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The Old Town is particularly fascinating and is surrounded by
Medieval intertwining cobbled streets and narrow passageways. In
the early 19th century, the neoclassical New Town was developed
beside the Old Town and was nicknamed the 'Athens of the North'. It
is these different styles of architecture reflecting the past and
the present that give Edinburgh such a unique quality. In 1995,
Edinburgh was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in order to
celebrate and conserve its special character.
Edinburgh has something for everyone. You can wander its
bustling streets just soaking up the atmosphere and relaxing in the
cafes or you can shop in the boutiques, discovering unique gifts,
vintage clothes or designer labels. However, if you want a more
structured day, you can choose from a number of visitor
attractions, museums and art galleries or take a tour on an
open-topped bus to help you appreciate what this impressive city
has to offer. Pick up a brochure from the many information outlets
to discover which attractions suit your tastes - maybe the Royal
Botanic Garden with its tremendous glasshouses and serenity, the
famous Whisky Experience, the National Museum of Scotland or St
Giles' Cathedral? In the New Town you can visit the Scottish
National Portrait Gallery to view paintings of iconic figures like
Mary Queen of Scots and even Sean Connery!
The Old Town's Royal Mile comprises narrow cobbled passageways,
Reformation-period buildings, turrets, churches and secret
courtyards. The Royal Mile is the length of a Scots mile, which is
slightly longer than an English mile; interestingly, the Scots mile
was formally abolished by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland in
1685. The Old Town is at the heart of Edinburgh and showcases
Edinburgh Castle, which sits high on a volcanic rock peering down
on the Palace of Holyroodhouse, located in the shadow of Arthur's
Seat, another extinct volcano and public park adjacent to the
modern Scottish Parliament building. There are numerous visitor
attractions along the Royal Mile with some of the best cafes and
pubs you could hope to find in Scotland. Overshadowed by the
ancient walls of Edinburgh Castle, the nearby Grassmarket is a
vibrant centre that boasts wonderful eating, drinking and trendy
shopping, as well as being the location for historic executions -
the last one took place here in 1784.
In the New Town, you will find gracious Georgian terraces once
inhabited by the great philosophers, scientists and literary
figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. These prominent thinkers
preferred to live in neat, ordered spaces rather than in the dingy
overcrowded Medieval streets of the Old Town. However, later
Victorian Edinburgh earned the nickname of 'Auld Reekie' reflecting
the polluting stench from the machinery of the Industrial
Revolution. Today however, this West End is clean, fresh and
inspiring! It is a haven for high-street and boutique shopping and
long lunch relaxations, while the colourful shop fronts and
fashionable delis provide a unique bohemian atmosphere.
Discover Edinburgh in a way that suits you and rest assured, you
will experience a day to remember.
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