and latterly the Gilmours. After playing a varied role in local and national story, now as banqueting-house and now as prison, it fell gradually into disrepair. It was advertised as to let in 1761, and early in the 19th century, along with the chapel adjoining, was in ruins, but has been restored by Colonel Gordon-Gilmour. It was a favourite residence of Mary Stuart, and its associations with the hapless queen give it a romantic interest. Duddingston (pop. 2023), once a quiet village, has become a centre of the distilling and brewing industries. The parish church, effectively situated on an eminence by the side of the lake, was the scene of the ministration of the Rev. John Thomson (1778-1840), the landscape painter, who numbered Sir Walter Scott among his elders. Duddingston House is a seat of the duke of Abercorn. Liberton (pop. of parish, 7 2 33), a name that recalls the previous existence of a leper's hospital, is prominently situated on the rising ground to the south of Edinburgh, the parish church being a conspicuous landmark. Adjoining is the village of Gilmerton (pop. 1482), which used to supply Edinburgh with yellow sand, when sanded floors were a feature in the humbler class of houses. Portobello (pop. 9180), being within 3 m. of the capital, must always enjoy a large share of public patronage, though it is not in such favour as a wateringplace as it once was. Its beautiful stretch of sands is flanked by a promenade extending all the way to Joppa. The beach was at one time used for the purpose of reviews of the yeomanry. The town dates from the middle of the 18th century, when a cottage was built by a sailor and named Portobello in commemoration of Admiral Vernon's victory in 1739. The place does a considerable trade in the making of bricks, bottles, earthenware, pottery, tiles and paper. Joppa, which adjoins it, has salt works, but is chiefly a residential neighbourhood. Inveresk (pop. 2939), finely situated on the Esk some 6 m. from Edinburgh, is a quaint village with several old-fashioned mansions and beautiful gardens. Alexander Carlyle, the famous divine (1 77 2-1805), whose Memorials of his Times still affords fascinating reading, ministered for fifty-five years in the parish church, in the graveyard of which lies David Macbeth Moir (1798-1851), who under the pen-name of " Delta " wrote Mansie Wauch, a masterpiece of Scots humour and pathos. Lasswade (pop. of parish, 9708), partly in the Pentlands, famous for its oatmeal, was often the summer resort of Edinburgh worthies. Here Sir Walter Scott lived for six years and De Quincey for nineteen, and William Tennant (1784-1848), author of Anster Fair, was the parish dominie. Many interesting mansions were and are in the vicinity, amongst them Melville Castle, the seat of the Dundas Melvilles, and Auchendinny, where Henry Mackenzie, author of The Man of Feeling, resided. The two most celebrated resorts, however, amongst the environs of Edinburgh are Roslin (pop. 1805) and Hawthornden. Roslin Castle is romantically situated on the beautifully wooded precipitous banks of the Esk. It dates from the 12th century and is a plain, massive ruin, architecturally insignificant. Partially destroyed by fire in 1 447 and afterwards rebuilt, it was sacked in 1650 and again in 1688, and then gradually fell into decay. The chapel, higher up the bank, a relic of great beauty, was founded in 1446 by William St Clair, 3rd earl of Orkney. It is believed to be the chancel of what was intended to be a large church. Although it suffered at the hands of revolutionary fanatics in 1688, the damage was confined mainly to the external ornament, and the chapel, owing to restoration in judicious taste, is now in perfect condition. The Gothic details are wonderful examples of the carver's skill, the wreathed " Prentice's pillar " being the subject of a well-known legend. The walk to Hawthornden, about IIm. distant, through the lovely glen by the river-side, leads to the mansion of the Drummonds, perched high on a lofty cliff falling sheer to the stream. The caverns in the sides of the precipice are said to have afforded Wallace and other heroes (or outlaws) refuge in time of trouble, but the old house is most memorable as the home of the poet William Drummond, who here welcomed Ben Jonson; the tree beneath which the two poets sat still stands. Near Swanston, on the slopes of the Pentlands, where R. L. Stevenson when a boy used to make holiday occasionally, is a golf-course which was laid out by the Lothianburn Club. The Pentland range contains many points of interest and beauty, but these are mostly accessible only to the pedestrian, although the hills are crossed by roads, of which the chief are those by Glencorse burn and the Cauld Stane Slap. Habbie's Howe, the scene of Allan Ramsay's pastoral The Gentle Shepherd, is some 2 m. from Carlops, and Rullion Green is noted as the field on which the Covenanters were defeated in 1666. At Penicuik (pop. 5097), where the Clerks were long the ruling family, S. R. Crockett was minister until he formally devoted himself to fiction. The town is, industrially, remarkable for its paper mills and mines of coal and other minerals.


