Edinburgh

This handsome capital has an eclectic mix of medieval and Georgian architecture.  One of the city’s most obvious attractions is Edinburgh Castle, first founded in the 7th century. It’s still the headquarters for several of the British Army’s Scottish regiments and, at noon each day, the sound of a cannon fired from the castle’s battlements reverberates throughout the city. The castle sits at one end of the Royal Mile with the Palace of Holyrood house at the other. Founded as a monastery in 1128, Holyrood house is the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II.

Princes Street is the shopping district, while George Street is home to bars and restaurants. Those with a love of art will want to visit the National Portrait Gallery. Alternatively see life as it was once lived by touring the city’s remaining underground vaults. For the more active visitor the view from the volcanic sill of Arthur’s Seat may be worth a refreshing, if slightly strenuous walk.

Cruise ships have 3 options to dock/anchor Queensferry, Leith, or Rosyth.   However, Rosyth is not often used and Leith can only be used by the smaller cruise ships.  Most ships do tend to dock at Queensferry.  The larger ship also tender into Newhaven, close to Leith.  There are no Shuttle Service.

If your berth is Queensferry or Rosyth, do get up on deck to glimpse the Forth Bridge as you sail under it.

Leith is the closest to the city and is home to the Royal yacht Britannia.  Edinburgh is about 10 mins by bus/taxi.   There are HOHO buses available, every 15 mins in high season, and 30 mins otherwise.  Taxis are available outside the terminal.

To get into town when leaving tender at South Queensferry.   Sometimes there is a local coach company at the dockside offering shuttle transfers into Edinburgh for approx. £10pp return.  By train, turn left and take path and steps on the right up to Dalmeny railway station and catch the train,  it is a steep path and a lot of steps, about 120, but easily doable unless unsteady on feet.  Trains are every 20 mins and the journey is 15 mins.

To get into town from Newhaven.  Just off the port area you can catch one of two local buses that go to Edinburgh, or you can take the free shuttle to the Ocean Terminal where Britannia ver1 is berthed.  From here you can visit said ship, or just outside there is a better choice of buses, about 6 different ones, going into Edinburgh.  Cost from whatever area you want to go from is £1.50pp single or £4pp all day.  You just do your sums.  The journey is about 15 mins and takes you into Princess Street.

Suggestions

Edinburgh is a superb city; you could not possibly do the place justice in just a few hours off a cruise ship.  You really need at least three days to fully enjoy.  There is a HOHO tour bus.  Full tour takes an hour and buses run every 20min in summer and 30 min in autumn/spring.  There are 13 places you can join the bus.

Close to Princess Street is: The Scott Monument Tower, 287 steps with various levels, Climb up Carlton Hill for fantastic views over the city and the port area, walk through the East and West Gardens.

It has a mix of architecture.  One of the city’s biggest attractions is Edinburgh Castle, it dominates the skyline.   The castle can be a bit of a mixture, queue wise. After buying your tickets head up to the Castle then onto the Castle Keep and follow this with the Scottish Crown Jewels.  There is a lot to see and worth the entrance money overall, but the jewels were probably not worth a long wait.  Remember that at noon each day the cannon is fired from the battlements.

At the other end of the Royal Mile is the Palace of Holyrood house the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II.  The Scottish Parliament has a free behind the scenes tour.  This takes you into offices and corridors, the committee rooms and into the debating chamber. Very interesting!

Those with a love of art will want to visit the National Portrait Gallery. Alternatively see life as it was once lived by touring the city’s remaining underground vaults. For the more active visitor the view from the volcanic sill of Arthur’s Seat may be worth a refreshing, if slightly strenuous walk.

Other places of interest are St Giles Cathedral and remember that Greyfriars Bobby is famous in Edinburgh.  The Museum of childhood, just off the Royal Mile is a step back in time to our childhood and Rosslyn chapel is worth a short visit too if you are a da Vinci code fan.

For shopping then it is onto the Royal Mile, filled with souvenir shops, mostly selling kilts, whisky and items with Scottie dogs on.  So, Princes Street is the shopping district, while George Street is home to bars and restaurants.  If you like good whisky then Royal Mile Whiskies on the High Street (opposite St Giles Cathedral) is worth a visit.

 

By Peter Dagnall


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