About Christian W
Lives in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Since Nov 2013
35-49 year old male
I've lived in Scotland for most of my adult life but am now largely based in the Montreal, Canada. I've been a travel writer for over a decade and have worked on projects big and small: from guidebooks through magazine and newspaper articles to apps and website content. Even when not working I'm always exploring – usually on one of my ten bicycles, and often using the one with the child seat for my young daughter!
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods
Speciality Museums, Natural History Museums
Lookouts, Geologic Formations
Points of Interest & Landmarks
This historic thoroughfare in the heart of the Old Town is a natural focal point for visitors exploring the city – as its many souvenir shops suggest.
Edinburgh Castle is arguably the city's most iconic landmark and a great place to orient yourself. From its ramparts, you overlook Old Town roofs, grand Georgian New Town facades and, beyond all that, the Firth of Forth and the Pentland hills. There's plenty of Scottish history – mostly military history – in the castle exhibitions, too.
There's much more to the Old Town than just the Royal Mile. Take a moment to explore its cobbled streets on your way from the castle to the National Museum, dropping down to Victoria Street (there's a shortcut down some stairs just downhill from the roundabout below the castle) to the Grassmarket, and then climbing back up along Candlemaker Row (at its eastern end). Along the way, you'll pass by small, interesting boutique shops and a series of good pubs – both of which you might like to return to later!
Scotland's most popular attraction by visitor numbers (1.5 million annually) has two strong collections: The modern sandstone wing charts Scottish history in full, while the 19th-century main building is packed with natural history and curiosities from around the world. Because the museum is free, it's a great place to come for just an hour or so, without feeling guilty that you've not seen enough.
This iconic city landmark offers much more than just great city views – its landscape is also a microcosm of rural Scotland, complete with heather, lochs, rocky outcrops and moody ruins. It's also a pretty good workout which will require a couple of hours.
This small, steep hill is scattered with architectural oddities and follies that were once supposed to make Edinburgh the 'Athens of the North'. They remain intriguing, but just as impressive are the views over Princes Street, the New Town and down to the large Leith neighbourhood.
While busy with trams, cars, buses and all the other usual city-centre hustle and bustle, Princes Street is arguably Edinburgh's most important street. A major shopping strip beside the main railway station, it's another key orientation point, with plenty of interesting spots dotted along it, and fantastic castle views. Gardens run almost all the way along one side of the street too, so there are plenty of spots to drop after you've shopped.
Edinburgh's answer to Harrods department store in London oozes timeless style and offers carefully-selected quality stock. While its cafe is nothing special, and it's unlikely you'll find a bargain here, the kids' toy section is particularly good for it's size.
This Grand Neo-Classical art museum is relatively compact, but its collection of art is impressive nonetheless. Here, Old Masters rub shoulders with impressionists and some lesser-known, but accomplished, Scottish artists.
Apart from being attractively landscaped, Princes Street Gardens is also one of the best places in Edinburgh to rest sore feet while still absorbing the sights: The castle rises overhead and there's people-watching galore – from boisterous teenagers to strolling pensioners to curious visitors from all corners of the globe.
If you have time and an interest in the city's architectural history, be sure to head to this New Town mansion and discover some fascinating facts about the family who originally resided here.