Official Guide to Edinburgh

Edinburgh's 101 Objects - Beyond the City Centre

*Please note - this unique campaign has now ended, however the majority of objects are still available to see around the city so please continue to browse and enjoy our Edinburgh's 101 Objects itineraries. The information was correct as of 30/07/2019.

With so many items in the Edinburgh's 101 Objects list, it comes as no surprise a number of them are spread across the city. In this guide to some of the capital's most historically significant objects, we're taking you to a couple of different locations beyond Edinburgh city centre - so check the bus routes on each object's listing or make sure you have access to a car before you set out!

And don't worry if you decide to spread visiting these objects over different days. There's more than enough in each area to keep you entertained - so enjoy exploring!

Edinburgh Zoo

57 Sir Nils Olav Hero

In the west of the city is Edinburgh Zoo, a worthwhile visit in and of itself, but it also houses two entries on our list - and one of them is a member of the Norwegian armed forces. Object 57 is Brigadier Sir Nils Olav, a king penguin. If you want to pay special respects, consider visiting him on May 17th - when Edinburgh hosts the largest parade for Norway's Independence Day outside Oslo.

While at the Zoo, make time to visit Object 88 - the paw print of Tian Tian the Giant Panda, one of a pair of Pandas on loan to Scotland from China. The paw print is itself free to view, but entry to the Zoo to see Tian Tian, and her partner Yang Guang, is ticketed.

Royal Botanic Garden

46 Sabal Palm Hero

The Royal Botanic Garden is home to four of Edinburgh's 101 Objects. Joke as you may about the climate, Edinburgh is home to what may be the oldest Sabal Palm tree in the world, which is Object 46 and also the garden's oldest plant. Brought to the garden in 1822, the palm has witnessed the world changing around it for more than 200 years.

The palm is young though, compared to Object 50 - a 10.5 metre-long fossilised tree, the biggest fossil ever found in Britain and a relic from a time when what is now Scotland was actually much closer to the equator.

Unveiled in 2018, Object 49, marks another kind of history. Gifted by Edinburgh's Chinese community to the Royal Botanic Garden, the Ting was sculpted by master craftsmen in China. It recognises both the Garden's proud history of botanical research and scientific achievement, as well as the long-established and flourisihing relationship between Scotland and China.

Object 56 is the oldest-known English-cast bell in Scotland, and for 300 years was used to signal lunchtime and the day's end to Garden staff. Dating back to the 17th century, it is likely the bell came into the care of the Garden in 1699 following restorations of the gardens at Holyrood Palace.

Leith 

26 Bay City Rollers Hero

Leith is home to a collection of objects as eclectic as the area itself, ranging from a photograph of the Bay City Rollers (Object 26) to The Royal Yacht Britannia's Compass Binnacle (Object 54).

The Guru Nanak Gurdwara - Edinburgh's only place of Sikh worship - is home to Object 13, Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh sacred scripturesThe Edinburgh Gurdwara, established in 1976 is in the heart of Leith and is celebrating over 40 years since its founding.

Object 65, the Edinburgh Baths Sign, is a symbol of what was once common throughout the city. At a time when a private household bathroom was unaffordable, public baths became increasingly popular. Leith commissioned architect George Simpson to design the red sandstone Renaissance style Leith Victoria Baths, which opened to the public on June 30th 1899. The pool itself, carefully preserved, is still in use today.

Edinburgh Napier Campus

38 Aftermath Hero

Edinburgh Napier University's Craiglockhart Campus is home to Object 38 - a framed copy of Siegfried Sassoon's poem Aftermath. Sassoon spent time recovering in Craiglockhart War Hospital where he met fellow war poet Wilfred Owen. The two became friends and encouraged each other in their writing, producing some of the most important war poetry of the First World War. 

Over at Napier's Merchiston Campus lies Object 43, a replica of a 400 year old calculating device created in 1617 by Edinburgh mathematician John Napier. Napier's calculator - traditionally made using ivory - was a popular type of mathematical instrument right up until the beginning of the 20th century. To visit Napier's bones, make sure you consult the campus' opening times and book ahead for your visit.

Craigmillar Castle

69 Craigmillar Hero

Edinburgh's 'other' castle, Craigmillar is not only a location for the time-travelling show Outlander, but is also home to Object 69 - Yew Trees that may have provided shade to Mary Queen of Scots. 

Yew trees can live for millennia but are notoriously difficult to age. We cannot be sure of their exact dates, but the yews at Craigmillar Castle stand inside the entrance to the main courtyard, the walls of which were built in the 15th century. 

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

29 Landform Hero

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art comprises two buildings: Modern One and Modern Two, located directly opposite each other. In between them is Object 30, a piece of art in earth form: a swooshing S curve repeating in ripples - from mosaic pebbles, contoured grass mounds to reflective water pools designed by Charles Jenck.

The Modern Art Gallery is also where you'll find Object 24 - a recreation of Sir Eduardo Paolozzi's London Studio. Born in Edinburgh in 1924 to Italian parents who ran an ice cream parlour in Leith, Paolozzi first studied at Edinburgh College of Art and went on to become one of Britain’s leading post war artists. A number of his sculptures are to be found in and around Edinburgh today.

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