To start, we divide the city into two: the Old Town and the New Town (old town). Old town is a fundamental part to visit which has maintained the structure it had during the Middle Ages and during the Protestant Reformation.
Here are the Cathedral of Saint Giles, the Scottish Parliament, the University of Edinburgh and a significant amount of underground roads that are a real engineering work of the time.
The best way to start is to get off the Royal Mile, a road linking the Edinburgh Castle to the Holyrood House. The measurement of this avenue, 1’8km, is what is called a Scottish millet. A road with a story. Downhill along this road you can start looking around losing in the alleyways, all the historic center is a monument in itself, and reach the Holyrood House. Along the way you can visit Grassmarket, a medieval square with a very impressive setting.
Here you can have a drink before continuing the walk, along the way you can visit the graveyard of Greyfriars and see the tomb of Bobby, the dog who spent 14 years at his master’s tomb and is now an icon of Scottish fidelity .
Since you’ve come to this point, it may be a good idea to stop for a moment and go to Arthur’s Seat & The Pandas Settle in at Edinburgh Zoo
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Arthurs Seat is the name given to the highest peak of the group of hills that form Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park. Rising to a height of around 250m and providing superb views over the city, Arthur’s Seat is one of the top attractions visited by anyone staying in a luxury Edinburgh hotel.
The author Robert Louis Stevenson once referred to Arthur’s Seat as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”. This bold, poetic statement seems fitting, for a site which occupies such an important position in both the skyline, and the history of Edinburgh. The gentle slopes of the hill make it an easy climb, and from the top, one can enjoy spectacular views out over Holyrood Park, the palace, Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle itself. Perhaps the easiest approach however, is from the grassy meadows to the east, around the picturesque Dunsapie Loch.
The exact reason for the name is unknown; however, there are a great many theories which would link the dramatic peak with the legends of King Arthur. It certainly wouldn’t be the first peak in Britain to be named after this semi-legendary ruler; Arthur’s Chair and Stone Arthur being the names of ridges in the Lake District, while further north into the Scottish Highlands, you will come across the peak of Ben Arthur.
Geologically, Arthur’s Seat is composed of the same volcanic rock as Castle Mount, the site of the historic Edinburgh Castle. Both are believed to be the remnants of volcanic activity that occurred across Scotland in prehistoric times.
It is still possible to spot the original vents of the volcano, on the sides of Arthur’s Seat. These have been nicknamed the ‘Lion’s Haunch’, and ‘Lion’s Head’.
Luckily enough, those planning a stay at an Edinburgh Castle hotel have no need to fear another eruption! The last recorded activity of this volcanic range was in the Carboniferous age – perhaps as many as 350 million years ago.
The Pandas Settle in at Edinburgh Zoo
Immigrants come from all over the world to settle on Scotland’s shores. Recently, however, Scotland has received it most unusual immigrants ever—two Chinese pandas. The panda pair, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, arrived December 4th at the Edinburgh Zoo and have been visible to the public since December 16th. Scotland has a vast a variety of reasons to visit—from the grandeur of the Royal Deeside and staying at a Balmoral Castle hotel to seeing the Highland Games and hiking through the Cairngorms, there is a wealth of opportunity for activity.
Visiting the Edinburgh Zoo should be high on that list. The Pandas are to live at the zoo for ten years and are the only pandas in the UK.
It is hoped that during that time they will mate and have offspring as it would be an eagerly anticipated arrival—perhaps only rivalled by the potential birth of a new royal. The pandas have been in their new home for less than a month, yet already they have proven immensely popular at the zoo as tickets have been booked and ticket sales have risen by 200%. At the moment, the pandas are kept separately in different enclosures awaiting spring when the female, Tian Tian, will come into season when it is hoped they will mate. The pandas already seem to be settling in well, with the male eating about 55 kg of bamboo a day and the female about 35. In addition, they snack on carrots and panda cake throughout the day. On Christmas day, they received extra helpings of their special cake- made of soya, corn, rice, egg, and oil—and happily devoured the delicious baked goods.
If wanting to visit the pandas whilst in Scotland, tickets must be booked in advance, though they are only taking pre-bookings until the end of January. If staying in an Edinburgh city centre hotel but are unable to get tickets, the zoo is still well worth the effort of visiting. No matter what, you are sure to get a taste of the ‘panda-monium’ that is dominating the city!