Editor of CARA Magazine Lucy White took a quick break over to the city of Edinburg recently and came back with her top five reasons why we should all visit too.
1 Those strong of stomach will be delightfully disgusted at the exhibits at the Surgeons’ Hall Museums, whose collections have been educating and entertaining a morbidly fascinated public since 1832, but whose artefacts date back to the 17th century. Sherlock fans will love the Arthur Conan Doyle exhibit, while Irish history buffs will “enjoy” the items relating to the grave-robbing gruesome twosome, Williams Burke and Hare. The section dedicated to the “Edinburgh Seven” – Britain’s first female medical undergraduates to sit an exam in 1870, which caused riots – is fascinating. museum.rcsed.ac.uk
2 Get an eagle-eye view of Edinburgh and beyond from Arthur’s Seat, a 251-metre-high mountain in the vast Holyrood Park located only 1.6 kilometres from Edinburgh Castle. It was formed by an ancient volcano system that became eroded by glaciers millions of years ago and its name is thought to be a reference to King Arthur. These days it’s a magnet for hill walkers and panorama fanciers – for obvious reasons.
3 Pints, poetry and prose go together like Scotch whisky and water, and they don’t get much better than as part of the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour. Led by two professional actors, this lively romp through 300 years of local literature, from Robert Burns to Ian Rankin, takes in several notable watering holes where cock-fighting, pimping and penning the odd masterpiece were once de rigueur. Tours cost €12 (online rate) and run every Friday and Sunday; drinks are pay as you go. edinburghliterarypubtour.co.uk
Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
4 Bridges, waterways, castles, coastline, docks, stately homes, mountains, flora, fauna … Edinburgh has it all and undoubtedly one of the best ways to see the sights is a guided cycling tour. The Tartan Bicycle Company (tartanbiketours.com) offers a comprehensive array of wheel-based gallivants, from half-day to full day jaunts from £39. There are e-bike options or go for the Edinburgh E-Bike Experience (edinburghe-bikeexperience.com), whose three-hour guided “Landscape in the City” tours at £30 cover shorter, more city-focused areas of around 16 kilometres.
5 Golf and Scotland are as synonymous as neeps and haggis so, if driving a white, pimpled ball across a fairway is your idea of heaven, don’t leave Edinburgh without booking a round at the prestigious Bruntsfield Links course (bruntsfieldlinks.co.uk), whose club proudly dates back to 1761 and is home to the Open qualifiers. Those with a considerably higher handicap but a keen sense of fun may be better off at Paradise Island (adventure-golf-island.com), a sprawling, American-style, crazy golf complex at Fife Leisure Park, which even has indoor facilities for those rainy, Scottish-mist days.
This round-up appears in the all-new February/March issue of CARA magazine, the in-flight publication of Aer Lingus, which flies from Dublin and Cork to Edinburgh daily, and from Shannon six times per week.