The two trunk railways serving Edinburgh are the North British and the Caledonian. The North British station is Waverley, to which the trains of the Great Northern, North Eastern and the Midland systems run from England. The Caledonian station is Princes Street, where the through trains from the London & North-Western system of England arrive. Leith, Granton and Grangemouth serve as the chief passenger seaports for Edinburgh. Tramways connect the different parts of the city with Leith, Newhaven, Portobello and Joppa; and the Suburban railway, starting from Waverley station, returns by way of Restalrig, Portobello, Duddingston, Morningside and Haymarket. In summer, steamers ply between Leith and Aberdour and other pleasure resorts; and there is also a service to Alloa and Stirling. In the season brakes constantly run to Queensferry (for the Forth Bridge) and to Roslin, and coaches to Dalkeith, Loanhead and some Pentland villages.


In 1801 the number of inhabitants was 66,544; in 1851 it was 160,302; in 1881 it was 234,402; and in 1901 it was 316,479. In 1900 the birth-rate was 26.90 per thousand, 7.8% of the births being illegitimate; the deathrate was 19.40 per thousand, and the marriage-rate 10 per thousand.

The area of the city has been enlarged by successive extensions of its municipal boundaries, especially towards the west and south. An important accession of territory was gained in 1896, when portions of the parishes of Liberton and Duddingston and the police burgh of Portobello were incorporated. Under the Edinburgh Corporation Act 1900, a further addition of nearly 1800 acres was made. This embraced portions of South Leith parish (landward) and of Duddingston parish, including the village of Restalrig and the ground lying on both sides of the main road from Edinburgh to Portobello; and also part of Cramond parish, in which is contained the village and harbour of Granton. The total area of the city is 10,597 2 acres. The increase in wealth may best be measured by the rise in assessed valuation. In 1880 the city rental was £1,727,740, in 1890 it was £2,106,395, and in 1900-1901 £2,807,122.


By the Redistribution Act of 1885 the city was divided for parliamentary purposes into East, West, Central and South Edinburgh, each returning one member; the parliamentary and municipal boundaries are almost identical. The town council, which has its headquarters in the Municipal Buildings in the Royal Exchange, consists of fifty members, a lord provost, seven baffles, a dean of guild, a treasurer, a convener of trades, seven judges of police, and thirty-two councillors. The corporation has acquired the gas-works, the cable tramways (leased to a company), the electric lighting of the streets, and the water-supply from the Pentlands (reinforced by additional sources in the Moorfoot Hills and Talla Water). Among other duties, the corporation has a share in the management of the university, and maintains the Calton Hill observatory.

May Meetings

During the establishment of Episcopacy in Scotland, Edinburgh was the seat of a bishop, and the ancient collegiate church of St Giles rose to the dignity of a cathedral. But the annual meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland at Edinburgh is now the public manifestation of the predominance of Presbyterianism as the national church. In May each year the sovereign appoints a representative as lord high commissioner to the General Assembly of the Established Church, who takes up his abode usually in the palace of Holyrood, and thence proceeds to the High Church, and so to the assembly hall on the Castle Hill. The lord provost and magistrates offer to him the keys of the city, and levees, receptions and state dinners revive in some degree the ancient glories of Holyrood. The General Assembly of the United Free Church is usually held at the same time.


