Scottish National Gallery

The Scottish National Gallery is located within the Princes Street Gardens. Opened in 1859 in an imposing neoclassical building, the gallery houses an excellent collection of paintings by “Old Masters,” including many that relate to Scottish history. Admission is free.

Gary Outside the Scottish National Gallery
Gary Outside the Scottish National Gallery

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Edinburgh Pubs

Edinburgh is home to a seemingly endless number of pubs. Most of them are nondescript neighbourhood corner spots serving mainly locals. Others are more touristy and claim long, elaborate histories. In every one we visited we found a warm welcome and unexpectedly good food.

<a href="https://www.belhavenpubs.co.uk/pubs/midlothian/white-hart/" target="_blank">White Hart</a>, Grassmarket
White Hart, Grassmarket

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Rest and Be Thankful

Another stop on our Highland tour was the Rest and Be Thankful pass, which  provides beautiful views of Glen Croe.

Rest and Be ThankfulThe adjoining road (now the A83) was built by the General George Wade in the 1700’s, after the subjugation of Scotland by the British. As his soldiers marched the many miles to Western Scotland, they would rest here.

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Highland Castles

On our day tour of the Western Highlands we stopped at numerous lochs and castles.

Doune Castle Exterior
Doune Castle

Doune Castle was a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune. It was constructed in the 1300’s by Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany. Various movies and TV shows have filmed here including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of Thrones and Outlander.

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Inveraray

We escaped the city for a day and took a bus tour to see a small portion of the Western Highlands. One of our stops was the small town of Inveraray (pop. 600) on Loch Fyne.

Gary on the BeachMuch of what remains of the town today was laid out in the late 1700’s as the first planned Georgian town in Scotland

Main Street and Parish Church
Main Street and Parish Church

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Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

We were undecided on whether to visit Edinburgh Castle, but in the end, I  booked tickets because I had fond memories of wandering around it years ago. Unfortunately this time was different, as every inch was rammed with people. There was no escape from the crowds.

In the end, Josie’s photo of the towering castle as seen from the Grassmarket  down below was far more impressive. And free.

Leith Walk Apartment

We’re staying at an Airbnb just off the Leith Walk, roughly halfway between central Edinburgh and the Leith Shore.

Airbnb ViewLeith has traditionally been an area of industry and shipbuilding. After WWII the area fell on hard times, and later became famous as the setting for the Trainspotting novel and movie. Leith has now heavily gentrified but still maintains some character.

Our Airbnb is in the top floor of a former tenement building, with view looking south to Calton Hill… and directly down onto a Lumber Yard, which starts operating forklifts at 8am.

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