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Edinburgh - what you have visited was it worth your time and money?

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Jan 6th, 2011, 01:48 PM
  #1
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Edinburgh - what you have visited was it worth your time and money?

It might seem a crazy question, however I must ask. I've lived n Edinburgh for 5 years now, and I was wondering to finally visit some of the main tourist attractions, like:
1. The Castle
2. Palace of Holyrood
5. The Royal Yacht Britannia
6. The Real Mary King’s Close
and maybe
Scotch Whisky Experience (could I call it main tourist attraction?) and
Dynamic Earth

Have I missed any?

I've visited 'Camera Obscura' (I think its more the kids' thing)
'Writers Museum' (small and interesting, if you are interested in writers
and claimed 'The Scottish Monument' (that was fun)
I've been also to National Galleries - all worth the visit

I have been so caught up with work that I really have had no time and desire (through the unfavourable recommendations by my Scottish friends) to visit any of the above places.

I'm deeply interested what do you all think. Should I give it a try or simply save myself a few pounds and being caught up in 'must see' tourist attractions?

Just one another thing, two days ago in the press Princess Street has been labelled a 'big bus station'. It caused a bit of a stir at my work lol
Many people I know rather stay away from there, however as I walking tourist do you think it's a good street with plenty to do there or rather the opposite?
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Jan 6th, 2011, 02:06 PM
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I wouldn't personally include Dynamic Earth -but for families w/ kids it is probably better.

On the other hand, I wouldn't call the Camera Obscura a 'kids thing'. I think it is really fascinating - sort of a centuries-old web cam.

I would definitely add St Giles Cathedral, the Museum of Scotland, and Gladstone's Land.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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Have visited the first three on your list and thought each was very worthwhile. Also, you should add the National Museum of Scotland, which is excellent.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 02:28 PM
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Edinburgh was on my bucket list until last year. We did the first 4 things on your list and definitely think they are worth it, including other places in Scotland.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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I didn't expect to love the Castle as much as I did.

Also, I very much liked the National Gallery. After the art there is a nice shop and cafe downstairs.

Actually, I really just loved Edinburgh - you are lucky to live there!

There was a literary walk I would have liked to do but ran out of time.

I bet my favorite author - Alexander McCall Smith - must occasionally do a book signing or reading. I sure wouldn't miss the opportunity to meet this prolific and kind-hearted author.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 02:52 PM
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While at Holyrood Palace (don't miss Holyrood Abbey), and if the weather allows, walk up to Arthur's Seat. I also think the Museum of Scotland is excellent and at St. Giles be sure and visit the Thistle Chapel.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 03:08 PM
  #7
kja
 
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Of the places you list, I definitely thought the Castle and Holyrood Palace (including the Abbey) were worth it - and at the time, I was traveling on a shoestring. And I add my voice to those who recommend the National Museum of Scotland and St. Giles (including the Thistle Chapel).
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Jan 6th, 2011, 04:00 PM
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Where'd # 3 and 4 go?

Would definitely visit the Castle and Palace. Your Scottish friends are either (1) jaded or (2) neaps -- you can tell which by asking if they like the Parliament Building; if yes, they're (2).

If you've lived in Edinburgh for five years, haven't you kinda had the Scotch Whisky Experience? We skipped without regret because Royal Mile Whiskies (High Street) and the Cadenhead shop on Canongate gave great advice and had great product without the hype and the unrepentant tourist trappiness (made that word up my own self, I did).

That said, if you've a sense of humor and like Scotland, read some Chris Brookmyre (Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks is one of his better ones) and thank me later.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 04:05 PM
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Didn't spend much time in Edinburgh, was there for the Edinburgh Tattoo
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Jan 6th, 2011, 05:25 PM
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I think the Castle, Holyrood House and the Royal Mile are all fascinating. Loved exploring all of those incredibly decrepit looking houses (that Im sure are worth a fortune). There was also a very odd restaurant (very witchy, full of spider and bats and whatever) that we were told to go to - and was actually quite good (although I could have done with normal decor).
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Jan 6th, 2011, 05:31 PM
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5 years in Edinburgh??? I am jealous. I have only had 2 days.

The castle is absolutely worth a visit - listen to the audio tour; it is very informative.

Holyrood was closed for a state function when we were there, but I certainly would think it worthwhile.

