Day 4. Edinburgh Morningside

Although our hotel room was lovely and quiet there was no need to set an alarm as each morning we were roused from our slumbers at 8.00 a.m. sharp to the clattering sounds of a glass recycling truck emptying bins along the road. With so many nice things we wanted to fit into our Edinburgh city break we weren’t complaining and were soon up and about.

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The Caley Picture House, Edinburgh

We checked out of our hotel, leaving our luggage to collect later then wandered along to the West End of Princes Street and continued up the slight incline of Lothian Road to have breakfast in the Caley Picture House which has been tastefully transformed from a former cinema. This pub was still under construction on our previous visit so we were eager to take a look. It features the original stage with additional seating on the cinema’s balcony.

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Bruntsfield, Edinburgh

It was very quiet at that time of the morning and after enjoying our cooked breakfasts we made our way slowly up the hill to Tollcross that leads to the affluent southern Edinburgh neighbourhoods of Bruntsfield and Morningside. There are many interesting small shops and cafes along Bruntsfield Place characterised with their attractive Georgian tenements above.

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Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh

Bruntsfield is also home to a stretch of open parkland complete with sweeping views across The Meadows to the volcanic Arthur’s Seat in the distance. Golf has been played here on Bruntsfield Links since 1761 and it remains one of Edinburgh’s free public short hole golf courses. For those without their own clubs, these are available to rent for a nominal £5 from behind the bar of the ancient Golf Tavern overlooking the course.

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Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh

Continuing on our way, we reached the Holy Corner junction between Bruntsfield and Morningside. This takes its name because of churches located on each corner. Three of which continue to hold services whilst the fourth became the Eric Liddell Centre in 1980 named after the famous Scottish athlete whose story was told in ‘Chariots of Fire’.  If, like me, you are a fan of both the 44 Scotland Street and Isabel Dalhousie Sunday Philosophy Club series of books by Alexander McCall Smith then you may be familiar with some of these landmarks as they feature in his novels which capture Edinburgh’s charm most beautifully and certainly inspire visits.

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National Museum of Scotland

After glancing in a few more of the inviting small boutiques and a wonderful chocolatier we caught a Lothian Bus (No.23) from outside Morningside Library over to the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street back in the city centre.

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Wylam Dilly, one of the two oldest steam locomotives in the world

Entrance to this fascinating museum is free of charge and as we’d looked around in detail before, on this occasion we headed over to the Science and Technology galleries which are our favourites. Here we viewed Dolly The Sheep, one of the most iconic exhibits and the world’s most famous sheep.

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Dolly the Sheep

The ‘Making It’ gallery explores how manufacturing and engineering have changed our lives with planes suspended from the ceiling. Hot air balloons can be operated by the press of a button to watch them fill with hot air and soar to the roof of the gallery to float amongst the planes.

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The Grand Gallery, Museum of Scotland

Moving on to the Grand Gallery we learnt about the people who designed, built and operated Scotland’s lighthouses providing a safe passage for mariners. 

Located across the road from the museum. on the corner of Candlemaker Row and George IV Bridge is the statue to the Skye Terrier, Greyfriar’s Bobby. This little dog became famous in the 19th-century as legend has it that he devoted 12 years of his life to guarding the grave of his owner in Greyfriars Churchyard until he himself passed away.

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Greyfriar’s Bobby, Edinburgh

This delightful story which has captivated generations, has featured in numerous books and films and his dedication and loyalty became legendary and he was also laid to rest near his owner’s grave. Earlier in the week we had visited the Museum of Edinburgh where we had seen a collection of the little dog’s belongings including his collar and bowl.

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Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Continuing slightly further along George IV Bridge we past the Elephant House Cafe where JK Rowling used to sit and write in the days before her Harry Potter books were published.  A few minutes later we had reached Victoria Street which is one of the most photogenic parts of Edinburgh with its colourful buildings arranged on upper and lower rows.  Unfortunately it wasn’t looking at its best at the time of our visit with large scale construction work taking place along the road coupled with the gloomy December weather but I’m sure you can imagine how beautiful it really is.

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The Museum on the Mound, the registered office of Lloyds Banking Group, Edinburgh

Retracing our steps back up the hill, we crossed the Royal Mile then turned onto The Mound so that we could visit the Museum on the Mound.  This museum is housed in the magnificent head office of the Bank of Scotland which today also serves as the Scottish headquarters of the Lloyds Banking Group.

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Coats of Arms on display in the Museum on the Mound

The museum is open daily Tuesday – Saturday and admission is free. Its galleries explore the history of Scotland’s oldest bank, why it was founded and how it has developed and changed over the last 300 years. There’s even a safe which can be unlocked by carefully following a series of detailed instructions. We were successful and inside the safe we found our reward, some attractive postcards of Scottish banknotes to take home as a souvenir of our visit. It’s quite a small museum but very interesting covering topics on money matters, the rise of building societies and the changing world of bank working and how the employees spent their leisure time. From the museum terrace there are some splendid views across to Princes Street.

