Harper College

Summer Adventure in Edinburgh, Scotland!

Another Summer Semester at Harper College means many things. Among these numerous things are some quality time off to enjoy the bright sunshine and summer weather in general, instructive and skill-building classes, and quality study sessions in the college library. Included in this list must be my Summer blog post as a Library Assistant at Harper. I hope that you, the reader, have as much fun in reading this post as I had in writing it! The topic you ask? Well, it is about my recent May 2024 vacation trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. In this blog post, I will highlight some of my favorite sights of the trip.

To get to Edinburgh, which is part of the UK (United Kingdom), I took the train from King’s Cross station in London, England, approximately 5 hours north, to Edinburgh, Scotland. The next two days were spent exploring the city, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The most famous attraction in Edinburgh, which I thankfully walked up to and saw (along with the expansive crowd of tourists from all over the world), was Edinburgh Castle. Built on a hill (aptly named Castlehill) overlooking much of the city, I was taken aback by the sheer size and approximately 1,000-year-old stone that comprises the makeup of the castle. At the front of the castle, marking the entrance, are two statues. Each is a famous Scot from history, one is Robert the Bruce (the King of Scots from 1306 to 1329, and a national hero) and the other is William Wallace (famously depicted in the 1995 Mel Gibson directed film, Braveheart).

A picture of Edinburgh Castle.

Another attraction in the city that I thoroughly enjoyed going to was St. Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile (streets in the Old Town) of Edinburgh. I went to this famous church, built in the 12th century. Originally a Catholic church, it became a Protestant one when John Knox, the most well-known figure of the Scottish Reformation, became its minister in 1559. With breath-taking architecture, and both tourists and Christian worshipers there, I was inspired and ended up staying for a significantly longer time than I originally thought I would.

A picture of the Statue of John Knox in St. Gile's Cathedral.

A different site that I visited in Edinburgh was the National Gallery, a collection of art dating back many centuries. The National Gallery exhibits both church and secular art. The scope of paintings that I saw there is on an equal footing with the Art Institute of Chicago, in my opinion. The biggest difference, you may wonder? Entry into Scotland’s National Gallery is completely free, while the current admission price for the Art Institute is $32 for an adult ticket and $26 for a student ticket. If I had more time to explore the space and learn, I would have done so in that building, as well as the Modern Gallery and the Portrait Gallery that are next door to the “National.”

A picture of the National Gallery in Edinburgh.

As a side note, the sunset that I observed when I ended my time sightseeing for the day was magnificent. Right outside of the Royal Mile that I mentioned before was a cityscape of some of the older and newer buildings in Edinburgh, with the backdrop of a mellow, golden sunset. I took a snapshot of the scene, which I have included below.

A picture of the sunset in Edinburgh, near the Royal Mile.

In summary, my time in Edinburgh was well worth the money, time, and energy to go “across the pond” on a plane to London and take the long train ride north into Edinburgh itself. It truly was an enjoyable “holiday” (as the Brits call it when one takes a vacation), and I hope to visit Scotland again to see other sites that the land has to offer. I hope I have inspired you as the reader to seriously consider taking a trip to Edinburgh. You will not regret it! Until then, be sure to use some of the travel and history resources in the Harper Library before you go on your trip. We have plenty of materials to choose from as you research and plan. As always, if you need more in-depth help with such a project, our librarians and library assistants are here and happy to help!

Last Updated: 6/7/24