I personally really enjoyed Mary King's Close. I am fascinated by medieval history and this was a glimpse into a part of Edinburgh you will otherwise never see (unless you own a really old house on the Royal Mile, I suppose). The tour is a bit cheesy, with the guides in character trying to scare you and all, but the stories are based on fact and the whole atmosphere really takes you back in time.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 05:39 PM
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Berclv, I love Edinburg – went there with my cousin a few years back in late May. Couldn’t believe how chilly it was, but bracing. I returned last June under difficult circumstances. I was on an Insight tour of Britain, flying solo as I have often done. Fell in York at ten in the morning. Just strolling back to the bus looking at a beautiful flower garden when I went flying. Knew immediately that something was wrong. The tour director wanted me to go to the hospital in York, but I said, “No way am I going to keep these folks waiting – let’s head to Edinburg.” It was a long ride.

Long story short – got to Edinburg, went to the Royal Infirmary which I thought was an excellent hospital. I could not believe that they were not interested in my American medical coverage. Service was free! (I know that those in the UK pay dearly in taxes for this coverage.)Doctor was great – told me I had a broken wrist that needed surgery. I said, “Thanks, Doctor, but I will return to Boston tomorrow to address it.” They then put my wrist in a cast which made it much more confortable. The folks at the Roxburghe Hotel on Charlotte Square were great in helping get reservations to London and then home.

I only saw the city that time from a cab during trips to the hospital and airport. The weather was salubrious. The morning I left I meandered near the hotel to Rose Street, checking out the shops and pubs including Dirty Dick’s.

I definitely expect to return to that lovely city.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 10:33 PM
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The Botanics, the Scottish Modern Art Galleries near Dean Village (15 minutes walk from Shandwick Place), walking the Water of Leith from the Modern Art Galleries to Stockbridge, walking by the Royal Observatory, National Museum of Scotland, Gladstone's Land, visiting the Scottish Parliament building, Scottish National Portrait Gallery (when it re-opens), the zoo, Britannia, the 200 (seemingly) FREE museums immediately off the Royal Mile, 20 shows a day during August, eating at the Mosque Kitchen, listening to music at Sandy Bell's, tea at Loopy Lorna's.
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Jan 7th, 2011, 02:57 AM
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If you hurry you can visit the Botanics, and museums whilst they are still free. With the austerity tax cuts they are sure to have to start charging a fee.

I like Rossyln Chapel. On the way home stop at the Pentland hills. There is a good place to walk where the ski center was (is? I don't know if it closed.) You can get a great view of the city from there.

Have you crossed the Forth on the rail brdige yet? It is worth going to North Queens Ferry and walking around the coast.
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Jan 7th, 2011, 05:09 AM
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Ski Centre - "IS". And you pay for the greenhouses at the Botanics - but they are worth it.
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Jan 7th, 2011, 06:33 AM
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>If you hurry you can visit the Botanics, and museums whilst they are still free. With the austerity tax cuts they are sure to have to start charging a fee.<

There are no plans to start charging entrance fees at our free galleries.
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Jan 7th, 2011, 08:00 AM
  #17
czk
 
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Something we stumbled on that no one has said is the Storytelling Centre

http://www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk/

Very fun and not something we would have thought to do had we not walked past it.
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Jan 7th, 2011, 10:03 AM
  #18
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Thank you for all the wonderful comments.

BigRuss what do you mean by 'neaps'??? and I'll definitely look into Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks

latedaytraveler, so sorry to hear about your wrist, what an unfortunate accident to cut your trip short. I hope you will come back to Edinburgh really soon.
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Jan 7th, 2011, 11:13 AM
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Edinburgh is on my list of places to visit, so I read this thread. I wanted to comment on the Scottish friends who have recommended against visiting the places that the city is known for.

I grew up in a tourist town (Santa Cruz) and I live near one of the most heavily-visited cities anywhere (SF). There are a lot of people who turn their noses up at visiting any of the attractions because they are "touristy". It is "uncool" for a local to visit Alcatraz, for example, even though Alcatraz is a really interesting part of SF history. I've never understood the desire to ignore the history and culture of your own area just because the tourists come to see it - and I really think that people do vistors a diservice when they tell them not to go see the sights.

Anyway - I say, ignore the jaded locals and go see some of the main sights in Edinburgh. In your 5 years there, you have had plenty of opportunities to see off-the-beaten-path parts of the city. It would be a shame not to see the beaten-path things too just because they are popular.
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Jan 7th, 2011, 11:43 AM
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1. The Castle -YES
2. Palace of Holyrood - SO SO
5. The Royal Yacht Britannia - YES
6. The Real Mary King’s Close - YES
Rossyln Chapel - YES
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