I arrived at 7.30am, and checked in to Budget backpackers.  There is no shortage of hostels in Edinurgh, but do book ahead, as they all seem to be full.

Calton Hill, from the North Bridge

The castle from Calton Hill


The New Town


Incomplete war memorial

I found Edinburgh to be overly touristy.  90% of the shops were selling souvenirs and everything seemed to be charging admission for some tacky tour.  I went to some of the free attractions.

Inside the Museum of Childhood - a collection of tea sets, including an electronic one that doesn't work until you say 'please'


Dolls' house furniture


Vocational toys, including the Dan Dare Space Communication Set! Girls get the mangle.


John Knox's house. Free to look at from the outside.


A police box!!! For Dr McWho?


Inside the Scotish parliament. This is the only thing you can take photos of. The architect went mad with the St Andrew's cross motif everywhere else.


Holyrood Palace. I didn't go in. Apparently it's not worth the money.


The Scottish parliament. The things by the windows are supposed to represent curtains being pulled aside, to show that the parliament is transparent.


Salisbury Hill. It's worth going up here if you want a walk, but note that the path is uneven and quite steep.


An old tollhouse. This has the People's Story museum inside, which is unchanged since 1988, so has a lot about strikes and council housing, and why Margaret Thatcher must die.


The Royal Mile


Edinburgh Castle. £13 entry!?! Less if you belong to English Heritage. HPT card doesn't work!

I hadn’t come all this way not to go, and it was worth seeing.   went on the tour to extract maximum value.  It’s worth doing, but don’t expect a big castle with towers, as that’s been destroyed through various wars.

Where the Crown Jewels are. NO PHOTOS! They looked fake anyway.

There’s also the National War Memorial, which is very tasteful.

View from the northern side


Mons Meg, a giant cannon.


Back of the War Memorial (no photos inside, and fair enough too)


The key to the castle!


Inside the Great Hall


Prisoner accommodation from the Napoleonic wars. They put several hundred men in here.


A cell door with 18th century graffiti


View to the west

There’s still an active garrison here, though small.  The Royal Scots and Dragoons have museums.

Colour captured by Ensign Ewart from the 'Invincible' regiment of Napoleon's army


View to the top of the castle


Officers' mess

They also have the National Military Museum here.  It’s quite small but included in the entry fee.  I found the first section to be quite boring.

A field marshall's baton


The Otago Regiment's flag

They have quite a good gallery of recruiting posters.

Really? Dancing in the afternoon under a tree?


19th century recruiting flag gets straight to the point - money.

I found the gallery about soldier equipment to be much more interesting.

The development of body armour


Uniforms. The one on the right is an experimental colour from the 19th century. On the left is the last kilt worn in combat, 1940




The main gate with 3 sets of doors and a portcullis

I left and headed back to the hostel.  It was full with a German school group.  They may keep a lid on them at home but they do rather take over a place abroad.  Hmm – that seems familiar somehow. . .

The next day I went around trying to find something to do.  Nothing opens until 10am except souvenir shops.  At 10am I went to Gladstone’s Land, a medieval shop fitted out in periods from the 17th and 18th centuries.  If you aren’t a national Trust member it is £6.  The guides are very good but it only has 5 rooms.  One has an original painted ceiling from the 17th century.  They also have some travelling spice cases and baby walkers.  The baby walkers were made to measure so that they wouldn’t fit through doorways.  Safe!  They also had little cloth helmets for the children to wear so they didn’t bump their heads on corners.  Awww.

Sir Walter Scott's memorial

I headed to the bus station and caught the 12.30 to York (£35).  On the way we stopped for an hour in Newcastle.  It was long enough to pop in to the city centre.   I saw the football palace (Newcastle United stadium) and a wall.

13th century

There’s also a shopping mall.  They had some very nice calendars.  Commando comic covers anyone?  Official RAF calendar?

2 thoughts on “Edinburgh

    • I went to the ‘Real Mary Kings Close’ attraction, saw the admission price, collapsed from shock, and walked in the opposite direction!

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