The university of Edinburgh, the youngest of the Scottish universities, was founded in 1583 by a royal charter granted by James IV., and its rights, immunities and privileges have been remodelled, ratified and extended at various periods. In 1621 an act of the Scottish parliament accorded to the university all rights and privileges enjoyed by other universities in the kingdom, and these were renewed under fresh guarantees in the treaty of union between England and Scotland, and in the Act of Security. Important changes were made in the con stitution by acts passed in 1858 and 1889. It was one of the first universities to admit women students to its classes and degrees, and its alumni are brought into close bonds of sympathy and activity by a students' union. The number of students averages nearly three thousand a year. As a corporation it consists of a chancellor, vice-chancellor, lord rector (elected by the students every three years), principal, professors, registered graduates and matriculated students. The chancellor is elected for life by the general council, of which he is head; and the rights of the city as the original founder have been recognized by giving to the town council the election of four of the seven curators, with whom rest the appointment of the principal, the patronage of seventeen of the chairs, and a share in other appointments. Along with that of St Andrews, the university sends one member to parliament. While the college, as such, bears the name of the College of King James, or King's college, and James VI. is spoken of as its founder, it really originated in the liberality of the citizens of Edinburgh. William Little of Craigmillar, and his brother Clement Little, advocate, along with James Lawson, the colleague and successor of John Knox, may justly be regarded as true founders. In 1580 Clement Little gave all his books, three hundred volumes, for the beginning of a library, and this was augmented by other valuable benefactions, one of the most interesting of which was the library of Drummond of Hawthornden. The library now contains upwards of 220,000 volumes, and more than 7000 MSS. The buildings of the university occupy the site of the ancient collegiate church of St. Mary in the Field (the "Kirk of Field"), the scene of the murder of Darnley. The present structure, the foundationstone of which was laid in 1789, is a classical building, enclosing an extensive quadrangle. The older parts of it, including the east front, are from the design of Robert Adam, his plans being revised and modified by W. H. Playfair (1789-1857), but it was not till 1883 that the building was completed by the dome, crowned by the bronze figure of Youth bearing the torch of Knowledge, on the facade in South Bridge Street. This edifice affords accommodation for the lecture rooms in the faculties of arts, law and theology, and for the museums and library. The opening up of the wide thoroughfare of Chambers Street, on the site of College Wynd and Brown and Argyll Squares, cleared the precincts of unsightly obstructions and unsavoury neighbours. The Royal Scottish Museum, structurally united to the university, contains collections illustrative of industry, art, science and natural history; and Minto House college and Heriot-Watt college are practically adjuncts of the university. The library hall was restored and decorated, largely through the generosity of Sir William Priestley (1829-1900), formerly M.P. for the university; while munificent additions to the academic funds and resources were made by the 15th earl of Moray (1840-1901), Sir William Fraser (1816-1898), and others. The university benefits also, like the other Scottish universities, from Mr Andrew Carnegie's endowment fund. The medical school stands in Teviot Row, adjoining George Square and the Meadows. To this spacious and well-equipped group of buildings the faculty of medicine was removed from the college. The medical school is in the Italian Renaissance style from the designs of Sir Rowand Anderson. The magnificent hall used for academic and public functions was the gift of William M ` Ewan, some time M.P. for the Central division of Edinburgh. Closely associated with the medical school, and separated from it by the Middle Meadow Walk, is the Royal Infirmary, designed by David Bryce, R.S.A. (1803-1876), removed hither from Infirmary Street. Its wards, in which nearly ten thousand patients receive treatment annually, are lodged in a series of turreted pavilions, and cover a large space of ground on the margin of the Meadows, from which, to make room for it, George Watson's College - the most important of the Merchant Company schools - was removed to a site farther west, while the Sick Children's hospital was moved to the southern side of the Meadows.

Scientific Institutions

The old Observatory is a quaint structure on Calton Hill, overlooking the district at the head of Leith Walk. The City Observatory stands close by, and on Blackford Hill is the newer building of the Royal Observatory.

The Astronomer-Royal for Scotland also holds the chair of practical astronomy.

The museum and lecture-rooms of the Royal College of Surgeons occupy a handsome classical building in Nicolson Street. The college is an ancient corporate body, with a charter of the year 1505, and exercises the powers of instructing in surgery and of giving degrees. Its graduates also give lectures on the various branches of medicine and science requisite for the degree of doctor of medicine, and those extra-academical courses are recognized, under certain restrictions, by the University Court, as qualifying for the degree. The museum contains a valuable collection of anatomical and surgical preparations.

