The apartment looks over Greyfriars Church (built in 1620) and churchyard to the spires and roofs of the Old Town. There are many tales attached to Greyfriars, perhaps the most famous of which is that of Greyfriars Bobby, a faithful Skye terrier. So devoted was the dog to his master John Gray that when Gray died and was buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, Bobby kept guard over the grave for fourteen years until his own death in 1872. The dog is buried close to his master and his faithfulness is commemorated in a statue opposite the entrance to the churchyard at the junction of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the churchyard was a haunt of the ‘Resurrection Men’: body-snatchers who would dig up fresh corpses to sell for dissection to anatomists at the nearby medical school. You can find out more about Edinburgh’s grisly past on the guided tours that leave from the Royal Mile (see, for example, Mercat Tours, Witchery Tours and Mary King’s Close). The church is an atmospheric concert venue and there are regular recitals and concerts throughout the year, including during the Edinburgh Festival.
Across the road from Greyfriars Bobby are the National Museum of Scotland, an award-winning modern building that holds the national collections, and the adjoining Royal Scottish Museum, an impressive Victorian building that houses international collections of decorative arts, science, industry, archaeology and the natural world. The Tower Restaurant on the top floor of the Museum of Scotland has terraces with spectacular views over the city.
The apartment is close to the main campus of the University of Edinburgh (established in 1582) and its landmark buildings Old College (the Faculty of Law), the Medical School and the McEwan Hall. Beyond the University lie the Meadows, a large area of open parkland. The Meadows were originally under water: the Burgh Loch, which was drained in 1740, was one of Edinburgh’s main water supplies. The area is now one of the city’s biggest green spaces, ideal for jogging. There are public tennis courts, a children’s playpark and Bruntsfield Links Golf Course, one of the oldest courses in the world, where you can have a round of pitch-and-putt.
From the apartment it is a short walk along George IV Bridge to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle or down Candlemaker Row to the picturesque Grassmarket and the more earthy Cowgate, centre of the city’s nightlife. The Royal Mile, the backbone of medieval Edinburgh, connects Edinburgh Castle at one end with the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Parliament at the other. Don’t miss Victoria Street, one of the most charming streets in the city, with its colourful mix of shops, restaurants, cafés and bars; it snakes down from George IV Bridge to the Grassmarket. Edinburgh’s main visitor attractions are on your doorstep and the neighbourhood is full of attractive independent shops and restaurants and bars to suit all budgets, from cheap and cheerful cafés to fine dining establishments. The Hub (the official centre for the Edinburgh International Festival) and the Festival Fringe office are on the Royal Mile, and you can easily walk to many of the Festival venues. You are also ideally placed to enjoy the Christmas and Hogmanay/New Year festivities.