5 FUN AND 5 NOT-SO-FUN (GRISLY) THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT EDINBURGH
Edinburgh has something for everyone, making it an ideal city-break destination. Here are some facts and features that you probably don’t know about, adding an intriguing element to your next trip there:
- You can visit the beach, climb hills, go for long riverside walks, or walk out over a causeway to an island, all within the city boundary and you’ll never feel as though you’re in the middle of a city.
- Like Rome, Edinburgh was built on seven hills. One of these hills, Arthur’s Seat, is an extinct volcano.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was born in Edinburgh.
- Edinburgh is said to be home to the world’s seventh-oldest pub, The Sheep Heid Inn, which dates back to 1360 and is reputed to be the oldest surviving public house in Scotland.
- Until 2019, Edinburgh had the longest dry ski slope in Europe at around 450m. It is now the second longest dry ski slope in Europe, after a new 800m slope opened in Serbia in 2019. If you’re not a skier, you can take the chairlift and admire the views.
- The inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s (also born in Edinburgh) Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is said to be Deacon Brodie, a respected cabinet maker and member of the town council by day, who copied house keys to later burgle his clients. He was eventually caught and hanged from a device of his own making.
- Burke & Hare were a pair of notorious ‘body snatchers’ who robbed graves to sell the corpses to the medical school in Edinburgh in the early 1800s. When that became too risky because of guards in the cemeteries, they moved on to murdering people to supply the medical school with bodies. Burke was later hanged and a public dissection of his corpse carried out. His skeleton and a book said to be bound with his skin are in an Edinburgh museum.
- You can visit an ancient street underneath the current Royal Mile, where you can see houses and shops from previous centuries and have a visit from a plague doctor who would have visited plague victims in this street. The street is reputedly haunted and there have been sightings of paranormal activity.
- Princes Street Gardens was previously filled with water and known as the Nor loch, where witches were drowned. There is a small memorial plaque to the women who were drowned as witches at the entrance to the castle esplanade.
- In Greyfriars Kirkyard, you will find the real Tom Riddle’s grave, now visited by legions of Harry Potter fans, who can also visit the inspiration for Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, as JK Rowling lived in Edinburgh when writing the Harry Potter books.
Are you tempted to explore a different side to Edinburgh? Let us know – we’ll look at some great options for your next break there.