Posted by: christinelaennec | May 28, 2014

An hour in Edinburgh, May 2014

Let me continue, in my out-of-order fashion, to tell you about my day in Edinburgh.  In between our special breakfast and meeting up with Aberdeen church friends at Heart & Soul, I found myself with a bonus, totally free hour in Edinburgh.  When you’re a parent-caregiver, such events are rare and very delicious, but it was especially so as we hadn’t been sure we could even go until the night before.  And the weather was perfect as well!

I’d galloped from the restaurant to Waverley Station to see Michael safely on the train back to Glasgow.  From there, I climbed up the Scotsman Steps, which a friend had shown me.  There are many stairways, tiny steep streets and passageways in Edinburgh.  It’s a fascinating city and there is so much to discover.  This stairway is distinct in that it was redone as an art project a few years ago.

View from the Scotland Steps across Waverley Station to the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh.  May 2014.

View from the Scotland Steps across Waverley Station to the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh. May 2014.

The artist Martin Creed clad each step and landing in a different colour of marble:

The Scotsman Steps, Edinburgh.  May 2014.

The Scotsman Steps, Edinburgh. May 2014.

The ironwork and other parts of the stairway were also refurbished:

View from halfway up the Scotsman Steps, Edinburgh.  May 2014.

View from halfway up the Scotsman Steps, Edinburgh. May 2014.

Why are they called the Scotsman Steps?  Because they lead up to the Scotsman building.  This is where The Scotsman newspaper used to be published:

The Scotsman building, at the top of the Scotsman steps.  Edinburgh, May 2014.

The Scotsman building, at the top of the Scotsman steps. Edinburgh, May 2014.

From there I walked a wee ways up the Royal Mile.  Do you see the white and black cupola?

Name of this street?

Looking up the Royal Mile, Edinburgh.  May 2014.

That is the Camera Obscura – a most ingenious invention.  We went there years ago when the children were young, and it was great fun.  You can spy on people walking past, a kind of 19th-century CCTV.

Instead of walking further up the Royal Mile towards the castle, I jogged over a bit and went down the beautiful Victoria Street:

Name of this street????

Victoria Street at the top, West Bow at the bottom

This street, which changes its name half-way down to West Bow, is full of interesting shops.  A bookshop:


bookshop on Victoria Street

The bookshop was closed for lunch when I was there, which may be just as well because I might never have gotten any further!

There was a very attractive shop specialising in mugs and teapots:

Need a new teapot?

Need a new teapot?

And a beautiful shop selling some very modern designs in Harris Tweed:

Shop with interesting tailored Harris Tweed clothing

Shop with interesting tailored Harris Tweed clothing

And lastly – you will be astonished to learn – I just happened to find myself at a knitting shop.  Quelle surprise!

K1 knitting shop, Edinburgh.  May 2014.

K1 knitting shop, Edinburgh. May 2014.

K1 Yarns is a small but lovely knitting shop.  They specialise in Scottish yarns, and it was lovely to see how many different wools are produced in this country.  There was a knitting group meeting and I would have loved to join them.  Did I buy wool?  Well, yes – but not for myself, so that doesn’t count!

It was, as you can see, a beautifully sunny day.  I did notice a cool East Coast breeze that reminded me of Aberdeen in similar weather.  And then it was time for me to grab a bite to eat and head over to meet my friends at Princes Street Gardens.  So that was my bonus hour in Edinburgh:  a lovely, lovely treat.



  1. I read this post on my lunch hour and felt as if I had taken that stroll with you. Thanks for a delightful lunch treat. I think I may go out and buy some yarn!

  2. I love Victoria Street and that part of town. I was in Edinburgh for my knitting group, we meet in the New Town every other Sunday and I go once a month. There are a few more knitting shops in Edinburgh now, I haven’t managed to get round them though! Hope to meet you next time you are through.

    • Thanks very much Katherine. When my plans are on a surer footing, I will be in touch!

  3. What! A book shop closed for lunch? How quaint!
    The way the streetscape has been preserved is wonderful. And speaking of streetscape, it’s so different from Australia in that none of the buildings have awnings that extend out over the footpath. This really hit me when looking at the Victoria Street and Royal Mile pictures. Here virtually every commercial building has some kind of awning in both city and suburbs. (Here is a typical example of a 19th century Sydney street with 19th century buildings on the right and 20th century on the left, all with awnings). Is this just Edinburgh, just Scotland, just old-city, or is this a UK-wide approach? (I’m obviously not well travelled….nearly all your readers can probably answer this!)

  4. I know that teapot shop. 🙂 What a lovely jaunt.

  5. Your post brings back happy memories of a Sunday morning spent in Edinburgh back in 2001. I was attending a conference at Heriot-Watt, and having the chance to explore the city was a welcome break. I still have a book I bought on that visit – ‘The Town Below the Ground’ by Jan-Andrew Henderson.

  6. I love all the little streets in Edinburgh, they are so quaint and have such cute shops. I love down the Grassmarket area. My shops of choice are craft shops just as yours is knitting ones. There are not many I’ve found, but I’ll keep looking, that’s part of the fun isn’t it. Lovely photos as usual, glad you managed to ‘steal’ an hour away for yourself. x

  7. Edinburgh has such cute shops. 🙂

  8. Thanks everyone for commenting and sharing my bonus hour with me.

    oldblack, what you say about awnings is very interesting. I remember 19th century photos of shops with awnings in Aberdeen. But I’m not sure that modern Scottish cities have them now, and I wonder why (other than the wind). Hmm! Another post? (Along with coloured buildings at the seaside.)

    Agent Rod Smith, I haven’t explored the “lower layer” of Edinburgh, but it’s true that there’s practically another city underneath what you see, even with the several “ground levels” there are now.

  9. Oh my favorite street ever!! That shop that sells the teapots? It also sells loose leaf tea which is very high quality and the best prices I’ve ever seen!! It is all weighed out into little brown paper packages. 🙂 So, you didn’t go in the Ah Ha Ha Ha Joke shop did you? My boys were crazy about that shop and we had to go twice when we were there. 🙂 Victoria Street used to have the most beautiful antique shop for white linens — antique dresses, baptismal gowns, tea cozies, hankies, tea towels. In fact, I think I read about the shop first in an issue of Victoria Magazine long before I ever got there in person. It’s too bad it’s no longer there. I bought some wool for my sister in the knitting shop….

  10. so fantastic! I love the marble steps and the bookshop and the knitting shop. you find the most interesting places to visit! I love reading about the history of Edinburgh and how they built buildings on top of each other. Not a great way to live but it’s interesting reading about how people lived back then.

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