The scot and whiskey capital – Edinburgh

For almost a year, I was based out of Newcastle upon Tyne, where I was studying at the Northumbria University. Edinburgh is only 3 hours away from there by train and there are ample numbers from Newcastle as it falls on the London – Edinburgh route. The short train ride transports you to a different world. A place which feels as if it has been stopped in time. We choose the most lively time of the year to visit, A week before Christmas. The city had just geared for the festive season and the cold was defeated in spirit by the mood and emotions.

The architecture still is very much of the neoclassic type and the buildings feel as if they are still in the 19th century. These buildings greet you as soon as you come out of the station and are a part of the old town of Edinburgh. The most prominent in the architectural fabric of Edinburgh is the royal castle. Other buildings that immediately come to the eye are with stone construction, ornate windows and sloping roofs. You could argue that much of United Kingdom is still present in that state, the difference is that Edinburgh has preserved it the old town and the royal mile.

Edinburgh, Scotland, City, View, Architecture, castle
View of Edinburgh from the castle


The royal mile is where all the tourist destinations are. The castle, the scotch whiskey experience, gardens and then the Scottish parliament. The castle tour is worth for the history and the elevation it provides to take some stunning pictures of the city. There are guided tours available, I would refrain from those as the places open for public are very few and leave a lot to imagination. Some of the buildings are off limits to the tourists due to military presence in the castle.

Edinburgh, Scotland, City, View, Architecture, castle
View of the city from the castle
Edinburgh, Scotland, Sunset, View, Architecture, castle

Being the festive week the central market was very well lit up with lights, decoration, flea markets and a children fair. To add to the mood, most shops were offering sales and discounts. We went into the flea market, tried soup, crumpets and cookies. The Christmas cookies, were all over the market. Being an Indian traveler, such mood, reminds you of Diwali back home and the excitement of the season could be felt in the chilly winter breeze.

Edinburgh, Scotland, City, View, Architecture, castle, market, Christmas, lights, flea, lit
The fair at the main market
Edinburgh, Scotland, City, View, Architecture, market, Christmas, lights, flea, lit
The Christmas market

The next day we decided to visit the Scottish Parliament. A building that I had dreamed of visiting as an architecture student. Enrique Miralles has designed the building which in my opinion would soon become the symbol of the Scottish people. The building has be designed as a public building with free flowing spaces and the parliament in between those. The picture below shows the office windows, design by Miralles, where each window is a desk. We weren’t allowed to enter that part, but I can only imagine, how much fun it would be sitting and working inside the window!

Scottish Parliament, Enrique Miralles, Edinburgh, Architecture, Modern, office
The office block – the window desks
Scottish Parliament, Enrique Miralles, Edinburgh, Architecture, Modern, office
Scottish Parliament, Enrique Miralles, Edinburgh, Architecture, Modern, amphitheater, arthur, seat
Amphitheatre – Scottish Parliament

As an architect, you sometimes look around you for detailing. What better place than to look at a masterpiece of detailing. The detail below one of best transition spaces I have experienced. From the semi open to a covered canopy, the building makes you move seamlessly from one part to the other. The column design and detailing what differentiates the architects and the masters.

Scottish Parliament, Enrique Miralles, Edinburgh, Architecture, Modern, office, canopy, steel, glass, transition
A column detail for the canopy
Scottish Parliament, Enrique Miralles, Edinburgh, Architecture, Modern, model
Model of the parliament

Do check the detail of the roof in the picture below, which just testifies what my stand above. You need a master to begin imagining such a long span with laminated oak beams as steel cables. I have been truly humbled by the thinking and the design process adopted here.

Scottish Parliament, Enrique Miralles, Edinburgh, Architecture, Modern, debate, laminated oak, steel, wooden, long span
The parliament debate room

One of my favorite attractions is The Scotch Whiskey Experience. The place has a collection of about 4000 bottles of scotch and whiskey, out of which some are more than 200 years old. Being in the sheer presence of these bottles is salivating, only if you could touch these and have some of the alcohol in it. However, you get to taste 4 different types of whiskey’s after the tour that shows you how the whiskey is made. These are from the various regions of Scotland – Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside and Islay. The etiquette of drinking are also a part of the tour and you sure do come out a little more knowledgeable about whiskey. I developed a few favorites here. The Laphroig and Auchentoshen are part of the all time favorites,

Scotch, Whiskey, Bottles, Collection, Experience, Tasting, Edinburgh, Scotland
My profile picture of Facebook for a long time!
Scotch, Whiskey, Bottles, Collection, Experience, Tasting, Edinburgh, Scotland
Scotch, Whiskey, Bottles, Collection, Experience, Tasting, Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is a great place to spend a weekend with friends and it has a lot of things to keep you enthralled.

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