My cousin would disagree. She falls in love everywhere, and having been on at least three of Insight’s tours, she can do an hour at least with pictures of each trip. I’m really hoping she goes on another one soon.
It was interesting to hear from other guests on the coach just why they chose a coach tour. Some of them were single and wanted companionship. Some were couples that had been on other Insight Tours, enjoyed them and wanted to experience more, while others were new to the idea, and liked not driving.
We all had a different “must go back to.” We also all had a different place that we’d dreamed of seeing. An Australian woman waited years to visit Stonehenge, while a retired minister has longed to see Bath.
I had been to Edinburgh years ago when I covered the British Election, and followed Margaret Thatcher all day in the pouring rain. I saw nothing, but took hours of notes on what she said. The Prime Minister’s husband Dennis slept through much of her speeches. I’m a bit bemused I found this city so compelling on my second visit.
It is really two towns; the medieval Old Town which contrasts sharply with the Georgian architecture of the New Town. It is a very walkable compact city at home with its landscape, with buildings perched on top of crags overshadowed by cliffs.
The Old Town is medieval tenements, and of course the Royal Mile with Edinburgh Castle on top of Castle Rock. From the west end of the Royal Mile you can see beyond Arthur’s seat and over the waters of the Firth of Forth.
Even if your clients aren’t interested in the amazing history, they will love the buskers, the action in the street, the pubs, the restaurants and of course the shops.
And yes, there are many stores selling cashmere.
There was a shop that seemed to specialize in anything tartan even dog collars. I resisted buying McDuff the Golden, a kilt, but he is sporting a red tartan collar.
Dog people will love the story of Greyfriars Bobby, who waited by his master’s grave for 14 years, and whose statue now sits proudly in the middle of a road facing a pub named after him. Bobby was a Skye terrier who lived in nineteen-century Edinburgh. Jock a Pentland Hills farmer and Bobby were inseparable and after old Jock died, the dog made his home in the Greyfriars Kirkyard, loved and cared for by the locals, who were touched by the bond between the dog and his late master.
Tourists when they visit the castle can peek at the soldier’s dog cemetery. They will also notice lots of great dogs are on leads, walking their people.
The New Town is the world’s most unspoiled example of Georgian town planning and architecture.
Robert Louis Stevenson called the city “a dream in masonry and living rock.”
Our trip included a city tour and Edinburgh Castle. This gave us a glimpse of what we wanted to do in our free time, and there was lots of time, as we spent two nights in the city.
The National Gallery of Scotland is free, as is the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and many other museums. Tell your clients to keep this in mind for the rainy days.
The Holyroodhouse Palace is open to the public except when the Queen is in residence, and for those like me who are fascinated by Castles and Stately Homes that people still live in. Floors Castle & Gardens and Hopetoun House, called Scotland’s finest stately home are both near Edinburgh. www.floorscastle.com
. This is a must for Downton Abbey fans.
Just 20 minutes by the #26 bus is Portobello a traditional beach resort. There is all-weather swimming ( including Turkish Baths.)
Next time I go, Georgian House in Charlotte Square is on my bucket list as is Gladstones Land.
I did visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, but two hours wasn’t long enough to stop for lunch on board. Later I heard it was excellent. You feel as though Queen Elizabeth has just stepped off the ship. A fascinating glimpse into her private world.
Perhaps if I hadn’t been so mesmerized by the streets and streets of grey stone buildings in New Town, and the confusion of the buildings in the old town, I might have spent more time seeing castles and museums, but the more I walked, the more I wanted to walk.
But I’ll be going again, and maybe again, and I’ll certainly stay in the Missoni Hotel just steps away from the Royal Mile.
Of course I will miss all the great people on the coach, and John our knowledgeable guide.