Edinburgh Metro Map

Edinburgh Metro Map

THE NEW TOWN

Edinburgh’s New Town is a masterpiece of Georgian design. James Craig, a 23-year-old architect, won the city-planning contest in 1767; his rectangular grid of three parallel streets (Queen, George, and Princes) linking two large squares (Charlotte and St. Andrew) reflects the Scottish Enlightenment’s belief in order.

THE GEORGIAN HOUSE AND THE WALTER SCOTT MONUMENT. The elegantly restored Georgian House gives a fair picture of how Edinburgh’s elite lived 200 years ago. (7 Charlotte Sq. From Princes St. turn right on Charlotte St. and take the second left. Open Apr.-Oct. daily 10am-5pm; Nov.-Dee. and Mar. llam-3pm. £5, students £3.80.) The ElWalter Scott Monument is a Gothic steeple without a church; climb the 287-step staircase for far views stretching out to Princes St. the castle, and the surrounding city. (On Princes St. between The Mound and Waverley Bridge. Open Mar.-Oct. M-Sa 9am-6pm, Su 10am-6pm; Nov.-Feb. daily 9am-3pm. £2.50.)

ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA. Three kilometers northeast of the city center floats one of Edinburgh’s top tourist attractions, the Royal Yacht Britannia. Used by the Queen and her family from 1953 to 1997, Britannia sailed around the world on state visits and royal holidays before going into permanent retirement here. Visitors can follow an audio tour of the entire royal flagship, which remains exactly as it was when decommissioned. (Entrance on the Ocean Terminal’s 3rd fl. Take bus #22 from Princes St. or #35 from the Royal Mile to Ocean Terminal via Leith town center. Open Apr.-Sept. 9:30am-4:30pm; Oct.-Mar. 10am-3:30pm. £8, concessions £4.)

THE NATIONAL GALLERIES

Edinburgh’s National Galleries of Scotland form an elite group, with excellent collections housed in stately buildings and connected by a free shuttle every hour. The flagship is the UNational Gallery of Scotland, on The Mound, which houses a superb collection of works by Renaissance, Romantic, and Impressionist masters, including Degas, Gaugin, Monet, Titian, and Raphael. Be sure not to miss the octagonal room which displays Poussin’s entire Seven Sacre-ments. The basement houses a fine spread of Scottish art. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen St. north of St. Andrew Sq. features the faces of famous Scots. Among its notable members are wordsmith Robert Louis Stevenson, renegade Bonny Prince Charlie, and royal troublemaker Mary, Queen of Scots. The gallery also hosts excellent visiting exhibits of contemporary artists. Take the free shuttle, bus #13 from George St. or walk to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 75 Belford Rd. west of town, to see works by Braque, Matisse, and Picasso. The new Dean Gallery, 73 Belford Rd. specializes in Surrealist and Dadaist art. (All open M-W and FSu 10am-5pm, Th 10am-7pm; longer hours during festival season. Free.)

GARDENS AND PARKS

Just off the eastern end of the Royal Mile, SHolyrood Park is a true city oasis, a natural wilderness replete with hills, moorland, and lochs. Arthur’s Seat, a holy place for Piets and the park’s highest point, affords stunning views of the city and countryside. Traces of forts and Bronze Age terraces dot the surrounding hillside. The walk to the summit takes about 45min. Located directly in the city center and affording fantastic views of the Old Town and the castle, the Princes Street Gardens are on the site of now-drained Nor’Loch, where Edinburghers used to drown their accused witches. The loch has been replaced with impeccably manicured lawns and stone fountains, and on fine summer days all of Edinburgh eats lunch here. The lovely Royal Botanic Gardens are north of the city center. Guided tours wander across the lush grounds and greenhouses. Take bus #23 or 27 from Hanover St. (Open Apr.-Sept. daily 10am-7pm; Oct. and Mar. 10am-6pm; Nov. and Feb. 10am~4pm. Free.)

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