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48 Hours in Edinburgh

48 Hours in Edinburgh

Pedestrian, Public Transport, 11 km, 2 days

Some recommended places to see and visit over a 48 hr stay in Edinburgh!

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Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art   Interesting

74 Belford Road Edinburgh EH43DR
Museums and art

A wood-panelled location houses the sculptures of Bourdelle, Epstein, Hepworth, Moore and Rickey; the museum is found in an imposing neo-classical building. The collection stresses Scottish art of the 20th century it also offers the visitor an excellent insight into the main international movements; nabism and fauvism, German Expressionism, Cubism, primitivism and abstract Russian art, abstract art, Paris School, Nouveau realism, St Ives school, Pop Art and finally minimalism.

A must-see for art buffs. The building is neo-classical but the art it houses is modern and contemporary - with a leaning towards Scottish 20th century artists. The museum is situated within extensive grounds where you can also view a collection of sculpture works. for me, the highlight is a really stunning design by Charles Jencks that comprises a stepped, serpentine mound reflected in three crescent-shaped pools of water.

National Gallery of Scotland   Worth a detour Worth a detour

The Mound Edinburgh EH12EL
Museums and art

This huge, classic style building contains painting collections exhibited in rooms furnished according to the period and connected by arched passageways. The museum exhibits important European works from the Renaissance and Postimpressionist era (Rafael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Monet, Van Gogh). The English school is also well represented with works by Turner, Gainsborough and Constable. Admire the Scottish paintings (Jamesone, Ramsay, McTaggart and the Glasgow School).

The national art gallery of Scotland is a magnificent building and houses works by the likes of Botticelli, Cézanne, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet and Francis Bacon. Admission is free, and there's also the choice of three cafes and restaurants if you want to rest your feet and enjoy some coffee and cake within the museum's beautiful surroundings.

The Scotch Whisky Experience  

354 Castlehill. Royal Mile Edinburgh EH12YT
Industrial tourism and theme park

Here you will find out anything and everything you have always wanted to know about whisky, from the production of the peat to the final bottling and maturation processes.

What visit to Scotland without a chance to sample a 'wee dram'. This is really popular with the tourists and it's a nice way to while away an hour or so. They take you through the distilling process with some amusing stories along the way and there's an opportunity to whet your whistle with a tasting or two. There's also a shop with more than 300 single malt, grain and blended whiskeys to choose from - a scotch lovers paradise!

Edinburgh Castle   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Castlehill Edinburgh EH12YT
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Perched on the Castle Rock site, the castle looks impressive. By turns, fortress, royal residence and military garrison, the castle is an ensemble of buildings built on several levels of a more civil than military appearance and joined by cobbled paths, making it feel like a big village. As well as the esplanade used for the Military Tattoo and the fortifications that afford a superb view of Princes Street, you must see the Scottish crown jewels, housed in the Royal Palace.

OK, it's an obvious choice but Edinburgh Castle is impossible to ignore - dominating the city's past and present both physically and metaphorically. The castle provides the backdrop to the city's annual military tattoo and has been the focal point for much of Edinburgh's royal and military past. Unsurprisingly, given its location on the mound, this is where you'll get some of the best views of the city.

Princes Street Gardens   Interesting

West Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh EH
Nature and gardens

The Nor'Loch valley was filled when development work started on the new town, then made into gardens reserved for the residents of the town. They were finally open to the public in 1876 and today offer an agreeable place to take refuge from the commotion of Prince's street.

This is a really pretty public park in the shadow of the castle. If you're visiting over the Christmas period then you should definitely head this way as it's transformed into a really nice 'Winter Wonderland'. Whenever you're visiting, though, this is a lovely little oasis for anyone who needs half an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Princes Street.

Greyfriars Church and Churchyard  

Greyfriars Place Edinburgh EH12QQ
Religious buildings

The National Covenant was signed (1638) in this 17C Church, of which there is a copy inside. Its cemetery, the oldest in Edinburgh, is famous for its Statue of Greyfriars Bobby, the faithful dog which guarded the tomb of his master for 14years

OK, so Paris may be the final resting place for Jim Morrison, New York may have John Lennon and Grcelands may have the King of Rock'n'Roll himself, but who could fail to be touched by the story of Greyfriars Bobby, the legendary little dog who loyally guarded his master's grave for 14 years before going off to the great kennel in the sky. The church features a small statue of Bobby that has become a favourite stop-off point for dog lovers visiting the city.

Scottish Parliament   Interesting

Committe Chambers Georges IV Bridge Edinburgh EH991SP
Architecture, castles and historic districts

The new Scottish Parliament building is due to be inaugurated in 2004. The design is credited to the Catalonian architect Enric Mirales. The building is formed of groups of small buildings that form a scallop shell shapes, linked together by glass corridors.

A must for all lovers of modern architecture. The building has divided opinion and courted controversy over almost everything including the location, design and choice of architect and, of course, the costs - estimated to have been around 415 million pounds - original estimates were that it would cost between 10 and 40 million. Even the fiercest critics, though, would have to concede that the end result is a master class in design.

Abbey of Holyroodhouse  

Canongate Edinburgh EH88DX
Religious buildings

The Holy Rood monastery (Saint Crucifix) was founded here in 1128 by King David the 1st shortly after the monarch had survived an attack from an enraged stag while hunting in the forest. The roof-less knave is all that remains of these formerly grandiose Abbey. It dates from the late 12 early 13C., an era which is recalled here with some beautiful detailed sculptures. Several kings of England have been buried in the royal tomb, reconstructed by Queen Victoria,

If only the walls could speak. Now a World Heritage Site, these Augustinian abbey ruins were once the site of endless royal weddings, coronations and battles and you can still get a sense of the history as you walk around it today.

Palace of Holyroodhouse  

Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh EH88DX
Architecture, castles and historic districts

A theatre for dramatic events, Holyroodhouse (15 -17C.) was originally a guest house responsible to the Abbey. The Stuart kings converted it into a royal residence and Charles II commissioned William Bruce to design a new layout. The Castle became a royal residence again under Queen Victoria. The buildings of the interior court are a fine example of the renaissance period. Notice the decoration of the State apartments, especially the high relief of the ceilings in the sumptuous day room.

This was the residence for Mary Queen of Scots during her troubled and turbulant reign and, to this day, the State Apartments are used regularly by The Queen and Royal Family for State ceremonies and official entertaining. Tip: It's expensive (£30) but you could opt to book a private evening tour of the palace once it's closed to the general public.

Royal Yacht Britannia   Interesting

Ocean Drive Leith Edinburgh EH66JJ
Museums and art

Britannia set sail from a naval shipyard on the Clyde in April 1953. A symbol of post imperial loyalty, the vessel was decommissioned to in 1997; it had travelled by then more than 2 million kilometres. You can stroll round the floating palace, the engine rooms and the royal apartments and discover the very exact rules, which governed life on board.

Not one you can visit on foot if you're staying fairly central but well worth a bus or cab ride. This is quite literally a floating place and was the chosen 'home from home' for the royal family until its retirement in the late 90s. As you walk around the plush interiors you can almost hear the echoes of the cocktail parties and feel the presence of the many dignataries who have sailed on the boat.

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