Try to coincide you visit with either December’s Christmas fair or August’s Edinburgh Festival celebrations
Princes Street Gardens is a public park in the heart of Edinburgh, set under the looming Castle Rock. It was built in two phases in the 1770s and 1820s following the draining of the Nor Loch and the construction of New Town, where the philosopher David Hume lived. The loch was an artificial bog that at one time formed part of the defences of Edinburgh Castle, but in later years it made expansion to the north difficult and was thoroughly polluted by sewage flowing from the Old Town.
The park is divided by The Mound into the East Gardens and the West Gardens, both of which house an array of monuments. Among those in the East Gardens are the Scott monument, a Gothic spire built in 1844 to honour Sir Walter Scott, and a commemorative stone to honour volunteers from the Lothians and Fife who fought in the Spanish Civil War.
On the other side in the West Gardens you can find the world’s first floral clock, who design changes every year, and also the Ross Bandstand, which is location of the Edinburgh Festival Fireworks Concert, as well as where the city’s Hogmanay (New Year’s) celebrations take place.
Blood from a stone
In Princes Street Gardens there is an 11th cenutury Swedish runestone, designated U 1173 in the Rundata catalogue. Originally from Lilla Ramsjö, it was donated to Scotland by Sir Alexander Seton of Preston and Ekolsund. Its transcription reads: “Ari raised the stone in memory of Hjalmr, his father. May God help his spirit.”
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