Literary Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Festival is currently underway. This almost month-long “event” is one of the highlights of the Scottish cultural calendar and world-renowned for its high quality, its breadth and its edginess. Between the main festival, the Fringe and not forgetting of course the book festival, there are literally hundreds of events to attend. So many events in fact that I don’t know how you would choose which ones to go to! I went once, many years ago, pre-children, and I remember seeing a comedian, a couple of plays, one of which was Shopping and F***ing by Mark Ravenhill (I can’t remember the other one) and going to the book festival. I went with a friend and we stayed with their grandmother. Accommodation in the city is at a premium during the festival, one of the main reasons I have not been since.

I have been to Edinburgh many times over the years and like the city very much. I’ve been for conferences, training events for my day job, to the Christmas markets, but I went recently with my son to a gig. We saw The Smile at the Usher Hall. It was a brief visit, but we did a self-guided walking tour which took me to parts of the city I had not previously seen. I thoroughly enjoyed it and vowed to return as soon as I could – perhaps when it’s less busy, although as it is the UK’s second most visited city, it is probably never not-busy!

To celebrate the festival, I thought I’d share some photos of my trip, particularly the literary aspects of the city.

Edinburgh Castle dominates the city from every point!
One of the many highlights on the stunning Royal Mile, the John Knox House, parts of which date from the 15th century, is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It is now a museum telling the story of the Reformation. John Knox himself, the firebrand preacher, is not thought to have actually lived here!
The Burns Monument, commemorating Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns (1759-1796), unofficial national poet of Scotland

Sir Henry Raeburn’s famous Reverend Robert Walker skating on Duddingston Loch. One of the many treasures to be found in the outstanding Scottish National Gallery, overlooking Princes Street Gardens

There are other literary highlights that I did not get to see (and some I saw but did not photograph!), such as the Conan Doyle pub, named in memory of the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories and an Edinburgh physician. There is also the Elephant House cafe, said to have been patronised by the likes of Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and JK Rowling. There is even a ‘Harry Potter trail’ which takes in locations that JK Rowling is said to have incorporated into the novels.

Edinburgh has so much to offer bookworms and literature buffs as well as just being a beautiful and interesting place to visit. If you go on a walking tour, however, wear your most comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb lots of stairs!

[Note to self: must improve photography to ensure I capture fewer random strangers in future!]

Author: Julia's books

Reader. Writer. Mother. Partner. Friend. Friendly.

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