Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and the home of the Scottish Parliament since 1997. Famous for hosting the world's biggest annual international arts festival every August, it attracts more than one million overseas visitors every year, making it the UK's second most popular tourist destination after London.
Edinburgh – Been There

Scotland's capital grows in confidence

Photo by Graeme Stewart

Edinburgh – Been There Scotland's capital grows in confidence

Beside Edinburgh Cathedral stands a lead statue of King Charles II, the oldest in Scotland. It was erected in 1685, the year of his death, and marks perhaps the last time Scotland and England fully agreed on a monarch.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

King Charles’ son, King James VII of Scotland, was overthrown by the Dutch William of Orange, widening a schism between Protestants and Catholics that led directly to the Jacobite Risings (“Jacobus” is Latin for James). The differences persist to this day; the red Scottish post boxes do not carry the same royal cypher as the rest of the “United” Kingdom.

I ask Highland tour guide David Withers what makes someone Scottish. “Having a deep love for your country,” he says. “It tugs on your heart to live in such a beautiful place that so many people pay so much to come see. I get it for free.”

At bottom of the Royal Mile, a slice of that beautiful country points right at the heart of Edinburgh. Holyrood Park is busy with joggers, dog walkers and visitors like myself admiring the view. I stop to pick blackberries, then climb high in the fresh Scottish air to enjoy one of the best city views in the world from the peak of Arthur’s Seat. Robert Louis Stevenson described it with a local writer’s passion: “No situation could be more commanding for the head of a kingdom; none better chosen for noble prospects”.

Down below is Holyrood Palace, seat of the British monarch when they visit Scotland. It is no coincidence that the startlingly modern new Scottish Parliament has been built directly opposite the historic royal residence.

Take me to Edinburgh!

1309scotland279

Edinburgh's compactness is part of its appeal, with picturesque scenery running down to the city's edge at Holyrood Park. Local writer Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: "No situation could be more commanding for the head of a kingdom; none better chosen for noble prospects.” Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Nikon D3

Aperture
ƒ/8
Exposure
1/250
ISO
1000
Focal
170 mm

Edinburgh's compactness is part of its appeal, with picturesque scenery running down to the city's edge at Holyrood Park. Local writer Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: "No situation could be more commanding for the head of a kingdom; none better chosen for noble prospects.”

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