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Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

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Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

Hello

On a Thursday in late July, we will pick up my electric wheelchair at Waterloo Place at 10am and begin our first full day at Edinburgh. May I ask what would be a good walking tour we could join, and if we should join a tour before going to Edinburgh Castle? We have to return the wheelchair to Waterloo Place before 3:45pm. Any suggestions on itinerary for the day are welcome too.

(The previous day we will perhaps go out for a walk after 4pm.)

Thank you.

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1. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

If it were me I would head to the castle after you've picked up the wheels so you can spend as long as you want there and aren't rushing later in the day to make sure you get back in time. There's a lot to see in the castle, I'd say it's a good half day although I'm not sure how much is wheelchair accessible (unless user can get out to walk short distances?) and bear in mind some of it may be on cobbles. If you start there then you can work you way down the Royal Mile at your own speed towards Holyrood.

If you chose a walking tour I'd make sure that the route is suitable for a wheelchair - either from the tour company or on googlemaps using streetview as they might use some short cuts and alleys that it wouldn't get down. I'm thinking in particular of some of the closes that run off the Royal Mile and have several flights of steps.

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2. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

Thank you edinem. This may be a silly question but... Is the gradient of the Royal Mile steep? I'm just wondering if I would feel better going uphill or downhill.

I'm worried if we go to the castle first and have a tour booked in the afternoon, we may feel like in a bit of a rush either way. Or are there good tours where we can just turn up? I saw a free tour from NewEdinburgh, but the reviews seemed a bit mixed. Will check with other local tours.

Thanks again.

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3. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

Btw would you recommend the HOHO bus instead?

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4. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

I've never done a walking tour myself, did the HOHO Bus once and it should get your over a wider area without the need to take the wheelchair up and down hills. I think that would be a good option, your ticket is usually valid over 2 days (but double check) which also gives you the option of using it to get from A to B the next day.

You will have to go uphill on the Royal Mile in order to come downhill if that makes sense because there isn't a road directly to the castle....well there is but it needs climbing ropes almost so I wouldn't recommend!! The best way with a wheelchair for the most gentle gradient is probably to come along from Waterloo Place towards Princes St then turn left up North Bridge and then right onto the Royal Mile and up to the castle that way. The other options are up Cockburn Street and The Mound but both are steeper and less direct from where you're picking up your wheels.

If you're in any doubt what the wheels will cope with then do you know about google streetview? If you're in google maps then there's an icon of a yellow person. If you click on it and drag it onto a road it gives a drive through view of the streets which might help you gauge the gradients, cobbles etc. You can spin it round and click the arrows to "drive" along the roads.

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5. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

"Is the gradient of the Royal Mile steep? I'm just wondering if I would feel better going uphill or downhill. "

You are better going to The Castle first, I think I would just get a taxi to The Castle, the driver will be allowed to drop you at the top of The Esplanade, From there Historic Scotland has a wheelchair accessible vehicle that will take you to the highest point of The Castle and you can make your own way down. This page gives you the information that you require. http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/plan/access

As to the gradient of the Royal Mile, I would say it is quite steep much better to walk from The Castle downwards.

If you go to Google Earth select Get Directions - walking - use Palace of Holyroodhouse as your first point and Edinburgh Castle as the second. A blue line will appear, right click on the blue line - click Show Elevation Profile. You will find the average slope is 4.8% with the maximum of 10.2% with a rise of 62.4m over the Royal Mile.

Try a similar exercise with a hill in your own locality.

Edited: 13 May 2014, 17:38
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6. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

I have checked today with the HOHO tour buses and all except the Vintage Mac tour are wheelchair accessible with an electronic ramp to get on and off.

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7. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

Thank you so much. I have drawn out an itinerary for the first two days and they look something like this.

< Day 1 >

9:30am Head to Waterloo Place to borrow electric wheelchair (10am)

10:30am Walk to EDINBURGH CASTLE (Princes St turn left up North Bridge)

1:30pm Return wheelchair to Waterloo Place (Shopmobility closes at 3:45pm :( so won't be able to do it after walking tour)

2:00pm Join FREE WALKING TOUR OF EDINBURGH, see Royal Mile, St. Giles

6:00pm Return home

7:00pm Dinner at somewhere with live music?!?!? (friend's birthday)

< Day 2 >

9:30am Head to Waterloo Place to borrow electric wheelchair (10am)

10:30am Climb CALTON HILL, Visit PRINCES GARDEN

11:30am Visit SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY, Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Art

3:00pm PRINCES STREET, window shopping, FESTIVAL FRINGE

< Day 3 >

We'll be in Leith area, so preferably see the area - gardens, riverside etc.

- -

Now for my questions...

1. Is there a chinatown in Edinburgh? Or somewhere where we can buy rice, either cooked or raw?

2. On arrival at Edinburgh airport, should we take bus 35 to Waverley, and then perhaps a taxi to our apartment in Holyrood? The hotel's estimate is 4-5 pounds from the train station. Are there cabs waiting near the bus station?

3. Would it be feasible doing a walking tour on a manual wheelchair? Or are we better off joining the tour when I'm in my borrowed electric wheelchair? But that would mean joining the 11am tour and not the 2pm one... Will need to re-write my first day's itinerary.

4. With the first two days' itinerary, do we need to take the bus at all? Or is walking to our destinations quite feasible? We'll be staying at Holyrood Aparthotel.

