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A Route Through the Literary Capital

The beauty or darkness of some cities is capable of awakening the muses, spawning some unforgettable literary works. This is true of Edinburgh, with a literary impact that led it to be listed as the first UNESCO City of Literature in the world, in 2004. The honour is well deserved, bearing in mind the large number of writers who were born or lived here, in addition to fiction characters that have made their way into our lives. Ready to walk in the footsteps they have left in this city?

1. The Scott Monument

Sir Walter Scott is a prominent writer of British romanticism, famed for creating the historic novel genre. His major works include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and Waverley. One of the most highly valued writer among Edinburghers themselves, his memory in the city is ever-present. This is attested by the Scott Monument,a Victorian Gothic temple built between 1840 and 1844. Being 61.1 metres high, it affords magnificent views over the city, although you have to climb 287 steps to get there. You have been warned!

2. Deacon Brodie’s Tavern

We are indebted to Robert Louis Stevenson for having taken us on a voyage to Treasure Island and created a character to delight any psychologist in the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The protagonist of the latter is based on the figure of Deacon Brodie, a respectable businessman from the 18th century who suffered from the mental disorder of dual personality. Sited on the Royal Mile, Deacon Brodie’s Tavern is a pub which pays tribute to this novel and its main character. Don’t hesitate to go inside to have a few pints and taste their haggis, a Scottish delicacy based on spiced meat innards, served with turnip and mashed potato.

3. The Sherlock Holmes Statue

Who is the most famous detective of all time? The first person who comes to mind is bound to be Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his creator, was inspired by the figure of Professor Joseph Bell, famed for his analytical powers of deduction. The Sherlock Holmes Statue is located in Picardy Place, where the house in which Conan Doyle was born once stood. Also in that square is The Conan Doyle, a pub dedicated to the writer and the perfect excuse to savour the wonderful pints and magnificent whisky the city has to offer.

4. The Burns Monument

Robert Burns, a pioneer of the Romantic movement, is Scotland’s best known poet. His poem and – subsequently – song, Auld Lang Syne, is traditionally sung at farewells in English-speaking countries. The Burns Monument, a Greek-style templet built in 1830,is sited on Calton Hill, one of the most privileged spots in Edinburgh. It has become a veritable icon of the city and affords stunning views. Make sure you visit it!

5. The Leith Harbour District

Irvine Welsh is celebrated as the author of Trainspotting, a novel relating the irony of and miserable life led by heroin addicts. His straightforward style scored with slang led it to become a cult novel for a whole generation. The story is set in the Leith district, an area of strife at the time, as reflected in his book. Nowadays the district has changed quite a lot, although its still retains some of its roguish atmosphere. A local guided tour takes you to spots referenced in his novel which served the author with inspiration.

6. The Writers’ Museum

Those wishing to learn more about the figures of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson should make sure they visit The Writers’ Museum. It is well worth visiting, if only for its location, as it is situated at the top end of the Royal Mile in Lady Stair’s Close. The museum houses manuscripts, books and the personal belongings of these three geniuses of Scottish literature.

7. The Elephant House

You shouldn’t leave Edinburgh without visiting The Elephant House, the tea and coffee shop where J.K. Rowling wrote some of the adventures of Harry Potter.

Ready to venture into the literary heart of Edinburgh? Check out your Vueling here.


Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Raphaël Chekroun, Brian CK, Spixey, Alan Weir, Kyle Taylor


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