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World Heritage Trail (2nd Part)

Our Walking Trail of Edinburgh Continues …

This is Part 2 of our Heritage Walking Trail of Edinburgh. You can find Part 1 and Part 3 here.

Stop 6 – Top of Jacob’s Ladder

Enjoy spectacular southern panoramic views of the Old Town area on the next stop in our walking trail of Edinburgh.

Look out for:

  • Edinburgh Castle standing on the old volcanic ‘Castle Rock’.
  • The North Bridge connecting Old and New Towns –1890’s replacement for 1760’s original.
  • The dramatic sloping skyline of Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town descending from the Castle down the ‘Royal Mile’ to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • The crown shaped steeple of St Giles, the High Kirk of Edinburgh.
  • The dome of the Old College of the University of Edinburgh.
  • The extinct volcanic mass of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags providing a magnificent backdrop for the old town of the Canongate (Edinburgh’s medieval neighbour) below.
  • The Canongate Kirk and burial ground (the Queen’s parish church) and, to its right, the Tolbooth, the town hall and gaol of medieval Canongate.

Walk on until you reach the beautiful Burn’s Monument.

Stop 7 – Burn’s Monument

Completed in 1839 by architect Thomas Hamilton, the monument is modelled on the temple of Lysicrates in ancient Athens, it commemorates Scotland’s greatest bard, Robert Burns. In the valley below the monument, his lover Clarinda lays buried in Canongate Kirkyard.

Walk a little further until you reach the entrance to New Calton Burial Ground.

Stop 8 – New Calton Burial Ground

(Visit recommended in daylight only!)

If you are time limited, pass five minutes here, but linger longer and you will be rewarded by viewing some of the most scenic views of the eastern Old Town. As it was opened in 1820 to re-inter the graves disturbed by the cutting of Waterloo Place through the Old Burial Ground, there are some transferred eighteenth century monuments as well as many nineteenth century graves.

If visiting briefly look out for:

  • The Watch Tower (30 yards to the right of the entrance). This rotunda was built to accommodate armed guards who sought to deter the criminal activities of body snatchers or ‘resurrectionists’. The ‘resurrectionists’ were grave robbers who ‘by pick and lamp’ removed cadavers from freshly laid graves. The bodies attracted a good price from University medical professors purchasing them for dissection at anatomy lectures. This practice ended after the 1832 Anatomy Act thus rendering the tower obsolete.
  • Bathe your eyes with the breathtaking views of Holyrood Palace and the new Scottish Parliament.
  • It is also an inner city haven for song thrushes so your ears may also be delighted!

If you are lingering a little longer look out for:

  • The Stevenson family plot on the eastern boundary – the famous family of lighthouse engineers and author Robert Louis Stevenson (who is however buried in Samoa, where he ended his days).
  • Family graves designed to defeat the bodysnatchers with locked gates and iron bars above.
  • A ‘staircase’ of graves built to cope with the difficulties of the sloping site.

Carry on walking eastwards via Regent Road Park to the eastern end of Regent Road.

As you walk look out for:

  • ‘The Stones of Scotland’. A circle of stones laid from 2000-2 to mark the re-establishment of a Scottish parliament in the capital city of Edinburgh. It has stones from all regions of Scotland.
  • A stainless steel panel which highlights landmarks of the panoramic view.

On reaching the end of Regent Road, which is the boundary limit of the World Heritage site, cross over and climb up onto Royal Terrace. In the next part of our walking trail of Edinburgh, we explore a beautiful but little known section of the ‘New Town’.

Go to Part 3


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