Why a musical tour?
Who is this tour suitable for?
What are we getting for our money?
What happens if the weather is really bad?
How long does the tour last?
Where does the musical tour of Edinburgh take us?
What clothes do I need to wear?
Safety:This tour is quite safe. There is no real danger involved, however, we cannot accept responsibility for you own personal safety. Please be careful crossing the road. Clothing:There is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothes. Footwear important: This is a walking tour with steps and slopes. Different languages?Your guide speaks in English. If English is not your first language he will speak slowly. There is plenty visual stimulation to keep you entertained. Children under 7 are free accompanied by a parent or guardian.
OOR Tours Pledge: In the event of extreme weather conditions, ill health, thunderbolts from the sky, or other unforseen acts of god, a full refund will be given - but not after the tour has started.
More Edinburgh information
Edinburgh has a population of over 450,000 which more than doubles during the Festival period in August every year.
Edinburgh's Hogmanay is the biggest street party in the world with over 100,000
JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, was inspired to write her first novel 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' whist sitting in a café in Edinburgh.
Sean Connery, or “Tam” as he then known, was born and grew up in Edinburgh and attended Bruntsfield Primary School. As a boy he delivered milk to Fettes College, where, ironically, Ian Fleming, the author of 007 James Bond (and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), was educated Tony Blair, Britain’s Prime Minister from 1997-2007 also attended Fettes.
Edinburgh University was established in 1583.
Edinburgh was designated the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2004.
Edinburgh Castle has over one million visitors each year and is Scotland‘s most popular visitor attraction. It has been continually occupied longer than any other building in the United Kingdom.
Movies to have been filmed in Edinburgh and aound 'The 39 Steps', 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie', 'Jude' Starring Christopher Eccleston and 'Mary Reilly' starring Julia Roberts and the television series of ‘Rebus’ novels by Ian Rankin.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh at Picardy Place and is said to have modelled the famous detective on Professor Joseph Bell, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, who observed small details of his patients to diagnose their social and health background.
There is a memorial to the Scottish soldiers who died in the American Civil War and a statue of Abraham Lincoln - the first one erected outside the USA - In the Old Calton Burial Ground
The Royal Yacht Britannia served the Royal Family for over forty years (1954-97) and is the last in a long line of Royal Yachts. It is permanently berthed is at Ocean Terminal in the historic port of Leith and open to visitors.
The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, was born at 16 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh and lived there until he was about 16 years old. He moved to London, then Canada and then to the United States, where in 1873 he was appointed a professor in the School of Oratory, Boston University.
Robert Louis Stevenson lived at 17 Heriot Row in the New Town. He was an only child and his father built lighthouses. His most famous novels are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.
The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with cities such as Bath, Rome and Venice.
Princes Street Gardens, situated in the city centre, boasts the world's oldest floral clock and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh contains Britain's tallest Palm House in The Glasshouse Experience.
John Muir, the founder of America's National Parks, was born in Dunbar, just outside Edinburgh and is commemorated at the John Muir House & Country Park in East Lothian.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is HM The Queen's official residence in Scotland.
The Statue of Greyfriar's Bobby, is commemorated by a statue of on George IV Bridge just outside Bobby’s Bar where Graeme E. Pearson plays music most weekends. Click on Graeme’s website. The Skye terrier sat on his master’s grave for 14 years after his master died. Even Queen Victoria used to ask after the dog. The statue was erected in 1858.
Edinburgh has many events on all the year round:
Festivals in Edinburgh: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe - Edinburgh International Book Festival Edinburgh International Film Festival - The Edinburgh Festival - Ediniburgh Jazz and Blues Festival - Scottish Internationl Story Telling Festival at the Scottish Story Telling Centre - The Mela Festival - The Edinburgh International Science Festival - Edinburgh Art Festival - Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival - The Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Imaginate Festival - Edinburgh Hogmanay and New Year Party Museums in Edinburgh: The People's Story Museum - Museum of Childhood - The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - National Museums of Scotland - Surgeons Hall Museums - Stills: Scotland's Centre for photography - The Royal Yacht Britannia: The Official website of The Royal Yacht Britannia - The Scott Monument
The castle rock has stood for 340 million years. It is the result of a huge volcanic plug over and extinct volcano. The subsequent ice ages eroded away the softer rock around the hard igneous rock on which the castle now stands. The first recorded history of people living around the castle is from the Romans who called the locals tribe Votadini. They were later referred to as the Gododdin. The Angles settled in the area after a battle in Yorkshire with the locals around 638. In 843 AD Kenneth MacAlpine united the Picts and the Scots who lived north of the Forth and Clyde to bring into being the nation of Scotland.
In 1018 Malcolm II won a battle with the Angles (Now known as the English.) at Carham, close to Berwick on the River Tweed, thus establishing control of the Lothians by The King of Scots. In 1093 there is reference to a Castle on the rock being called the “Castle of the Maidens”. In November that year Queen Margaret (later St. Margaret) died coincidently after hearing the news that her other half, King Malcolm III had died along with his son while fighting the Northumbrians at Alnwick.
Malcolm and Margaret’s youngest son became David 1st. of Scotland (1124-1153). It was his favoured residence and in his reign the castle became a royal fortress. The responsibility for it’s upkeep fell to the Constable who later became called the Governor. The king’s sheriff also stayed here and stored revenues and unfortunate prisoners. The very first Scottish Parliament met at Edinburgh Castle around 1140.
