Emily Burritt on Photos of England’s Lake…
2010 Cambridge Summer Program Guide to Edinburgh
I. To Visit:
Location: Anchor Close
(on Waverly Bridge between Market Street and High Street(Royal Mile))
Just a quick stop in the area of Anchor Close and you can experience where Scottish printing took birth in 1508! The very widely known and used Encyclopaedia Britannica was printed here in Edinburgh in 1768 in an old workshop in the alleyway. Archibald Constable was responsible for publishing the Britannica as well as the Edinburgh Review. In addition, the Chambers Encyclopaedia and Blackwood’s Magazine also originated from this area during the Scottish Enlightenment thanks to Scotland’s pioneer publishers. Today there are over 80 publishing houses in Edinburgh and they still take pride in the countries publishing title for being the ones responsible for publishing the well-known book Life of Pi. This site is worth the visit because it gives you a taste of history which most people don’t get to experience. Not many people can say they’ve stood where the Britannica was made!
The Museum of Childhood
Opening hours Monday-Saturday 10am-5pmSunday 12-5pm.
42 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh
It a museum filled with toys, games, and educational tools from different decades that show how children and the concept of childhood have changed over the years. I want to go here because it relates to my final project about how children are perceived by adults in children’s adventure stories.
The Writers’ Museum
Located in the Lady Stairs’ House
Open Monday-Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5
The Writers’ Museum would be an excellent place to visit because it has works from a lot of great Scottish writers, like Robert Burns. It also has portraits of writers, and articles from the time in which they were writing. A lot of the museum goes into the details of the lives of the authors as well.
The Sir Walter Scott Monument
Located in the Princes Street Gardens which is directly off Princes Street
Open from 9am-8pm
Tickets are 2.50 GBP
As we all seem to enjoy the old architecture, the Sir Walter Scott monument looks like a place we can all enjoy and that will not eat up a large amount of time. The entrance fee is affordable and the location seems to be central as Prince Street (from looking at a map) runs through a good chunk of the city. The monument is named after Sir Walter Scott who is a prominent literary figure in Scotland and inside the monument is a display on his life and work. There is also the option to climb the monument and go up to various lookouts that overlook the city. The reviews suggest it gets pretty tight with only one way up and down but for those that don’t mind a bit of claustrophobia the view looks worth the climb.
7 Cowgatehead, Edinburgh EH1 1JY
Hours: 11am-6pm (Mon-Fri); 10am-6pm (Sat)
Transreal Fiction appears to be a well liked shop specializing in sci-fi, fantasy, and other such books for those wanting a break from this dimension. The store has been open for over a decade, and has a good reputation. The shop is independently owned, and is surrounded by shops equally as interesting. The closeness to Edinburgh Castle makes it the prime place to pop of to after a day of sightseeing.
The Elephant House
‘birthplace of Harry Potter’
21 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EN
Open 8:00am – 11:00pm, seven days a week.
Once known as Nicolson’s café, this building was the site where J.K. Rowling wrote much of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The back room of the Elephant House overlooks Edinburgh Castle, said to be the inspiration for the exterior of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In operation throughout the 2000s as a Chinese Buffet Restaurant, the café has been re-opened as a coffee shop as a tribute to its literary history. When visiting, one can locate the table where Rowling preferred to sit and write. Though one can purchase t-shirts and sweatshirts that say ‘birthplace of Harry Potter,’ the café is not overtly touristy or ‘themed’ after the Harry Potter books. Rather, the Elephant House features hundreds of model elephants of all shapes and sizes. Local reviewers recommend the pots of loose leaf tea, and also indicate that one should visit during off-hours to avoid crowds and enjoy the atmosphere.
