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A History Lovers Guide To Edinburgh


Ever since I can remember I have been a huge lover of history. Not only did I study it throughout school, I also chose to study it at university. If I’m not watching some sort of history documentary, I’ll be reading a historical novel or exploring a National Trust Property. I’m not sure if my historical passion comes from living in York, which is a very historical city, or my Grandma who loves reading about all sorts of historical eras, but I literally cannot get enough. 

I also get really excited about the history of places that I visit when I travel. Recently, I had a weekend away in the city of Edinburgh, which was fantastic feast for my inner historical-geek! It had so much on offer to history lovers from guided tours to museums, which meant that I was thoroughly entertained during the three days that I spent there.


The Vaults

One of the main things that we knew was on our checklist when we went to Edinburgh, was to go on a tour of the Vaults. Basically, Edinburgh became a walled city hundreds of years ago, after a war with the English. But when the city became too cramped, as there were hundreds of people living down each street, and the threat of the English had died down a bit, they decided to expand into the surrounding areas. They did this by building bridges up and over the walls to make roads leading out of the city, which lead to the creation of the vaults. These ‘rooms’ or areas, created in the dead space of the bridges were used for a number of different purposes from leather workshops, to drink stores to illegal brothels. 

There are a number of different tours available, and we opted for the self-guided history tour, which was quite a bit cheaper. A Tour Guide took us into the vaults, set the scene and gave us an overview and a brief history of the vaults. We were then left to explore the vaults at our own pace and read about everything in our own time. There was also a Ghost Tour on offer that ran during the evening for those that believe in spirits and the supernatural. It was so interesting and I would really recommend it to anyone visiting the city.

Price: £9 for Self-Guided £15 with a Guide 


The Open Top Bus Tour

Another exciting way to explore the city of Edinburgh, if you’re a lover of history like me, is to go on one of the Open Top Bus Tours. These are available in most cities, and they allow the rider to listen to optional commentary through complimentary headphones whilst they hop on and off the bus, as a mode of transport across the city. The tickets are pretty reasonable and usually last for 24 hours from when you buy the ticket, which is very handy. 

We decided to stay on the bus for the whole duration of its loop of the city centre, listening to the commentary as we went. The speaker on our particular Open Top Bus Tour was the writer, Terry Deary, the author of the Horrible Histories children’s book series. It was a really interesting way of getting an overview of the city, learning about various monuments, historical figures and places of interest. This is a great thing to do if you have never visited the city before to help you decide what you might like to do with the time you have there.

Price: £15 for a 24-Hour Ticket 


Monuments

There are a couple of monuments in and around Edinburgh city centre that may be of interest to a history lover, the most famous of which are the Scott Monument on Princes Street and the Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile. The Scott Monument is something that can’t be missed whilst trailing the shops down Edinburgh’s high street, but the Edinburgh Castle is something pretty special. It is located right at the end of the Royal mile, built on the top of cliffs, looking down upon the whole of Edinburgh. It is pretty spectacular, and although we didn’t go inside, you can walk right up to the gate and get a pretty good impression of the wealth and history that it holds within its walls. 

Price: £17.00


Museums

Edinburgh is also very well known for the number of its museums that depict the social history of this historic city. We went into the Museum of Children, which was really interesting. It took you through the history of toys for children through the ages and both me and mum kept saying, ‘I had one of those!’ or ‘I remember having that!’ It was really fun having a look around and reminiscing, as well as seeing lots of other toys and playthings that children have loved over the years. We ran out of time during our stay but there is also The People’s Story Museum and the Museum of Edinburgh, both of which are supposed to be very interesting and worth a visit. 

Price: All three of these museums are free, but you are able to leave a donation if you wish on your way in or out


Have you ever visited Edinburgh?
Are you a history lover?

Madolyn
xxx

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