The Royal College of Physicians is another learned body organized, with special privileges, by a charter of incorporation granted by Charles II. in 1681. In their hall in Queen Street are a valuable library and a museum of materia medica. But the college as such takes no part in the educational work of the university.

Educational Institutions

After the Disruption in 1843, and the formation of the Free Church, New College was founded in connexion with it for training students in theology. Since the amalgamation of the United Presbyterian and the Free Churches, under the designation of the United Free Church of Scotland, New College is utilized by both bodies. New College buildings, designed in the Pointed style of the 16th century, and erected on the site of the palace of Mary of Guise, occupy a prominent position at the head of the Mound.

Edinburgh has always possessed exceptional educational facilities. The Royal high school, the burgh school par excellence, dates from the 16th century, but the beautiful Grecian buildings on the southern face of Calton Hill, opened in 1829, are its third habitation. It was not until 1825, when the Edinburgh Academy was opened, that it encountered serious rivalry. Fettes College, an imposing structure in a 16th-century semi-Gothic style, designed by David Bryce and called after its founder Sir William Fettes (1750-1836), is organized on the model of the great English public schools. Merchiston Academy, housed in the old castle of Napier, the inventor of logarithms, is another institution conducted on English public school lines. For many generations the charitable foundations for the teaching and training of youth were a conspicuous feature in the economy of the city. Foremost among them was the hospital founded by George Heriot - the " Jingling Geordie " of Scott's Fortunes of Nigel - the goldsmith and banker of James VI. At his death in 1624 Heriot left his estate in trust to the magistrates and ministers of Edinburgh for the maintenance and teaching of poor fatherless sons of freemen. The quadrangular edifice in Lauriston, sometimes ascribed to Inigo Jones, is one of the noblest buildings in the city. Even earlier than Heriot's hospital was the Merchant Maiden hospital, dating from 1605, which gave to the daughters of merchants similar advantages to those which Heriot's secured for burgesses' sons. In 1738 George Watson's hospital for boys was founded; then followed the Trades' Maiden hospital for burgesses' daughters, John Watson's, Daniel Stewart's, the Orphans', Gillespie's,' Donaldson's 2 hospitals, and other institutions founded by successful merchants of the city, in which poor children of various classes were lodged, boarded and educated. Nearly all these buildings are characterized by remarkable distinction and beauty of design. This is especially true of Donaldson's hospital at the Haymarket, which has accommodation for three hundred children. As the New Town expanded, the Heriot Trust - whose revenues were greatly benefited thereby - erected day-schools in different districts, in which thousands of infants and older children received a free education, and, in 1 James Gillespie (1726-1797) was a tobacco and snuff manufacturer, and when he set up his carriage Henry Erskine suggested as a motto the homely couplet " Wha wad hae thocht it, That noses wad bocht it? " 2 James Donaldson (1751-1830) was a printer who bequeathed nearly the whole of his large fortune for the purposes of a hospital for poor boys and girls, and the trustees have usually selected half of the children admitted from the ranks of the deaf and dumb.

cases of extreme poverty, a money grant towards maintenance. Public opinion as to the " hospital " system of board and education, however, underwent a revolutionary change after the Education Act of 1872 introduced school boards, and the Merchant Company - acting as governors for most of the institutions - determined to board out the children on the foundation with families in the town, and convert the buildings into adequately equipped primary and secondary day-schools. This root-and-branch policy proved enormously successful, and George Watson's college, Stewart's college, Queen Street ladies' college, George Square ladies' college, Gillespie's school, and others, rapidly took a high place among the educational institutions of the city. Nor did the Heriot Trust neglect the claims of technical and higher education. The Heriot-Watt college is subsidized by the Trust, and Heriot's hospital is occupied as a technical school. Concurrently with this activity in higher branches, the school board provided a large number of handsome buildings in healthy surroundings. The Church of Scotland and the United Free Church have training colleges.


