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Edinburgh

Scotland's capital changed hands several times in its early years, but was well established by the 1100s, stretching from the castle down to Holyrood Palace, known today as the Royal Mile.

Escorted Rail Tours to Edinburgh

Scotland's grand capital city

From the 13th century in particular the community really began to flourish, and in 1492 James IV declared Edinburgh Scotland's capital. Whilst Edinburgh grew in the industrial age, it was surpassed in size by Glasgow, but it still continued to prosper.

Until the late 18th century Edinburgh consisted mainly of what is now known as the Old Town, including the Royal Mile and Grass Market. Construction of the New Town was designed to attract the wealthy back to Edinburgh. The heart of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its medieval Old Town, Georgian New Town, and the award-winning modern architecture continuing the contrast between traditional and contemporary. It is easy to see why Edinburgh was once regarded to be the "Athens of the North".

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Places to visit in Edinburgh

Holyrood Palace
Home to the royal residence of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the seat of Scotland's new Parliament. The Palace is well worth a visit with access to the royal apartments, the throne room and the great gallery, housing over eighty 17th century portraits of Scottish Monarchs.

Edinburgh Castle
Set overlooking the city, the Edinburgh Castle offers fantastic views of the surrounding area and over to the Firth of Forth. The assemblage of buildings dating from the 12th to 20th century, reflect the castle's changing role as fortress, royal palace, military garrison and state prison. Here, you can view the Scottish Crown Jewels, and the city's oldest building, the 11th century St Margaret's Chapel, lies within the castle grounds.

Arthur's Seat
If you're feeling energetic, Arthur's Seat provides spectacular panoramic views of the city. The extinct volcano erupted around 340 million years ago and having eroded over time, today less than half the volcano remains. Set in Holyrood Park, to the east of the castle, Arthur's Seat rises 823 feet (251m) above the city.

Scott Monument
Located at the west end of Princes Street on the south side, Scott Monument is one of the most important figures in Scottish literature. The monument was constructed in 1840 as a tribute to novelist Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). If you feel like a challenge, inside the huge structure, 287 steps provide access to the top of the monument offering stunning views across the Forth of Fife.

The Royal Yacht Britannia
Home to the British Royal Family for over forty years, the Royal Yacht Britannia is permanently berthed next to Ocean Terminal in Leith. Embark the floating palace and discover the royal residence as you stroll around the decks exploring the lavish apartments, the charming Royal Deck Tea Room, the cramped crew quarters and the gleaming Engine Room. Alongside the Royal Yacht Britannia is the elegant 1930s Racing Yacht Bloodhound, once owned by the Queen.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Take a journey through time and unveil Scotland's unique history, displayed visually through portraits of those who influenced and inspired it. Explore the lives and achievements of many Scots, past and present from Robbie Burns to Robbie Coltrane.

Luke Simpson
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