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Views of Princes Street and the Scott Monument from the terrace of the Museum on the Mound

There was then just enough time to squeeze in a visit to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery located on Queen Street. This red sandstone neo-gothic palace opened in 1889 as the world’s first purpose built portrait gallery. In addition to viewing portraits of Scotland’s famous historical figures, the building itself is an absolute masterpiece with its exquisite entrance hall being one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The museum is open daily and offers free admission and even if you only have a few minutes to spare I highly recommend popping in to admire both the portraits and the architecture.

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The entrance hallway of the Scottish Natioal Portrait Gallery

On leaving the museum, our short break in Edinburgh was all too quickly nearing its end and so we reluctantly returned to our hotel to collect our luggage. We then enjoyed one final meal in the city centre before returning to Waverley Station to take the train back home. It had been a wonderful winter break in this most beautiful of cities. If you haven’t already visited Edinburgh I do hope this series of posts might inspire you to spend a few days there as whatever the time of year you choose to visit I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the city just like me!

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also be interested in the following:

Visiting the Deutsche Bundesbank Museum in Frankfurt

The Bank of Lithuania, Vilnius

 

 

 

 

44 thoughts on “Day 4. Edinburgh Morningside

          1. Excellent. Ok. It’s a date. I will be booking within next two or three weeks. Am staying in London in The Strand with my friend who works at Aust High Com. So will discuss finer details later with you when I am pulling my program together.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. ThingsHelenLoves

    I lived not too far from Morningside when I was in Edinburgh. Walked the dog often on Bruntsfield Links. It would have been good exercise but for the fact I couldn’t resist all the lovely coffee (and cake!) shops in the area! I’m glad you made it out that way, Edinburgh has much to offer beyond the city centre.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great post! Absolutely love the museum. I really need to explore more of Morningside, it’s definitely the city’s more posh neighbourhood, but it looks like it has a lot of very nice places. There’s a really fun street that’s been made to look like a wild west town! I also had no idea there was free golf on the Bruntsfield links lol, that’s an idea for my dad next time my parents visit!

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    1. I always like to spend an hour or two in both Morningside and Stockbridge, both smart neighbourhoods but with lots of interesting small shops and coffee shops. I wasn’t aware of the themed Wild West street, something for me to look into next time! Thanks for commenting, it’s much appreciated.

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  3. Hi and Happy New Year/
    It’s always interesting to see others’ reactions to my adopted city. Thanks
    But I’m always fascinated by the legend and public reaction to the rather Disneyfied story of Greyfriars Bobby. After all, if the locals fed me every day and put out a bowl of beer at the pub, I’d sit by a grave for years.
    But I wonder if you’ve heard of the Scottish canine hero I find far more stirring and fascinating? In Montrose a friend introduced me to Bamse (‘teddy bear’), a huge St Bernard, whose statue stands by the harbour. She had first ‘met’ him in his original home of Honningsvåg, Norway (where his statue wears a sailor hat, rather than the Tam O’Shanter he sports in Montrose).
    This dog, who came to Scotland on a Norwegian ship fleeing the Nazi advance, became a local character; rounded up sailors from the pubs (he had his own bus pass!), saved a sailor from drowning, and another from being mugged in Dundee, by pushing his knife-wielding attacker off the dock.
    When he died of a heart attack (the spot is marked with a plaque), the whole town turned out for his funeral, and his hard-to-find grave is maintained by Norwegians and locals to this day, with ceremonies on special anniversaries (like last July’s 75th of his passing).
    There is a book about him by a local historian, but some of the story is on his Wikipedia page (though it omits fun tales like the day he found a cat sitting on the bar where he wanted to drink his customary bowl of beer, and calmly swatted the poor moggy onto the floor).
    Why this dog’s tale hasn’t been made into a film, I do not know — it would be more entertaining and require far less post hoc embellishment to make it so!
    Apologies if you already know about him, but my friend and I want to spread his story. He’s our hairy hero!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So nice to have all this history just a train ride away. I still recall our 2008 visit to the “Inventions” portion of the National Museum. I amongst all the Scottish inventions like the steam engine, tarmac, sheep cloning, etc. there was a small display where they took credit for the invention of a new race of people, the Metis. I was never sure if this was an attempt at humour or just hubris. Great posts on your Edinburgh visit. They remind me that I need to go back. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So much to see in Edinburgh isn’t there? we’ve been a few times and haven’t seen half of what you mentioned in this post. Need to get organised and get back there soon I reckon. Fascinating stuff as always.

    Liked by 1 person

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