Our Edinburgh series offers all the knowledge you need on Scotland’s capital city, whether you are planning a trip or just curious to know more. 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, here is all the research you would do yourself if only you had the time!

There’s a podcast for each episode and we are adding more written information to each post as fast as we can.  So, let’s go. We think that might be ‘Tiugainn’ in Scots Gaelic.


Castle front Edinburgh

Episode 1: Introduction to Edinburgh

Fàilte gu Dùn Èideann! Welcome to Edinburgh. This introduction to Edinburgh brings you information to help you get your bearings and pick up the basic facts which underpin everything, from the ghostly narrow closes of … Read more
Edinburgh Castle01

Episode 2: Edinburgh Castle – The Heart of the City

If you want to capture the Scottish capital in one image, it has to be a picture of Edinburgh Castle. It’s the city’s star attraction, looming over both the Old Town and the New Town … Read more
Edinburgh Palace of Holyrood House copyright Visit Scotland

Episode 3: The Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from the Castle is another site full of intrigue and history, or as its guidebook puts it: ‘Wars have been plotted, dancing has … Read more
Edinburgh Piper

Episode 4: The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile, is the collective name for 4 different streets which stretch in a line from the Castle Esplanade down to the gates of the Palace of Holyrood. Taken together, Castle Hill, the Lawnmarket, … Read more
Edinburgh Close

Episode 5: Auld Reekie – The Old Town

Edinburgh is a city of two halves, the Old Town and the New Town. In this post, we visit the Old Town, or ‘Auld Reekie’ as the poet Robert Fergusson called it. There’s a little … Read more
Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh ©Visitscotland

Episode 6: Enlightenment in the New Town of Edinburgh

Visit Edinburgh’s New Town, built in the 18th century, and you’re in the seat of the Enlightenment, in the elegant streets and squares to which the wealthy escaped, very happy to leave the squalor of … Read more
Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Episode 7: The Two Scottish Parliaments

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 … Read more
Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh Copyright Visit Scotland

Episode 8: Edinburgh, Best Explored on Foot

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, … Read more
James VI and I is born

Episode 9: Edinburgh’s History Museums

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 … Read more
Leith Shore Copyright Visit Scotland

Episode 10: Leith And The Royal Yacht Britannia

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, … Read more
Edinburgh Writers Museum Copyright Visit Scotland

Episode 11: Edinburgh Literature and Writers

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’, … Read more

Episode 12: More Edinburgh Writers

‘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, … Read more
Greyfriar's Bobby Copyright Visit Scotland

Episode 13: Edinburgh’s Witches, Cemeteries and Ghosts

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 … Read more
Emilie Sande, Edinburgh

Episode 14: Edinburgh Art and Artists

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 … Read more

Episode 15: The Culinary Delights of Edinburgh

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 … Read more
Writers Poets Pub1200

Episode 16: Edinburgh in Poetry and Prose

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 … Read more


Useful websites for tourists
Forever Edinburgh
All About Edinburgh 
Visit Scotland
Edinburgh International Festival 
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 

4 useful guidebooks
Lonely Planet Pocket Edinburgh
Pocket Rough Guide to Edinburgh
Only in Edinburgh A Guide to Unique Locations, Hidden Corners and Unusual Objects by Duncan J D Smith
Edinburgh on Foot A Pocket Walking Guide by Richard Hallewell

4 useful history books
A History of Edinburgh by Christopher McNab
Edinburgh, A History of the City by Michael Fry
Edinburgh Curiosities by James U Thomson
Horrible Histories Edinburgh by Terry Deary

2 Anthologies

Edinburgh, A Traveller’s Reader by David Daiches
Book Lover’s Edinburgh A Guide and Companion by Allan Foster

5 novels set in Edinburgh
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin (plus all his other novels!)
44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith (plus over a dozen novels in the series)
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
One Day by David Nicholls

Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson Edited by Ernest Mehew
Johnson and Boswell in Scotland Edited by Pat Rogers
Scottish Art by Murdo Macdonald



Golden Triangle 011200

Episode 8: Food and Shopping in Bordeaux

City Breaks
Wheat Treading in the Camargue, Rosa Bonheur, Musee des Beaux Arts, Bordeaux

Episode 7: 3 Bordeaux Art Galleries

City Breaks
Bordeaux wine shop

Episode 6: Bordeaux Wine

City Breaks