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Fast Facts About Edinburgh

Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is a hill that towers over Holyrood Park. There have been claims that this was the original site for King Arthur’s Camelot.

Auld Reekie. Edinburgh’s nickname Auld Reekie comes from the steam and industrial smog that coated the city during the Industrial Revolution.

Burke & Hare. William Burke and William Hare perpetrated a series of murders in Edinburgh in the 1820s. The bodies of those they killed were sold for dissection. Burke’s execution in the Lawnmarket in 1829 drew huge crowds. Hare escaped Scottish justice, but it is believed he met a destitute end across the border in England.

Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh Castle sits on Castle Rock, an extinct volcano at the top of the Royal Mile. The Castle houses the ancient St Margaret’s Chapel – Margaret, wife of Malcolm III, died in Edinburgh Castle in 1093.

Gardyloo. Edinburgh central housed high buildings, and before the benefits of modern sanitation windows proved an easy way to dispose of slops. The cry “Gardyloo” (a bastardisation of a French phrase that meant watch out for the water) would warn passers by that if they did not move quickly they would get covered in foul smelling liquid...

Inspector Rebus. Ian Rankin’s detective lives and breathes the streets of Edinburgh in a series of crime novels which, once sampled, can create a voracious reading habit.

Princes Street. One of the longest retail roads in Europe this central Edinburgh street is lined on one side with shops; the other side houses Princes Street gardens, in which you will find the Scott Monument – the tower offers stunning views of the city.

St Giles’ Cathedral. Standing proudly mid-way up the left-hand side of the Royal Mile, St Giles’, formerly a church, became a Cathedral under the auspices of Bishop William Forbes in 1635.

The Royal Mile. Edinburgh’s Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace (one of the royal Scottish residences); the journey, which is slightly over a mile, travels several streets including Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate. It is easy to get sidetracked by any number of attractions along the way, from the Museum of Childhood to impromptu ghost tours of the old city.

The Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament building, symbol of Scottish nationalism and devolution, is at the bottom of the Royal Mile. It is well worth booking a tour to learn of the artistic and architectural vision behind a building in which key decisions are made for the nation.

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