Besides the Royal Infirmary there are a considerable number of more or less specialized institutions, two of the most important being situated at Craiglockhart. On the Easter Hill stands the Royal Edinburgh asylum for the insane, which formerly occupied a site in Morningside, while the City infectious diseases hospital is situated at Colinton Mains. The Royal blind asylum at Powburn in its earlier days tenanted humbler quarters in Nicolson Street. Chalmers's hospital in Lauriston was founded in 1836 by George Chalmers for the reception of the sick and injured. The home for incurables is situated in Salisbury Place. The infirmary convalescents are sent to the convalescent house in Corstorphine. Other institutions are the Royal hospital for sick children, the home for crippled children, the Royal maternity hospital, and the deaf and dumb asylum. Though Trinity hospital no longer exists as a hospital with resident pensioners, the trustees disburse annually pensions to certain poor burgesses and their wives and children; and the trust controlling the benevolent branch of the Gillespie hospital endowment is similarly administered.


Although Edinburgh is a residential rather than a manufacturing or commercial centre, the industries which it has are important and flourishing. From 1507, when Walter Chapman, the Scottish Caxton, set up the first press, to the present day, printing has enjoyed a career of almost continuous vitality, and the great houses of R. & R. Clark, T. & A. Constable, the Ballantyne Press, Morrison & Gibb, Turnbull & Spears, and others, admirably maintain the traditional reputation of the Edinburgh press. Publishing, on the other hand, has drifted away, only a few leading houses - such as those of Blackwood, Chambers and Nelson - still making the Scottish capital their headquarters. Mapmakers, typefounders, bookbinders and lithographers all contribute their share to the prosperity of the city. Brewing is an industry of exceptional vigour, Edinburgh ale being proverbially good. The brewers and distillers, such as M ` Ewan, Usher and Ure, have been amongst the most generous benefactors of the city. The arts and crafts associated with furniture work, paper-making and coach-building may also be specified, whilst tanneries, glassworks, india-rubber and vulcanite factories, brass-founding, machinery works, the making of biscuits, tea-bread and confectionery are all prominent. In consequence of the large influx of tourists every year the North British and Caledonian railway companies give employment to an enormous staff. Building and the allied trades are chronically brisk, owing to the constant development of the city. Fine white freestone abounds in the immediate vicinity (as at Craigleith, from the vast quarry of which, now passing into disuse, the stone for much of the New Town was obtained) and furnishes excellent building material; while the hard trap rock, with which the stratified sandstones of the Coal formation have been extensively broken up and overlaid, supplies good materials for paving and road-making. On this account quarrying is another industry which is seldom dormant. Owing to the great changes effected during the latter part of the 19th century, some of the old markets were demolished and the system of centralizing trade was not wholly revived. The Waverley Market for vegetables and fruit presents a busy scene in the early morning, and is used for monster meetings and promenade and popular concerts. Slaughter-houses, cattle markets and grain markets have been erected at Gorgie, thus obviating the driving of clocks and herds through the streets, which was constantly objected to. An infantry regiment is always stationed in the castle, and there are in addition the barracks at Piershill (or " Jock's Lodge "), half-way between Edinburgh and Portobello.

