The best way to appreciate the historical past of Edinburgh is to explore the `Royal Mile` on foot. This famous thoroughfare was the heart of the Old Town of Edinburgh during medieval times, and stretches from the high hillside setting of Edinburgh Castle for approximately one mile downhill to the Palace of Holyrood House. It is really a continuation of four streets joined together - the Castle Hill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street and the Canongate.
Transferring by coach to Edinburgh, your walking tour commences at the Castle's Esplanade, with imposing Edinburgh Castle looming above you. This impressive castle-fortress which stands high above the surrounding landscape at one end of the Royal Mile, is truly a landmark of considerable importance. From here, your route takes you past Gladstone's Land, where some of the features of this interesting, tall, early 17th century building are an outside staircase, arcaded ground floor, oak shutters, leaded glass, and crow-stepped gables.
Also seen is Lady Stair's House - now a literary museum dedicated to the works of Burns, Scott and Stevenson. This 17th century house can be seen from a secluded close that enters into a spacious courtyard. And then there is St. Giles Cathedral, with its crown spire as a much recognized landmark, standing adjacent to Parliament Square, where the buildings now house the Law Courts of Scotland.
A former resident of Edinburgh was famous church reformer John Knox, and his 16th century house has been rebuilt extensively through the years. Today it has a red-tiled gable roof, projecting timber gallery and outside stairs.
Other sites included on your tour are the Church of Canongate, where many historical figures are buried in the churchyard, and the Palace of Holyrood House. This magnificent palace is the British Monarch's official residence in Scotland and is closely associated with Mary Queen of Scots, who resided here for six tragic years, and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Your guided visit of the Palace will include the state apartments which are filled with tapestries, paintings and impressive furniture. Of special interest is the picture gallery with over 80 portraits of Scottish Monarchs.
At the conclusion of your walking tour, you will rejoin your coach for the transfer back to Leith.