Edinburgh thrives with literary history and ages of torment and turmoil. There were golden moments of ages past which at times seem a distant memory. What Edinburgh, Scotland always leaves people with is the sensation of being home…
Hidden behind trees near Picardy Place stands the famous Sherlock Holmes Statue. It looks away from the building and downward at a paw print which cannot easily be seen. The size of the statue puts Sherlock’s character into perspective and brings him to life.
Erected in 1991, the statue commemorates the birthplace of author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and marks the 50th anniversary of the Federation of Master Builders. The popularity of Doyle’s consulting detective continues to grow, even today. From shows to movies and taverns to eateries, Conan Doyle’s creation is greatly admired and influential. People can even catch the BBC series Sherlock, a modern take on the character.
After admiring the statue, check out the pub, The Conan Doyle, across from the statue in York Place. Here, people can find flavorful drinks and food to tie off their experience.
Take a tour through pubs which writers like Roberts Burns and William Wordsworth frequented, and delve into stories of their inspiration, sexual intrigue, drinking, and debauchery. The tour starts off at the Beehive Inn, located in the Old Town, where people can check in or buy tickets and then head upstairs with a drink or two.
Throughout the journey, the guides act out a battle of wits: one provides the rough, dark, and drunken side of writers and their processes while the other lays out historical facts and poems.
The two jest and banter with each other to give a lively tour; one which gives history from all angles and brings the audience into the dark, yet inspirational times of writers.
Make sure to bring a light jacket for it gets a bit chilly at night and be ready to listen to tales of history under the dim lamps and soot stained buildings from the Old Town to the New Town.
Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour
Edinburgh, EH1 2JU, UK
+44 131 226 6665
May – Sept: Everyday 7:30pm
April – Oct: Thurs – Sun 7:30pm
Jan, Feb & March: Fri & Sun 7:30pm
Nov & Dec: Friday 7:30pm
The Writers’ Museum, housed in what used to be Lady Stair’s home, can be found off the Royal Mile in Makar’s Court; which means poet or author’s court. The area is not frequented as often as other places. Quotes from famous writers, such as Hugh MacDiarmid and Robert Burns, are etched into the cobblestones greeting all those who enter or pass.
The museum features three Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Guests are immediately met with the choice of ascending or descending the small spiral staircase.
Downstairs, people are lead into the intriguing life of Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island. People can view his personal books, old Tartan scarf, and even a portrait his wife supposedly was not quite fond of. It is said that the artist insisted on painting the infamous author of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
On the upstairs floors, people can find strange and intriguing trinkets from Sir Walter Scott’s and Robert Burn’s personal items from a plaster of Burn’s skull to Scott’s published books. Make sure to check out the top floor to view a popular printing press.
Steeped with a sophisticated atmosphere and homely vibe, this tavern draws people in from all around. Named after the famous Deacon Brodie in 1806, this tavern captures the dualistic nature which Robert Louis Stevenson portrays in his famous book, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Brodie was a respectable businessman during the day and a burglar at night in the late 18th century. The tavern separates its quiet dining from the bar. If looking for a quiet evening and a nice dinner head upstairs to the restaurant area. Make sure to get there early or make a reservation.
If wanting a livelier atmosphere with some drinks and appetizers, downstairs is the place to be. Here, people can try cheese covered mushrooms for about £5.25. Add a pint of lager and you’ll have an enjoyable time with friends. They also serve small portions of onion rings and the traditional haggis. From about 4 pm on weekdays and most weekends the tavern is quite busy. For a good dining experience, try to arrive early in the day.