Social Life. - Edinburgh society still retains a certain oldfashioned Scottish exclusiveness. It has been said that the city is " east-windy " and the folk " west-endy." But this criticism needs judicious qualification. The local patriotism and good taste of the citizens have regulated recreation and have also preserved in pristine vigour many peculiarly Scottish customs and pastimes. Classical concerts and concerts of the better sort, chiefly held in the M ` Ewan and Music Halls, are well attended, and lectures are patronized to a degree unknown in most towns. In theatrical matters in the old days of stock companies the verdict of an Edinburgh audience was held to make or mar an actor or a play. This is no longer the case, but the Lyceum theatre in Grindlay Street and the Theatre Royal at the head of Leith Walk give good performances. Variety entertainments are also in vogue, and in Nicolson Street and elsewhere there are good music halls. Outdoor recreations have always been pursued with zest. The public golf-course on Braid Hills and the private courses of the Lothianburn club at Swanston and the Barnton club at Barnton are usually full on Saturdays and holidays. The numerous bowling-greens are regularly frequented and are among the best in Scotland - the first Australian team of bowlers that visited the mother country (in 1901) pronouncing the green in Lutton Place the finest on which they had played. Cricket is played by the university students, at the schools, and by private clubs, of which the Grange is the oldest and best. In winter the game of curling is played on Duddingston Loch, and Dunsappie, St Margaret's Loch, Lochend and other sheets of water are covered with skaters. Rugby football is in high favour, Edinburgh being commonly the scene of the international matches when the venue falls to Scotland. Hockey claims many votaries, there usually being on New Year's day a match at shinty, or camanachd, between opposing teams of Highlanders resident in the city. The central public baths in Infirmary Street, with branch establishments in other parts of the town, including Portobello, are largely resorted to, and the proximity of the Firth of Forth induces the keener swimmers to visit Granton every morning. Facilities for boating are limited (excepting on the Forth), but rowing clubs find opportunity for practice and races on the Union Canal, where, however, sailing is scarcely possible. Edinburgh maintains few newspapers, but the Scotsman, which may be said to reign alone, has enjoyed a career of almost uninterrupted prosperity, largely in consequence of a succession of able editors, like Charles Maclaren, Alexander Russel, Robert Wallace and Charles Cooper. The Edinburgh Evening News and the Evening Dispatch are popular sheets. In the past the Edinburgh Evening Courant, the chief organ of the Tory party, of which James Hannay was editor for a few years, had a high reputation. The Witness, edited by Hugh Miller, the Daily Review, edited first by J. B. Manson and afterwards by Henry Kingsley, and the Scottish Leader, were conducted more or less as Liberal organs with a distinct bias in favour of the then Free Church, but none of these was long-lived. Volunteering has always attracted the younger men, and the highest awards at Wimbledon and Bisley have been won by the Queen's Edinburgh History. - In remote times the seaboard from the Tyne to the Forth was occupied by the Ottadeni, a Welsh tribe of the Brigantes, the territory immediately to the west of it being peopled by the Gadeni. It is probable that the Ottadeni built a fort or camp on the rock on which Edinburgh Castle now stands, which was thus the nucleus around which, in course of time, grew a considerable village. Under the protection of the hill-fort, a native settlement was established on the ridge running down to the valley at the foot of Salisbury Crags, and another hamlet, according to William Maitland (1693-1757), the earliest historian of Edinburgh, was founded in the area at the northwestern base of the rock, a district that afterwards became the parish of St Cuthbert, the oldest in the city. The Romans occupied the country for more than three hundred years, as is evidenced by various remains; `but James Grant (1822-1887), in Old and New Edinburgh, doubts whether they ever built on the castle rock. When they withdrew, the British tribes reasserted their sway, and some authorities go so far as to suggest that Arthur was one of their kings. The southern Picts ultimately subdued the Britons, and the castle became their chief stronghold until they were overthrown in 617 (or 629) by the Saxons under Edwin, king of Northumbria, from whom the name of Edinburgh is derived. Symeon of Durham (854) calls it Edwinesburch, and includes the church of St Cuthbert within the bishopric of Lindisfarne. Its Gaelic name was Dunedin. This name is probably a translation of the Saxon name. James Grant's view that it may have been the earlier name of the castle, from dun (" the fort "), and edin (" on the slope "), conflicts with the more generally received opinion that the Britons knew the fortress as Castelh Mynedh Agnedh (" the hill of the plain "), a designation once wrongly interpreted as the " castle of the maidens " (castrum puellarum), in allusion to the supposed fact that the Pictish princesses were lodged within it during their education. In the 16th century the latinized form Edina was invented and has been used chiefly by poets, once notably by Burns, whose " Address " begins " Edina! Scotia's darling seat." Long after Edwin's conquest the lowland continued to be debatable territory held by uncertain tenure, but at length it was to a large extent settled anew by Anglo-Saxon and Norman colonists under Malcolm Canmore and his sons.