Edward the 1st. of England invaded in 1296 and captured the castle and it remained in their hands until 14th. March 1314. Robert the Bruce’s nephew, Sir Thomas Randolph, was shown a secret passage by a local man called William Francis. Francis had lived there as a boy. He knew it well and had ascended the rock often to meet his fancy woman. Randolph and his followers climbed up the rocks and caught the English by surprise. Robert the Bruce then had the castle knocked down to prevent it being used again by the English. It lay in ruins for the next 20 years until war broke out again with England. It’s recapture was yet another feat of bravery. In April 1341 wine and provisions arrived at the port of Leith for the English garrison. The Scots pretended to be sailors on the boat and carried the goods up to the castle and through the main gate. As they did so they dropped the barrels in line with the gates to prevent them from closing. Douglas and his merry men rushed in and brutally slaughtered the garrison of 100 men by cutting their throats and throwing them over the crags.
Robert the Bruce’s son, David II, rebuilt the castle and David’s Tower is named after him. He died in 1371 and The Stewart Dynasty began. James III (1451-1488) hardly left the castle and it was in his reign that Edinburgh became the capital if Scotland. The Castle became a strong fortress and royal residence. The Honours of Scotland were kept here and the state archives. However, the Stewarts moved out of the castle and down to stay mainly at Holyrood House, just down at the end of The Royal Mile next to where the new Scottish Parliament now stands. The Scottish Royal family also stayed at Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle and Falkland Palace.
In 1566 Mary Queens of Scots came to Edinburgh Castle to give birth to her only child James 6th. - later to be the first king of Great Britain and Ireland. Mary left Scotland in 1568 for England and the supposed protection of her cousin Elizabeth 1st. of England. Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange, the Governor of Edinburgh Castle remained loyal to Mary and by the summer of 1571 he was defiantly holding on to the castle for his Queen. The Lang Siege dragged on for well over a year until 1573 when the besiegers sought help from Queen Elizabeth who sent twenty heavy guns from Berwick which were positioned in a circle around the castle. Ten days of constant bombardment ensued and the east side of the castle was brought down as was David’s Tower and Constable’s Tower. Kirkcaldy surrendered and was executed. Most of the garrison were given their freedom but his severed head was impaled on a spike of the castle walls.
Charles 1st. slept at Edinburgh Castle on the night before his Scottish Coronation in 1633. In 1650 Oliver Cromwell had defeated the Scots at Dunbar and made the castle his headquarters on Christmas Day of that year. From then on the it became permanently manned by soldiers. Previously it had only been filled with men-at-arms in times of crisis. Much of Edinburgh Castle today is from the 17th. Century.
From 1689 to 1745 Scotland was in the grip of 5 Jacobite rebellions. This was a political and religious struggle which spread out all over Europe. The Jacobite’s almost took Edinburgh Castle for “The King over the water“ in 1715. They tried to break in through the Western Defences, where the Duke of Gordon and Viscount Dundee had held a meeting some years before to agree a plan of action for war against those who they believed should not be King or Queen of The United Kingdom. This failed but the authorities were frightened enough to build up the artillery defences on the north and west sides. The last Jacobite Rising was in 1745 and their leader, Bonnie Prince Charlie, did not have sufficient fire power to test the walls of the castle. This was the last military action Edinburgh Castle saw.
In February 1818 Sir Walter Scott and others looked on as the Crown Room door was broken down and the locks in the large oak chest were burst open. Inside were The Honours of Scotland (The Crown Jewels) where they had been left after the Treaty of Union in 1707. The Honours were displayed to the public and George IV saw them when he visited Edinburgh in 1822. His visit was the first by a reigning sovereign since Charles II in 1651 to visit Scotland. Sir Walter also helped to return Mons Meg (A very large Gun) to the castle from the Tower of London in 1829. This heralded the a new use for the castle - as a visitor attraction. In 1836 the soldiers in the Birth Chamber in the Royal Palace were politely asked to sleep elsewhere and it was opened to visitors. In 1846 St. Margaret’s Chapel was restored. It had previously been used as a munitions store. A new Gatehouse was built in 1888 and the Great Hall was restored in 1891.
The cities of Europe have burned in the past. They have been demolished and rebuilt. Some medieval buildings still stand next to modern concrete constructions. During the two worlds wars of the twentieth century Edinburgh escaped large scale destruction and so some buildings have remained over hundreds of years. In the 2nd. World war the luftwaffe (German air force) attempted to bomb the Forth Rail Bridge, about 8 miles west of Edinburgh, but were unsuccessful. A rumour spread amongst the people of Edinburgh that Hitler did not want to bomb Scotland’s Capital because he wanted Edinburgh Castle for his headquarters. This story has no substance but it is true that Hitler was fascinated by Wagnerian images: Castles on hills being one of them like Neuschwanstein and Hoenschwangau in Bavaria.
Today Edinburgh Castle receives over 1 million visitors a year, which is interesting because most of it’s life it has been used to keeping people out. It is a visitor attraction run by Historic Scotland and houses war memorials and The Stone of Destiny - Otherwise known as The Stone of Scone.
In the modern era the castle esplanade hosts the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo and many live acts such as Rod Stewart, Runrig, Girls Aloud, West Life, Boyzone, The Proclaimers, Leonard Cohen, Cliff Richard, Graeme E. Pearson, Franz Ferdinand, Simple Minds, Bob Dylan, Duran Duran, Crosby, Stills and Nash and many many more.