Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is our current series. There will be 16 podcasts on Edinburgh and the series will run until May 2022.

Our Edinburgh series offers all the knowledge you need on Scotland’s capital city, whether you are planning a trip or just curious to get to know it better. Hear the stories of murder and intrigue from history, meet everyone from Mary Queen of Scots to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Discover the city’s best-known authors, her enlightenment thinkers, her rogues and criminals. We’ll be visiting all the city’s top sights and explaining what you need to know to understand their history and significance. In short, the 16 episodes of our Edinburgh series provide all the information you would research yourself if only you had the time!


Edinburgh Episode 01 Introduction

Fàilte gu Dùn Èideann! Welcome to Edinburgh!

Read more

Walk the ghostly narrow closes of the old town, visit the elegant Georgian streets of the new town, tour that glorious castle, sample the whisky, the seafood or maybe a tattie scone; it’s no wonder that Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most popular city break destinations. Here is an overview of the series, offering some geographical, historical and cultural details to whet your appetite for the remaining 15 episodes when we will tour all the main sites, telling you the stories behind them and introducing a wealth of colourful personalities who have influenced the city over the centuries.

Useful link:

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 02 The Castle

The heart of the city

Read more

A stroll through the history of Edinburgh Castle takes in kings and sieges, feasting, battles, murders and plots. There are plenty of tales of capture and recapture, of English invaders and rival Scottish clans. Find out too what to look out for when you visit the castle today, including The Great Hall, built by James IV to host feasts and celebrations, the little room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James, born to reign over both Scotland and England, and ancient treasures like the Stone of Scone and the Scottish Crown Jewels.

Useful links:

https://www.edinburghcastle.scot

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 03 The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Royalty, romance, intrigue and murder

Read more

Tales from the history of Holyrood in Edinburgh: King David’s escape from death while out hunting in the 12th century, inspiring him to found the abbey of the holy rood (cross), a royal wedding designed to unite the thistle and the rose in 1503 and all the drama of Mary Queen of Scots and her life at the palace. (Think intrigues, religious unrest, murders and her eventual flight to England) Hear stories about the later Stuart monarchs and find out what to look out for when you visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse and its beautiful grounds.

Useful links:

https://www.rct.uk/visit/palace-of-holyroodhouse

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 04 The Royal Mile

The fairest of streets

Read more

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh is ‘one of the fairest streets I ever saw’, wrote James Howell in the 17th century. We explore it from top to bottom, highlighting what to look out for and giving a little of the street’s turbulent history: proclamations and drunken celebrations at the Mercat Cross, Jenny Geddes hurling a chair at the Reverend James Hannay in St Giles’ Cathedral and John Knox raging against idolatry and ‘the monstrous regiment of women.’

Useful links:

https://stgilescathedral.org.uk

https://www.scottishstorytellingcentre.com/john-knox-house

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 05 The Old Town

Auld Reekie

Read more

We visit Edinburgh’s Old Town, or ‘Auld Reekie’ as the poet Robert Fergusson called it. Thankfully, Daniel Defoe’s 18th century warning that when walking the streets at night you risk ‘having Chamber Pots of Ordure thrown upon your head’ no longer applies. We visit two informative museums – The Real Mary King’s Close and Gladstone’s Land – and then bring you the story of the city’s most infamous resident, Deacon Brodie, pious citizen by day, but at night, ‘a gambler and a thief, dissipated and licentious.’

Useful links:

https://www.realmarykingsclose.com

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/gladstones-land

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 06 The New Town

Elegance and Enlightment

Read more

A visit to Edinburgh’s New Town, with its elegant Georgian streets and squares, to linger a little in the Georgian Museum and to hear tales of the Scottish Enlightenment when, said the editor William Smellie, you could stand at the Mercat Cross and ‘in a few minutes, take 50 men of genius and learning by the hand.’  And the women?  Well, society hostesses Mrs Apreece and Mrs Waddington were much admired, one ‘for the vivacity of her conversation’ and the other ‘for her remarkable beauty and the grace of her manners’

Useful links:

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/georgian-house

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 07 Two Scottish Parliaments

The story of democracy in Scotland

Read more

The highlight of this episode is a visit to the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood.  But first, the colourful story of who ruled Scotland over the centuries, the Scottish kings, the ongoing tussles with England, the Act of Union and subsequent rebellions and finally the Scotland Act of 1998 which led to the founding of the new parliament where a speaker could proudly announce that ‘the Scottish Parliament, which adjourned on the 25th March 1707, is reconvened.’

Recommended read:
Scotland’s Democracy Trail by Stuart McHardy and Donald Smith

Useful links:

https://www.parliament.scot

https://www.parliament.scot/visit/virtual-tour

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 08 Parks and Walks

Best explored on foot

Read more

Suggested walks, starting in the Old Town, with tales from Cowgate and the Grassmarket, Greyfriar’s Bobby and J K Rowling’s Hogwarts. In the New Town, plenty more squares, circuses and crescents and some idyllic detours, north through Stockbridge to the Botanic Gardens or west into Dean Village. There’s Dorothy Wordsworth on Arthur’s Seat, the explanation for ‘Scotland’s disgrace’ on Calton Hill and a ‘Democracy Trail’ around sights of political and historical significance.

