Edinburgh: City of Medieval Times

20 Ara 2015

Did you know?
Scotland does not belong to England even geographically. In fact, in the early period, Scotland was an island located in the South Pole. I know, it does not sound logical. But our planet is restless. It has been moving continuously. After moving for a long time Scotland arrived to the North and came together with England. Of course all of those things happened many millions years ago.


In Edinburgh walking through sandy colored buildings is like walking in the medieval times. That was my favorite part of the experience in Edinburgh. I wanted go off the beaten track in Edinburgh and tried to do “My Best” to explore the locality for two weeks. I summed up my favorites in this article for you. Enjoy!

In Edinburgh, I started to explore lovely old town Royal Mile, Gras Market, new town Prince Street and George Street… What about Edinburg Big Wheel, Scott Monument, Castle? It was impossible not to notice them. They are Edinburgh’s Highlights. I think, as a visitor you will anyway see those places and there is enough information available. Therefore I would like to share with you just some nice pictures from Edinburgh’s Highlights as a slide show:


On top of that, I would like to share with you some other recommendations which you may consider during your visit in Edinburgh.

Dean Village: After exploring the old town “Royal Mile” and the new town, there is one another place which takes you to medieval time through amazing old houses and the lush nature. You should not forget to take your camera with you. I think, walking along the river (The water of Leith) while the sun is shining is like a breathtaking moment. You can easily switch off from the real world. If you are interested in modern art you can visit the National Modern Art Gallery as well.


Calton Hill
If you would like to take beautiful pictures of Edinburgh you should definitely go there. I was impressed by the panaromic view from this hill and took a lot of pictures. Do you know that Edinburgh is known as „city of Athens of the North“? Calton Hill is one of the most visible proofs of that.


Christmas Time – everywhere is full of lights, full of fun…

German Markets
I was in Edinburgh during Christmas time. The first thing that I had about the city was the German market. It was quite interesting to see German culture in Edinburgh. There, you can spend time, eat something (you can find even German food) or drink something. It is quite nice, but having said that, it is quite expensive.

Street of Lights
Edinburgh’s Royal Mile was spectacularly lit up on St. Andrew’s Day. It was part of the capital’s Christmas celebrations, with the music show taking place twice a day until December 24.

Street of Lights

Street of Lights

some more pictures from Christmas Time:


Some pictures from Leith…


The National Scottish Museum
I would highly recommend you visit National Museum especially the earth, animal and culture sections. I have never seen such a lot of children having fun in any museum. You will definitely enjoy yourself there.
Well I can honestly say that I thought, it is a big museum with lots of information. Therefore I might have got lost easily amongs the sections. The bigger the museums are, the harder it’s to find your way. In actual fact, through the one-hour-guided tour I got the first initial and essential information. After the tour I knew that what the highlights of the museum were and I was able to choose sections that I wanted to discover. At the end of the day I had lots of fun and got lots of new information on animals, our planet, cultures. But having said that, I was disappointed by the history section. There is no chronological order on the first and second floor which makes the content too complicated to follow. There are a lot of objects from history, but there is no real connection between them. If you are not familiar with Scottish and British history, you would probably get lost.

You can quickly go through the history section and focus on animal and planet section. That would be the best way to enjoy your visit in museum.

The National Scottish Museum

The National Scottish Museum

The Scottish Parliament: The four inspiration: Compassion, Integrity, Justice, Wisdom

The Scottish Parliament is a place which I would definitely recommend you not miss. There are two special reasons for that.

The first reason is its thought-provoking design. I have never seen such a place that every single design element has a special meaning. You have to be prepared to be impressed by each single detail and inspiration behind it. For instance, the shape of windows covered by wood is not just a window. They have been designed like a curtain to highlight transparency. Or shapes on the wall of the debate chamber seem like Scottish whisky bottles at a first glance. But they are not. Indeed, each of them represents the Scottish people without emphasizing any difference among people such as ethnicity, gender…
Well speaking frankly, in my opinion, all of those details are “too much”. In addition to that, I think, they should have used less concrete material in the design. Nevertheless it does not change the reality that the Scottish Parliament has a unique design which absolutely has to be experienced.