In the reign of Malcolm Canmore the castle included the king's palace. There his pious queen, Margaret, the grand-niece of Edward the Confessor, died in 1093. It continued to be a royal residence during the reigns of her three sons, and hence the first rapid growth of the upper town may be referred to the 12th century. The parish church of St Giles is believed to have been erected in the reign of Alexander I., about 1110, and the huge Norman keep of the castle, built by his younger brother, David I., continued to be known as David's Tower till its destruction in the siege of 1572. Soon after his accession to the Scottish throne David I. founded the abbey of Holyrood (1128), which from an early date received the court as its guests. But notwithstanding the attractions of the abbey and the neighbouring chase, the royal palace continued for centuries to be within the fortress,. and there both the Celtic and Stuart kings frequently resided. Edinburgh was long an exposed frontier town within a territory only ceded to Malcolm II. about 1020; and even under the earlier Stuart kings it was still regarded as a border stronghold. Hence, though the village of Canongate grew up beside the abbey of David I., and Edinburgh was a place of sufficient importance to be reckoned one of the four principal burghs as a judicatory for all commercial matters, nevertheless, even so late as 1450, when it became for the first time a walled town, it did not extend beyond the upper part of the ridge which slopes eastwards from the castle. So long, however, as its walls formed the boundary, and space therefore was limited, the citizens had to provide house-room by building dwellings of many storeys. These tall tenements on both sides of what is now High Street and Canongate are still a prominent characteristic of the Old Town. The streets were mostly very narrow, the main street from the castle to Holyrood Palace and the Cowgate alone permitting the passage of wheeled carriages. In the narrow " wynds " the nobility and gentry paid their visits in sedan chairs, and proceeded in full dress to the assemblies and balls, which were conducted with aristocratic exclusiveness in an alley on the south side of High Street, called the Assembly Close, and in the assembly rooms in the West Bow. Beyond the walls lay the burghs of Calton, Easter and Wester Portsburgh, the villages of St Cuthbert's, Moutrie'sHill,Broughton,Canonmills, SilvermillsandDeanhaugh - all successively swallowed up in the extension of the modern city. The seaport of Leith, though a distinct burgh, governed by its own magistrates, and electing its own representative to parliament, has also on its southern side become practically united to its great neighbour.

The other three royal burghs associated with Edinburgh were Stirling, Roxburgh and Berwick; and their enactments form the earliest existing collected body of Scots law. The determination of Edinburgh as the national capital, and as the most frequent scene of parliamentary assemblies, dates from the death of James I. in 1436. Of the thirteen parliaments summoned by that sovereign, only one, the last, was held at Edinburgh, but his assassination in the Blackfriars' monastery at Perth led to the abrupt transfer of the court and capital from the Tay to the Forth. The coronation of James II. was celebrated in Holyrood Abbey instead of at Scone, and the widowed queen took up her residence, with the young king, in the castle. Of fourteen parliaments summoned during this reign, only one was held at Perth, five met at Stirling and the rest at Edinburgh; and, notwithstanding the favour shown for Stirling as a royal residence in the following reign, every one of the parliaments of James III. was held at Edinburgh. James II. conferred on the city various privileges relating to the holding of fairs and markets, and the levying of customs; and by a royal charter of 1452 he gave it pre-eminence over the other burghs. Further immunities and privileges were granted by James III.; and by a precept of 1482, known as the Golden Charter, he bestowed on the provost and magistrates the hereditary office of sheriff, with power to hold courts, to levy fines, and to impose duties on all merchandise landed at the port of Leith. Those privileges were renewed and extended by various sovereigns, and especially by a general charter granted by James VI. in 1603.

