Buy some knitwear. The cashmere is good, but the lambswool is special: cheap, but dreamily soft
The Royal Mile is a succession of streets that make up the main thoroughfare of the Edinburgh’s Old Town. It includes Castlehill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street, the Canongate and Abbey Strand, which altogether run between two historically significant locations: Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. There’s no better place in Edinburgh for eating, shopping and people-watching.
It is approximately one Scots mile long, which is of course longer than the English mile. It actually varies from place to place but the most accepted equivalencies are 1,976 Imperial yards, or 1,800 metres. It was legally abolished three times, in 1685, 1707 and in 1824, when the Weights and Measures Act finally did away with it.
Parliament Square can be found alongside the High Street. This contains Parliament House and St. Giles’ Cathedral, and next to St Giles’ is the Heart of Midlothian, a heart-sharped pattern built into the cobbled road which marks the former site of a prison called Old Tolbooth. Soon after its demolition the site was marked with the heart mosaic. Ever since, locals have traditionally spat on its centre, either to express disgust or hoping for luck, or perhaps a bit of both.
The castle esplanade is the venue of the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which takes place throughout August as part of the Edinburgh Festival. In this context the word “tattoo” is derived from the Dutch for “closer the [beer] tap” — in other words: last orders. The British adopted the signal and it would be played by a regiment’s Corps of Pipes and Drums to tell tavern owners to turn off the taps of their ale kegs so the soldiers would go to bed at a reasonable hour. It eventually became a ceremonial form of military music as well, and during August you can watch the soldiers parade at night under smokey thistles of fireworks.
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