Royal Mile Walk showcases the sights from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. if someone asks us ‘what to see in Edinburgh Scotland’ ‘Royal Mile walk’ will be at the top of our answer. In case you haven’t read about some of the Royal Mile attractions in our previous blog, you can read it here.
In this blog, we continue from where we left off last time- we will tell you a bit about Edinburgh Castle although we didn’t visit the castle this time. But don’t worry, we have visited the castle in the past and so we can give you a sneak peek into the castle history and sights.
Castle Sights and Expereinces
We didn’t go inside this time due to the pandemic situation. If you go in, try to time your visit to see the daily gun shot which happens precisely at 1 PM. This famous time signal is located just outside the Redcoat Café. If you pass through the Portcullis Gate, it’s on the right at the far end of the Argyle Battery. They fire the gun every day at 1pm, except on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day. A huge crowd gather to enjoy the spectacle. If you are walking on Princes Street below, it is likely that the gun sound will take you by surprise.
Tip: Make sure you find a vantage position to see the gun go off. Be there well in advance as there will be quite a big crowd by 1 PM. Also, follow the movements of the volunteer District Gunner from Edinburgh’s 105th Regiment Royal Artillery who fires the gun. If distracted, you are likely to miss the actual moment.
See the Crown Jewels
The Scottish Crown Jewels are worth seeing too. However, most of the time you’ll have to stand in a long queue to get into the tower displaying the jewels.
Tip: Photography is not permitted inside the tower. Also, you have to pass through some narrow passageways.
Apart from the tower storing the crown jewels, there are several other towers, museums and a small chapel. There is cafe near the chapel.
A detailed visit of the castle will take at least 3-4 hours. The view of the city is fabulous from the top of the castle.
Tip: Better get the audio guide so that you get the most out of your visit. There is a wealth of information in the audio guide, which makes it totally worthwhile.
The Walk Back – Off the Royal Mile
Once you come out of the castle and walk down the Castlehill, you’ll find several attractions on your right hand side. You can try the Scotch Whiskey Experience to know how they make Scotch whiskey, eat at one of the eateries or go on a walking tour.
Don’t forget to pause for a minute and listen to the bagpiper stationed at the bottom of Castlehill. There is something special about the tunes he play. You can take a picture with him too. Be kind enough to donate some money if you can.
Something for the Potterheads
At Lawnmarket, take a diversion towards the George IV bridge for some unique views of the city. As you walk past the Scottish National Library, you’ll find a small café painted in red. Harry Potter fans, that’s Elephant House for you – J K Rowling spent many a days writing Harry Potter in this small café. If you go in, don’t forget to visit the toilet – the graffiti on walls by Harry Potter fans are said to be very interesting.
Walk to the opposite direction, towards Princes Garden. There, a tall structure would attract your immediate attention. That’s Scott Monument, dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. This 200-feet tall structure is said to be world’s second largest monument dedicated to a writer.
Back to Royal Mile
Back on Royal Mile, pause to look at the Heart of Midlothian. Enjoy the stroll back to Canongate – this might be a good time to remember all those famous Scots – Alexander Fleming, Alexander Graham Bell, James Watt, Arthur Conan Doyle, R L Stevenson, Adam Smith, Sir Walter Scott and others.
At Canongate church, visit the grave of Adam Smith. Further down the road is the house he lived in. Soon we are back at Holyrood after experiencing the unique sights and sounds of Edinburgh.
There is more to see in this beautiful city. We shall leave those for some other time, shall we?
You can watch the sights mentioned in the blog in this video.