Debate Chamber

Debate Chamber and shapes on the wall

If you are very interested in politics and would really figure out how the Scottish Parliament works and what are the matters that they deal with (devolved matters) and doesn’t deal with (reserved matters), you should definitely visit it. The people there are very enthusiastic to share with you all information that you need. They organize a guided tour which takes an hour. You can find out all details through that tour. You only need to book it in advance and an entrance is free. I was really impressed by our visit, especially by the debate chamber. If you would like to make your trip to the Parliament more unique you should attend debate sessions. There are 296 seats available for the public… Maybe one of them is for you…

Did you know?
The Scottish Parliament was supposed to cost 40 Million pounds, but the cost ended up being 10 times higher than expected which provoked long discussion and caused controversy in Scotland. It seems the discussion will not end. What about the design? Well, some Scottish people do like but some of them do not. I am somewhere in the middle.

The Scottish Whisky which stands for the country…

Either you like Whisky or you have never tried it before, “Whisky Tasting” might me very nice experience during your visit in Edinburgh. Doesn’t sound interesting? If you think, the whisky tasting speaks to you then Kilderkin is one of the right place for it with a really nice ambient. It would approximately cost 20-25 pounds with lots of fun.

If you would like to buy Whisky as a present or just for yourself, I would suggest the Cadenhead Whisky Shop. They are Scotland’s oldest independent bottler, and their shop is perfectly located on Royal Mile. However, that’s only one option in the huge range that they offer, they have bottles from all over the world that fit budgets large and small. What makes them unique? They have non industrial bottles and custom make labels to create a personalized feeling, something special.

Do you know how Whisky became popular in Britain?
Well, I was told that, British people used to drink Brandy. But sometime around the 19th century, because of a disease which wiped out much of the grape crops, they were not able to produce brandy anymore. It was the chance for Whisky to become popular and to penetrate the whole world…

The taste of Scotland…
Have you ever heard about Haggis?
Haggis is a traditional food made of chopped meat and a lot of spices. What makes Haggis unique? After reading the ingredients you might think that “oh no, I can’t eat it”, trust me: it is really delicious. Well, it is made of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs and is cooked in the animal’s stomach. It is generally served with mash potatoes and turnip. Fortunately I was in Edinburgh on St. Andrew’s Day which is very special in Britain. My host family cooked Haggis and told me that it is a British tradition to eat Haggis with the whole family members on St. Andrew’s Day… Haggis’s taste is very similar to Turkish meat with lots of spice. It is up to you whether to try it or not. But you know now, what the haggis is.

You will see everywhere Shortbread, Fudge and Tablet which are special for Britain. Just try them. And Oat biscuits. They are my favorite.. Tea Time – If you are coffee lover, like me, you should maybe give up your habit for a while and enjoy tea with milk in Edinburgh…

What about the weather in Edinburgh?

The most challenging thing that I experienced in Edinburgh was unpredictable weather. Well, speaking frankly, I have never experienced such difficult weather conditions before: Cold, rainy, windy but sometimes suprisingly sunny. As I said, something which is not foreseeable. It might be rainy in the morning but in the afternoon the weather might surprisingly brighten up. But most probably the weather is cold and rainy and to make matters worse, it is windy at the same time. That means my umbrella was useless most of the time because of the strong wind. Well, I believe that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
You should definitely to be prepared for the weather.

Even if Christmas time is fabulous with all lights, christmas events, I would highly recommend you plan your trip in May or June. You can enjoy the long day light in those months. Or you can come to Edinburgh in August and enjoy the summer music festival… That’s up to you!

Some nice places to eat/drink something in Edinburg:

Coffee & Tea Time: Fredericks Coffee House (Fredericks St.), eteaket Tea and Brew Lab (in old city – this cafe is my favorite)

Delicious soup / Sandwich for lunch time: Castello Coffee Co (Castle St.), The Rosehip (Rose St.), Social Bite Cafe where George Clooney has recently visited. Social Bite Cafe donates all its profits to homeless people!

Bar & Restaurants: Ryan’s Bar, The newsroom Bar & Eatery

To warm up after the castle visit: Jolly Judge – Top of Royal Mile

Food Pubs on Royal Mile: Whiski, Worlds End, Royal Mile Tavern

Live Music: Sandy Bells (Forest Road – folk music pub), Royal Oak (Infirmary Street – folk music pub)

and The Jazz Bar
The Jazz Bar which I coincidentally discovered made my Edinburgh experience unforgettable… If you really would like to listen to “very good live music” you should definitely go there no matter what kind of music you like. A lovely place to have a great time…

I hope you enjoy your trip to Edinburgh…

Off the Road on the Track was in Edinburgh!
(30.11.- 13.12.2015)





Gökçe Demirci