Recommended reading:
Scotland’s Democracy Trail by Stuart McHardy and Donald Smith

Useful links:

https://www.introducingedinburgh.com/princes-street-gardens

https://www.rbge.org.uk   (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh)

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 09 Museums

On the trail of Edinburgh’s history

Read more

This is our round-up of Edinburgh’s history museums. We point you towards lots of goodies; the original National Covenant document, (4000 signatures opposing Charles I and his liturgical reforms), the dog collar and feeding bowl which belonged to Greyfriar’s Bobby, the Lewis chess pieces, the Democracy for Scotland tent ….. Or maybe you just want to hear about the wealth of medical horrors and intrigues at the city’s two medical museums. It’s all here.

Useful links:

https://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/museum-edinburgh

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/peoples-story-museum

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/auld-reekie-retold

https://museum.rcsed.ac.uk

https://www.ed.ac.uk/visit/museums-galleries/anatomical

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 10 Leith and the Royal Yacht Britannia

A breath of sea air

Read more

A short bus ride from Edinburgh city centre will take you to Leith, the city’s port, or you can go on foot, taking the mile-long Leith Walk from Princes Street. You’ll find a working harbour, a range of pretty cafes, restaurants and galleries, a definite whiff of seafaring, past and present, and one of Scotland’s most visited attractions, the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Useful links:

https://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 11 Edinburgh Writers – the big 3

A city steeped in literature

Read more

Edinburgh was the first city to be designated a UNESCO City of Literature and whole books have been written about its writers and their legacy. The city’s Writers’ Museum is dedicated to ‘the big three’, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Here’s a rundown of the life and works of each, plus ideas for where else to ‘find’ them in Edinburgh today. Enjoy!

Useful links:

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/writers-museum

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 12 More Edinburgh Writers

Beyond the big 3

Read more

‘It’s impossible to live in Edinburgh without sensing its literary heritage everywhere’ said J K Rowling and that’s why we need a second episode on Edinburgh writers. We bring you the 15th century William Dunbar, writing ‘The Thistle and the Rose’ for the wedding of James IV and Margaret Tudor; and Ian Rankin, who says each of his novels is ‘another piece of the jigsaw that is modern Scotland’; and everyone in between.

Reading:

Book Lovers’ Edinburgh by Allan Foster

Useful links:

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/writers-museum

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 13 Witches, Cemeteries and Ghosts

The City of Ghosts

Read more

Not an episode for the faint-hearted! We have collected together a host of Edinburgh’s stories on witches, grave-robbers, spectres and apparitions. Is it the ‘majestic gloom’ of Edinburgh’s dramatic setting? The dark unknowns of the Old Town’s tenements and wynds? Or the city’s long history of violent murders, plagues and hangings? For whatever reason, Edinburgh is known as ‘the city of ghosts’ and here is a selection of the tales which explain why.

Recommended reading:

Ghostly Tales and Sinister Stories of Old Edinburgh by Alan J Wilson, Des Brogan and Frank McGrail

Useful links:

https://greyfriarskirk.com/visit/kirkyard

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 14 Art

Galleries, artists, portraits and landscapes

Read more

A tour of Edinburgh’s galleries and a chance to get to know some of Scotland’s best-known artists and paintings.  That includes portraits of royalty and Enlightenment thinkers, plus the great and the good from more recent times: Sir Chris Hoy, Ian Rankin, Muriels Spark and Gray. We also cover Scottish landscape painting and scenes from rural life in the past: Pitlessie Fair, Neil Gow, (18th century touring fiddler extraordinaire), an ice-skating vicar and The Monarch of the Glen.

Useful links:

https://www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/scottish-national-gallery

https://www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/scottish-national-portrait-gallery

https://www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/scottish-national-gallery-modern-art

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/city-art-centre

https://www.rct.uk/visit/the-queens-gallery-palace-of-holyroodhouse

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/georgian-house

https://www.rbge.org.uk   (Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh)

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 15 Food

Culinary Delights

Read more

A chance to dream of wonderful Scottish produce (think highland beef, Scottish salmon, raspberries), to unravel some mysteries (What are rumbledethumps? Or clootie dumplings?), to discover what’s in Scotch broth and what Burns wrote in his ‘Address to a Haggis’ and to reminisce about a proper Edinburgh afternoon tea in the 1920s.  We may even mention the deep-fried Mars bar.

Useful links:

https://foodanddrink.scotsman.com

https://www.johnniewalker.com/en-gb/visit-us-princes-street

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download


Edinburgh Episode 16 Anthology

Edinburgh in poetry and prose

Read more

A tour of Edinburgh through the eyes of the travellers, poets and novelists who captured its essence. London, compared to Edinburgh, wrote Charlotte Bronte, is as ‘prose compared to poetry.’ Well, we bring you lots of both, from centuries past and right up to the present day.

Useful link:

https://edinburgh.org

Read less

Click here to listen or download