Edinburgh Journals

Taking the High Road to Scotland

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An October 2006 trip to Edinburgh by Mandan Lynn

Edinburgh Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland More Photos
Quote: Five days isn't nearly enough.

Taking the High Road to Scotland

Overview

Edinburgh Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
Edinburgh is a delight of a city. The old town is fairly large, and the castle is one of the most impressive I've ever seen. Go dancing. Eat haggis. Sip whisky. Get out of the city and see the countryside. And go to the Highlands. This is only hearsay for now - I only had five days and I was based in Edinburgh, so I didn't really get the chance to go north. But everyone I've talked to says that it's a must. I will be back. You will then be able to find me in the Highlands.The Artist's Sit provides great views of the city. It's the best vantage point of any city I've ever been in - and the best part is that you don't have to pay a few bucks to climb up in a tower to get it. Just put your hiking...Read More

Criterion

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Restaurant | "The Criterion"

Quote:
We were hungry, hungry kids when we stopped at The Criterion in St. Andrews. It's a happy looking pub with a short but savory-seeming menu written on a couple of blackboards. There was indoor and outdoor seating. We were there around 3:00 in the afternoon, and there were people lingering at several of the tables, inside and out.As I glanced over the menu -- quiche, lasagna, potato skins, soup, a variety of toasties -- I was all set to write a stellar review for them. I mean, quiche? Lasagna? On a short little pub menu? Fantastic. And everything for about 5 pounds or less! I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to eat, wavering between the quiche, the lasagna, and the tomato soup.I fi...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 12, 2006

Criterion
99 South Street
St. Andrews, Scotland KY16 9QW
+44 (1334) 474543

Opium Rock Club

Attraction | "Opium (The Place, Not the Substance)"

Opium Rock Club Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
We arrived here after midnight - I was just grateful to find a place without a cover charge that stayed open past 1am! There are a couple of intimidating security guards at the door, but they smile and step aside as you enter.To your immediate right there is a bar. To the left you'll see some comfy looking red seats against the wall. Don't linger - the space here is narrow and it's best to work your way through. There seemed to be another room in the back with another bar, but instead of entering we turned left and headed up the stairs past the bathrooms and into a room with a third bar and some enthusiastic dancers. In general, the downstairs seemed to be a little more mellow than did ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Opium Rock Club
71 Cowgate
Edinburgh, Scotland
+44 0131 225 8382

Quote:
National Gallery10am to 5pm daily (7pm on Thursday)Free!I have to be honest: this is not my favorite of all the art galleries I've been to. The National Galleries of Ireland and England are both far superior. That said, it is still worth visiting. First of all, it's free. Also, it's small, which is part of the disappointment to me, but it means that it doesn't take long to get through it. There are some paintings worth seeing. Rembrandt and Vermeer both have paintings here, as does my very favorite artist, Rubens. There weren't very many people here when I visited - midday on a Saturday. Of course, it is October, but there were still plenty of visitors around the castle and els...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

National Gallery of Scotland
The Mound
Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 2EL
+44 131 624 6509

Royal Lyceum Theatre

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Attraction

Royal Lyceum Theatre Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
Lyceum TheatreBox Office Monday-Saturday 10-6pm.Tickets to shows at the Lyceum vary in price, depending on where you sit, what day you go, and whether or not you are a student or a person with a disability. Matinees are less expensive than evening shows, and all seats cost the same on those days -- so if you want to sit up front, you won't be paying any more than you'd pay to sit in back. Matinees are on Wednesday and Saturday.Students only pay half price! For a seat in the back, that means about 7 pounds for a weekend evening show. Not too bad for an evening of great theatre.I saw Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice at the Lyceum. It's running through the October 21, so ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 12, 2006

Royal Lyceum Theatre
Grindlay Street
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2HE
+44 131 248 4848

Stand Comedy Club

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Attraction

Quote:
Stand Comedy Club8:30 or 9:00 pm1-10 poundsThe Stand offers comedy shows every night of the week at its cozy downstairs location in Edinburgh. Prices vary according to what day it is and who is performing. Students can generally get a cheaper seat. Go early - otherwise you might be left with standing room only. It's a happy little space with animal print stool cushions and paintings on the walls. There are also messages written on the walls - in chalk or something made to look like chalk - that say things like "Please do not chat while acts are onstage" and "toilets." You know - essential information. It's a place that feels friendly even from the outside. I walked by unsure of whether...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 12, 2006

Stand Comedy Club
5 York Place
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 3EB
+44 131 558 7272

National Portrait Gallery

Attraction | "Scottish National Portrait Gallery"

Quote:
Scottish National Portrait Gallery10-5pm daily (Thurs till 7pm) Free!The Portrait Gallery is another of Scotland's free museums. It's made up of portraits of the people who have shaped Scotland's history, and I found it surprisingly fascinating. It's a fairly large collection; you should be able to spend quite a bit of time here if you want to. It wasn't at all crowded.My favorite portraits included those of J.M. Barrie, Andrew Carnegie, the beautiful young Queen Elizabeth II, and a painting called The Oncologists. This was an eerie work of three doctors whose research is helping to battle cancer. You won't want to miss that painting. In fact, I'm going to recommend going to th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 12, 2006

National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street
Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 1JB
+44 131 624 6200

St. Andrews Photo, St. Andrews, Scotland
Quote:
When we found we couldn't rent a car (I was the only person with the winning combination of a driver's license and a credit card, and I wasn't about to attempt driving on the left side of the road), my new friend and I decided to hop on a bus to St. Andrews.The ride took about two and a half hours along the coast. I'm sure it was beautiful. I was sleeping so I probably shouldn't make that claim. Someone try staying awake and get back to me on that.We headed straight for that magical place where the land meets the water. There wasn't much there in the line of sand, just lots of rocks and cliffs -- absolutely gorgeous. We sat for a long time, enjoying the view and that cool ocea...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 12, 2006

National Museum of Scotland

Attraction | "Royal Museum"

Quote:
Royal Museum10-5pm dailyFree!This is one of the best-displayed exhibits of natural history I've ever seen. Each animal is in its own little habitat. Some are sitting, some standing, some lying down -- one tiger is even leaping! It doesn't have nearly as many specimens as does, say, the Natural History Museum in Dublin, but the ones they do have are presented very well. Even if natural history museums creep you out a little bit, as they do me, you still might find yourself enjoying this.There is another exhibit full of ironwork, jewelry, armour and other arts and crafts, including stuff from ancient Egypt! Especially interesting is the art in industry pieces -- I love looking at...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 12, 2006

National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 1JF
0300 123 6789

Arthur's Seat

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Attraction | "Making the Climb to Artist's Sit"

Arthur's Seat Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
Okay, so it's not that much of a hike. Maybe twenty minutes up the hill. But it felt like a lot to me, a girl who has grown accustomed to the Netherlands, where you're lucky to find an incline, much less an actual hill.It doesn't take long to realize where this particular vantage point got its name. The views are spectacular. I think it would inspire even a non-artist to pull out a pencil and paper. I went with Leo, a resident of Edinburgh who has been up there many times, and he still pulled out his camera and took a bunch of pictures before saying, "What am I doing? I already have so many of these."You can look out over the sea and over the town. Across the way is the castle, and Hol...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 12, 2006

Arthur's Seat
Salisbury Crags
Edinburgh, Scotland EH16