James III. was a great builder, and, in the prosperous era which followed his son's accession to the throne, the town reached the open valley to the south, with the Cowgate as its chief thoroughfare. But the death of James IV. in 1513, along with other disastrous results of the battle of Flodden, brought this era of prosperity to an abrupt close. The citizens hastened to construct a second line of wall, enclosing the Cowgate and the heights beyond, since occupied by Greyfriars churches and Heriot's hospital, but still excluding the Canongate, as pertaining to the abbey of Holyrood. In the 16th century the movements connected with John Knox and Mary, queen of Scots, made Edinburgh a castle of much activity. With the departure, however, of the sixth James to fill the English throne in 1603, the town lost for a long period its influence and prestige. Matters were not bettered by the Act of Union signed in a cellar in High Street in 1707, amidst the execrations of the people, and it was not till the hopes of the Jacobites were blasted at Culloden (1746) that the townsfolk began to accept the inevitable. This epoch, when grass grew even in High Street, long lingered in the popular memory as the " dark age." By the accession of George III. (1760), Edinburgh showed signs of revived enterprise. In 1763 the first North Bridge, connecting the Old Town with the sloping ground on which afterwards stood the Register House and the theatre in Shakespeare Square, was opened; a little later the Nor' Loch was partially drained, and the bridging of the Cowgate in 1785 encouraged expansion southwards. Towards the end of the 18th century the New Town began to take shape on the grand, if formal, lines which had been planned by James Craig (d. 1795), the architect, nephew of the poet Thomson, and the erection of Regent Bridge in Waterloo Place (formally opened in 1819 on the occasion of the visit of Prince Leopold, afterwards king of the Belgians) gave access to Calton Hill. The creation of Princes Street, one of the most beautiful thoroughfares in the world, led to further improvement. The earth and debris from the excavation of the sites for the houses in this and adjoining streets had been " dumped " in the centre of the drained Nor' Loch. This unsightly mass of rubbish lay for a while as an eyesore, until the happy thought arose of converting it into a broad way joining the new .oNd at Hanover Street with the Old Town at the Lawnmarket. Upon this street, which divides Princes Street and its gardens into east and west, and which received the title of the Mound, were erected the National Gallery and the Royal Institution. Speaking generally, the New Town wzs resorted to by professional men - lawyers, doctors and artists, - and in its principal streets will be found the head offices of the leading banks and insurance offices, all lodged in buildings of remarkable architectural pretensions. The Commercial, the Union and the Clydesdale banks are in George Street, the National. Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the British Linen Company's Bank are in St Andrew Square, the Bank of Scotland is at the head of the Mound. The extensive building operations engaged in by the town council in the early part of the ,9th century resulted in the insolvency of the city in 1833. The property of the corporation was valued at £271,658 against a debt of £425,195, which was compounded for by the issue of 3% annuity bonds - the loss to the creditors amounting to 25% of their claims.

Meanwhile the progress of letters, science and learning manifested the recovery of the city. The names of Knox (d. 1572), Buchanan (1582), Alexander Montgomery (1605), Drummond of Hawthornden (1649), Allan Ramsay (1757), Smollett (1771), Fergusson (1774), and Burns (1796), carried on the literary associations of the Scottish capital nearly to the close of the 18th century, when various causes combined to give them new significance and value. The university was served by a body of teachers and investigators who won for it a prominent position among European schools. Then succeeded the era of Scott's Marmion and The Lady of the Lake, followed by the Waverley novels and the foundation of Blackwood's Magazine and the Edinburgh Review. Modern conditions have changed the character of Edinburgh society. In Scott's early days a journey to London was beset with difficulties and even dangers; but railways have now brought it within a few hours' distance, and Scottish artists and literary men are tempted to seek a wider field. Nevertheless, the influence of the past survives in many ways. Edinburgh is not markedly a manufacturing city, but preserves its character as the Scottish capital.


- James Grant, Old and New Edinburgh (London, 1880 et seq.); W. Maitland, History of Edinburgh (1753); Hugo Arnot, History of Edinburgh (1789); B. Chambers, Traditions of Edinburgh (1824); D. Wilson, Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time (1846-1848); O. Smeaton, Edinburgh and its Story (1904). The Municipal Buildings of Edinburgh, by Robert Miller, Lord Dean of Guild, printed by order of the town council (Edinburgh, 1895) Royal Edinburgh, by Mrs Oliphant, illustrations by Sir George Reid, R.S.A. (London, 1890).

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From Old English burg, castle, from Proto-Germanic *burgs (fortress), from Proto-Indo-European *bhrgh (fortified elevation). This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology.


  • (UK) IPA: /ˈɛdɪnbərə/, SAMPA: /"EdInb@r@/ or IPA: /ˈɛdɪnbrə/, SAMPA: /"EdInbr@/
  • (US) enPR: ĕdʹən-bŭr-ə, IPA: /ˈɛdənbʌrə/, SAMPA: /"Ed@nbVr@/ or enPR: ĕdʹən-bər-ə, IPA: /ˈɛdənbərə/, SAMPA: /"Ed@nb@r@/
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Proper noun




  1. The capital of Scotland.



Alternative forms

Proper noun

Edinburgh m.

  1. Edinburgh


Proper noun


  1. Edinburgh (capital of Scotland)

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