On a budget
For US travelers, Edinburgh is an expensive city but you can get by with virtually no transportation cost except the rather inexpensive airport bus (currently L5 round trip), all of the major museums have free admission, St. Giles and Parliament are both free to enter. Walking to the top of Calton Hill or Arthur's Seat won't cost you a dime (and will help you work off some of that full Scottish breakfast)
Hotels-Ibis has a hotel right near the Royal Mile and if you are really low on funds there is a youth hostel. Or you can try laterooms.com to see what kind of reduced rates are out there.
Food-lots of inexpensive options, pub fare, kebabs, fish and chips, all can be had for under L10
The Millenium Clock - Royal Museum - Every Hour
On the hour this amazing giant clock comes to life amidst a cacophany of sounds, wirring and with every cog and gadgit moving! It last for a good 5 minutes, enough time to attract a big crown, enthralled!
Its quite amazing, for all its clever intricacy, but also, when you look in more detail, it is quite gruesome. Look at these figurines that rotate.
If you are in the vicinity - and you should be - have a look. Its on the ground floor, under the glass roof.
Located in in Roxburghshire, founded in 1136 by King David I, was the earliest Cistercian monastery established in Scotland.
In less than ten years St. Mary's Abbey, Melrose, had been completely built. It stood in a broad glen south of the Tweed, two miles distant from the Celtic monastery of Old Melrose, where St. Cuthbert had lived five centuries before. Melrose Abbey suffered greatly from hostile incursions of more than one English monarch; the soldiers of Edward II desecrated, pillaged, and burned the church; Richard II in 1385 laid waste the surrounding country and set fire to the abbey. Mainly through the generosity of Robert the Bruce, a more stately church was begun in 1326, and scarcely completed by the sixteenth century.
Cruciform in shape, built in English Perpendicular, Decorated, and Flamboyant styles, two hundred and fifty feet in length, Melrose was distinguished for the fairy-like lightness of its carvings and window-tracery, finished with exquisite care.
The English troops of Henry VIII burned Melrose in 1544. Although the monks once numbered two hundred, and there were one hundred and thirty as late as twenty years before the Reformation, eleven only received pensions at the dissolution, so quickly must they have been dispersed. After many vicissitudes, the possessions of the abbey came finally to the Buccleuch family. The ruins were further devastated by a fanatical mob in 1569, when statues and carvings were ruthlessly destroyed; but more wanton still was the subsequent carting away of the sacred stones in great numbers to serve as building materials. The result is seen in the carved religious emblems still appearing upon surrounding houses. The ruins of the once noble abbey form a strikingly beautiful picture from the North British Railway, about thirty-seven miles south of Edinburgh.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Free)
Beautiful, ornately carved red sandstone building - worth seeing even if you yawn at paintings!!!
The Gallery is wonderful inside too, as well as being a unique visual history of Scotland, told through the portraits of those who shaped it, from Mary Queen of Scots and Robert Burns, through to Sean Connery and Irvine Welsh. Regular exhibitions and changing displays of photography, from the national collection.
Opening Days/Times: Jan - Dec.
Open daily 10am to 5pm
Thursday late night until 7pm. Extended opening during Festival.
Free Entry! Woohoo.
No parking. What you doing bringing a car into the centre of Edinburgh. Too congested and hence expensive to park. Toilets, Shops, Eating Places :within Gallery too.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street
Tel: 0131 624 6200
Fax: 0131 558 3691
Walk from Princes Street (East) by the Tourist Info office above Waverley Train Station, in a northerly direction (towards the sea) past St. Andrews Square (bus station) and down hill a few hundred metres to Queen Street, running parallel to Princes Street. Its only a 5 minute walk. Combine with a brief walk around the New Town / Stockbridge area and a day at the Botanical Gardens.
Sunday Night Party
a pub/bar, Nicol Edwars is made up of many different rooms most are remnants of the old underground vaults. A great atmosphere any night Sunday's are especially fun. Sunday is Backpacker's night- tons of travelers get together and drink, there are games and contests where prizes range from free pints to t-shirts to tours of Scotland. There is also an open mic always featuring fun and great talant- if you're luck you can catch Manuel or Milko orKate and Claire- my favorite acts. casual- whatever you want- it all goes