Edinburgh's 101 Objects - City of Innovation

*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.

For centuries, Edinburgh has been home to men and women who have pushed the world forward. Auld Reekie's sons and daughters both old and new have changed the world around them, earning their city a reputation as a hub of inspiration and innovation.

The artefacts of these legacies and stories can be seen throughout the city - so read on for your guide to the City of Innovation itinerary, part of Edinburgh's 101 Objects. 

The majority of the objects are free to view, though check with each individual object's listing for location and any specific opening times. If you're looking to take in all 12 objects in one day you'll probably need transport of some kind - so make sure you check out our guide to the city's taxis/public transport too!

Calton Hill

52 Time Ball Hero

Begin your journey into Edinburgh's history of scientific progress and innovation on Calton Hill, just east of Princes Street and Edinburgh Waverley train station. Look up on top of the Nelson Monument and you'll see Object 52 - the visual accompaniment to the 1 o'clock gun fired from Edinburgh Castle every day.

A quick cilmb up the Nelson Monument will give you stunning panoramic views accross the city you're exploring, and while you're on the hill, don't miss Object 81 - the National Monument of Scotland - and Object 87, the Parliament Cairn.

The Royal Mile and The National Museum of Scotland

44 Adam Smith Hero

Coming back down the hill, make your way onto Princes Street, turn left onto North Bridge, and turn left on the Royal Mile.

Arriving at the Canongate Kirk on your left, in the graveyard you'll find Object 44 the grave of influential economist and philosopher Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations and a man whose influence is still with us today. Along with David Hume, Smith was part of an Edinburgh intellectual circle who revolutionised the world's thinking. 

Heading back up the Royal Mile and turning left onto South Bridge, head straight on until you arrive at Chambers Street on your right. Here you'll find The National Museum of Scotland, home to Object 55 - Dolly the Sheep. Dolly was the world's first cloned mammal and was born in Edinburgh, making history in the process.

55 Dolly Hero

The museum is also home to Object 51, a chloroform inhaler key in the development of aneasthetics - a science developed in Edinburgh, and Object 53, a paint stirrer used to mix the paint used to give the Forth Rail bridge its famous red colour - and contribute to the old story about painting the bridge being a never-ending task. 

The museum is home to many other objects - all free to view. You can find detials of all objects located in the museum using our handy Edinburgh's 101 Objects map, downloadable here.

The New Town

48 Maxwell Hero

Walking back to the New Town from the museum, it's time to take a trip to see the grandfather of all modern wireless telecommunications, Edinburgh's Professor James Clerk Maxwell. His statue is Object 48located at the east end of George Street, while his former home at 14 India Street is a museum you can visit by appointment.

Heading west along George Street, you'll encounter Object 47 on your left - the modelof a lighthouse above the entrance of the Nothern Lighthouse Board. The lighthouse is significant as it represents the contribution and innovations made by Robert Louis Stevenson's family - not as writers, but as lighthouse engineers. The majority of Scotland's lighthouses, still standing today, were designed and built by engineers under the direction of the Stevenson family, making Scotland's coast significantly safer to navigate.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

46 Sabal Palm Hero

To get to the next stop on your tour, you'll need to hop on a bus or get a taxi, but it'll be worth it. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is home to Objects 46, 49, 50 and 57 - The Sabal Palm, the Ting, the biggest fossil ever found in Britain and a particularly special bell, respectively.

Each of the four objects is symbolic of a greater story than might initially appear - demonstrating Edinbugh's long history of scientific endeavour and discovery through the centuries.

Choose your own path

The following objects are located in different areas of the city and as suhc will require a little planning and some public transport - and potentially a hike.

Arthur's Seat

Object 45 is an outcrop of Salisbury Crags, the volcanic intrusion in the middle of Edinburgh, next to Arthur's Seat. Named Hutton's Section, after geologist James Hutton, the area was key as a focus of study changing our understadning of how our planet has developed and changed over time.

Edinburgh Napier University

43 Napiers Bones Hero

Napier's Merchiston campus is home to Object 43 - a replica of a 400 year old (and very clever) calculating device used by mathematician John Napier. centuries befor emodern calucaltors were even possible, this device was one of Napier's contributions to mathematics - along with the invention of Logarithms in 1614.

Edinburgh Zoo

Object 88 is the paw-print of Tian Tian, the giant panda who, together with another giant panda named Yang Guang, calls Edinburgh her home. The pair are the UK's only giant pandas, and have been on loan from China since 2011, a symbol of the relationship between our two countries and part of continued efforts to conserve this endangered species.

The Royal Yacht Britannia

The former floating home-from-home of Her Majesty the Queen, HMY Britannia is now docked in Leith in the north of the city. It's also home to Object 54, a gold-leaf painted compass binnacle. Located on Britannia's verandah deck, the binnacle was rescued for the yacht by HRH Prince Philip from the Victoria & Albert IIIBritannia's predecessor, having been previously used on every royal yacht since Queen Victoria's yacht Royal George in 1817.

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