Top treasures to explore this Easter

Edinburgh is one of the UK’s proudest cities, according to this recent YouGov survey. With some 90 per cent of the capital’s residents claiming to be fairly or very proud to call Edinburgh their home, the city was only outdone by Brighton, which boasted a score of 91 per cent.

While the city’s transport links, green space and fine array of restaurants were all deemed important, Edinburgh’s historic landmarks were rated its most valued asset.

Here are five of Edinburgh’s top treasures to explore this Easter weekend…

Sprintime, Easter, treasures of Edinburgh, Lauriston Castle, Monuments and statues

The Scott Monument

Commemorating historical novelist, playwright and poet Sir Walter Scott, the Scott Monument is the largest monument to any writer in the world. With some 287 steps to climb before you reach the top, the stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside can be appreciated all the more. The foundation stone was laid on 15 August 1840, which was Scott’s birthday. Designed by George Meikle Kemp, this amazing Gothic structure features 64 statues of characters from Scott’s books, as well as a statue of the man himself, with his dog Maida.

The Nelson Monument

Perched upon the top of the city’s Calton Hill, the Nelson Monument was built in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Closely resembling a stone telescope, the Monument contains a ‘time ball’ - dropped at 1 o’clock each day – which was added in 1852 to help sailors who had to know the exact time when working out longitude. Inside the monument you can read a copy of Nelson’s last letter to the love of his life, Lady Hamilton, and see a model of his flagship Victory.

The Melville Monument

Erected in St Andrew Square in 1823 to commemorate Henry Dundas, the first Viscount Melville, the Melville Monument was designed by William Burn and modelled on Trajan’s Column in Rome. As the King’s chancellor, Dundas has been described as the most powerful Scot of his day and was known as the ‘Uncrowned King of Scotland’. To celebrate the coming of Spring and the age of the Edinburgh Enlightenment, the Council has installed a ‘Light Fantastic’ interactive light display at the base of the monument. If you haven’t tried it yet, visit the Light Fantastic page to find out more and for instructions on talking part.

Lauriston Castle

Set within a historic garden laid out by William Henry Playfair in the 1840s, Lauriston Castle is a stunning treasure. Overlooking the Firth of Forth and Cramond Island, the castle is worth a visit for the views alone. The Castle enjoyed three periods of construction. The oldest part is the Tower House or ‘Scottish Keep’, which was built for the Napier family in 1593. Between 1824 and 1827, the architect William Burn added a two-storey extension, before the Library was built over the servants’ wing in the 1870s. Elegant carpets, rugs and mosaics and furniture from Southern Italy help create elegant and comfortable surroundings. The Castle also boasts an award-winning Japanese Friendship garden. See what events are taking place this Spring at the castle at the Edinburgh Museums & Galleries website.

Greyfriars Bobby

This statue of the small Skye terrier is a well-known Edinburgh landmark and was erected in honour of a loyal dog who spent 14 years guarding his owner’s grave. When John Gray – an Edinburgh City Police Officer and night watchman – died he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, where his dog sat. The story is known the world over, with several books and films having been made to celebrate Bobby’s life. In 1867, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir William Chambers, paid for Bobby’s licence and gave the dog a collar, which is now on view in the nearby Museum of Edinburgh.

Happy Easter Edinburgh!

(Image used with thanks to CC, Mariana Saska)

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