National Library of Scotland
What better to do in a UNESCO city of literature than check out some books? And what better place to check out books than a library that has every title published in the country of Scotland? While you cannot take any souvenirs with you (except those that they sell in the newly added gift shop), the National Library of Scotland is free and open to the public. A recent renovation made the site more accessible for tourists, who are now able to view items on display and browse the library’s massive catalogue, including maps, artifacts, and manuscripts. The main public building of the library is the George IV Bridge Building, located on George IV Bridge, near Market St. and St. Giles Cathedral. Generally, the reading rooms in this building are open from 9:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night, except on Sunday when the building is closed. While browsing through the massive catalogue may be one of the lengthier things to do in Edinburgh, spending time at the library will immerse you in the deep cultural history of Scotland and the rich literary life of the city.
The Scottish Storytelling Centre
43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR
Open 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday all year, and Sundays 12noon-6pm in July and August.
No admission charge
This storytelling centre in Scotland would be one of the things that I think would be interesting to visit for a variety of different reasons. The centre relates heavily to much of the material covered in the Growing up English course as well as presenting the visitor with an idea of the oral history of Scotland. With the concepts of nationality and childhood intertwined in this one building a slice of the culture of Scotland is available. In addition to the storytelling courtyard the building also boasts a library and a theatre which also illustrates the significant connection between children’s literature and performance. Being able to see a story performed live would be engaging as well as informative in this historic building which contributes to the vibrant literary life throughout Edinburgh.
II. For your shopping pleasure:
The Old Children’s Bookshelf
175 Canongate Royal Mile
EDINBURGH Mon – Fri 10.30 – 5, Sat 10 – 5, Sun 11 – 4.30.
The Old Children’s Bookshelf houses an array of children’s books and according to reviews has a “nostalgic” feel for customers. There is a wide range of titles for both boys and girls, and there are also comics or magazines to peruse through. The bookstore is described as medium-sized, and has a large selection of adventure books, Scottish novels, and old-fashioned stories. I would recommend that we, as a class, should go there because it sounds as though it could accommodate everyone’s individual interests as far as children’s books and that it would be big enough for all of us to enjoy at the same time. According to its website, the Old Children’s Bookshelf also contains early 20th century women’s fiction, children’s books of both World Wars, and sections of fantasy and science fiction. I think The Old Children’s Bookshelf would be worthwhile to see while in Scotland as it has much to offer the avid reader. Kerry Feltner
“Possibly the best second-hand bookshop in the world. Words can’t describe the
wonders kept inside this beautiful shop. Everything that you want is here. There’s
always a stream of new books coming in too. A really friendly shop, and very helpful.
If all second-hand bookshops were like Till’s, the world would be a better place.”
– The Edinburgh University Students’ Association Survival Guide
1 Hope Park Crescent
Scotland UK EH8 9NA
Phone Number: 0 131 667 0895
This Bookshop has a wide range of books, and especially provides a large amount of second-hand books, perfect for a student! Till’s also specializes in Penguin editions, and since Penguin publishes so many mainstream classics, this is an excellent bookshop to find everyone’s favorite canonical text.
Address: 72-74 West Port EDINBURGH Midlothian EH1 2LE
Phone Number: 0131 229 5927 map
Hours: 10-7 seven days a week
This shop has gotten several good reviews, and seems to be a fun place to wander amongst delightfully untidy rows – While it might not be the best place to find a specific title, I have the feeling this is the type of jumbled bookshop that offers one a long afternoon of unfocused browsing. Armchair Books is also unique in that it is actually two separate bookshops side by side. Added Bonus: the shop boasts a mascot – a Collie named Struan!
III. And if you want to catch a show:
Saturday July 31, 7PM – Great Expectations
The Lodge Grounds, North Berwick (7 miles outside Edinburgh)
£6 for students
This is an outdoor venue, so be sure to bring a blanket or a towel or something to sit on. This is a new adaptation of Dicken’s most popular novel, brought to us by the Quantum Theatre Company, and it’s a story that we surely all know. Tickets are available through http://www.bruntontheatre.co.uk, and from there, you can buy student tickets, or else call 0131 665 2240. Tickets are also available from the North Berwick tourist information. Chris Bovio