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8. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

There is no Chinatown, but there is a good Chinese supermarket, Pat's Chung Ying, on Leith Walk: I use it occasionally. http://goo.gl/maps/hM3az There's another Hua Xing Chinese Supermarket which is at Newington, well South of the Royal Mile. But there's a small supermarket right outside the aparthotel, on Holyrood Road - it'll do rice, but not the variety of products you find at Pat's.

The 100 bus goes to Waverley Bridge, and this is not a bus station. There's a taxi rank on the Bridge, near where the bus stops.

The 35 bus goes to The Royal Mile, and the Canongate. The bus stop at the Canongate Kirk is pretty near the aparthotel, which lies between the Canongate and Holyrood Road. That might be tempting, but you'd still have to negotiate a footpath (e.g. Bakehouse Close). A Taxi can take to to the door. Overall, I'd say use the 100 to Waverley and take a taxi. Once you have your bearings, later, you can think about access to the Royal Mile via Canongate. http://goo.gl/maps/i1UsG

Combine Princes Street shopping with Princes Street Gardens. The East half of the gardens is easier access than the west half.

The Festival Fringe involves al Fresco outdoors entertainments which take place outside St Giles (Royal Mile) and also next to the Art Gallery (Princes Street). However the FF itself consists of hundreds of shows all over town. Not clear if you intend to book some, or just browse the street party. You are talking about Late July. the Fringe starts 1 Aug, and may take a few days to build up; the Official Festival, serious theatre, dance, classical music etc) starts on 8 August so I presume that's way too late?

Some walking tours may involve negotiating steps. Start investigating these tours now - and ask them for honest advice regarding their routes. Although the walk up or down the royal mile isn't enormously steep (300 feet height over a distance of a mile) the side streets running N an S from the royal mile can be steep and narrow - and many are 'vennels' i.e. foot access, and that's where the majority of the steps are.

Example: files.stv.tv/imagebase/182/410x230/182174-th…

Calton Hill: most people recommend this route, or something similar: walkhighlands.co.uk/lothian/calton-hill.shtml Problem: lots of steps. Calton Hill is feasible by chair, but you have to take the road which runs up the hill behind the old Royal High School.

If you want gardens, the HOHO buses (Heritage or Majestic) stop outside the Royal Botanic Gardens. Tickets are valid for 24 hours on one route - but there are options for 48 hours or multiple routes. The Botanics have a shop and a good restaurant and a cafe - and an art gallery as well as extensive gardens and hothouses. http://goo.gl/maps/p8e0U. Majestic can also take you to Leith. http://edinburghtour.com/tours/majestic-tour - but compare the routes of the other tours as well.

Leith: if you want cafes and restaurants, pubs, head for The Shore (the 35 can take you from Canongate to The Shore). From there, you can cross the sandport bridge and the water of Leith walkway runs southwards right through Edinburgh. It's a mix of riverside paths and ex-railtrack. Or you can head North past the Malmaison to explore the edge of Leith Docks, maybe walk to Ocean Terminal (shopping, Britannia). However Leith itself is not renown for its gardens - with the exception of Leith Links an enormous grassy area but sadly not many distinguishing features.

Buses in general: are geared up for wheelchairs, kids in buggies etc - they have extendible ramps, and low access. Edinburgh people are used to clearing the 'chair' area when someone boards. I think manual rather than electric wheelchair though - Shopmobility buggies might be too big: Shopmobility can advise though. Do you need to take a bus at all? Well that depends on your party's physical fitness, and your own. I'd say - use the local buses, but plan your activities and make a couple of 'clusters' where it's more convenient to walk.

Places to eat: Edinburgh has many; all prices and all styles. Many near you on the Royal Mile or on South Bridge and beyond, the continuation of North Bridge; or George Street/Hanover Street. Or some on Waterloo Place. You need to set a budget though. Give us a little more information about preferences and we can give you lots of recommendations.

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9. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

Thanks Derek G.

From Leith, if we are to look for gardens and more of an open nature area, should we head to Calton Hill maybe, or Portobello Beach? Or the Royal Botanic Gardens or Regents Gardens? I'm just throwing names out there, sorry. I don't really know what would be a good place for a (quiet) afternoon stroll.

I had meant to say taking bus 100 from the airport to Waverley. I see bus 35 takes way longer, about 90 minutes if I'm not mistaken. We'll take a cab from the train station then. Thanks!

For our dinner on the second night, would we have good choices for a budget of £10 - £14 per main course? We have two vegetarians onboard, and none of us drinks, but we wouldn't mind a lively pub scene. Here are some restaurants I came across: The Grain Store, David Bann, Wedgwood, Henderson's (Sunday brunch).

Thanks again.

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10. Re: Walking tour after picking up wheelchair

The Botanic Gardens is lovely (has a café too!) and has some beautiful views across the city - head out of the West gate (by the shop and main entrance) and into Inverleith Park just across the road, there's some cracking views of the castle and town from there. The paths are very wheelchair friendly. I'd suggest getting the no. 8, 23 or 27 bus to Inverleith Row which stops just by the east gate of the botanics. It's a short walk into Stockbridge if you wanted a wander round there and can pick up a 24, 29 or 42 bus back up to town.

lothianbuses.com/assets/files/route-map.pdf

Totally agree with you about not getting the no.35 from the airport, live is too short for that bus route!!

David Banns is supposed to be very good although not sure it will come into your price range. Any restaurant should have at least one veggie option for each course. If you look on websites like 5pm.co.uk a lot of places do special offers or you may get better food in that price range if you dine off something like an early evening or "pre theatre" deal before 6:30 or 7pm. Those sort of offers normally want your table back for a second sitting later in the evening but if you're wanting to go to the pub afterwards that should work out fine!