Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Edinburgh's 101 Objects Free Itinerary

Edinburgh's 101 Objects is a curated collection of historically significant items spread throughout Scotland's capital city, ranging from the prestigious to the prosaic. See the depth and breadth of our city's fascinating and surprising past by visiting each and every object and artefact in the list.

Looking to learn more about Edinburgh's past on a budget? The list below will take you on a journey around the city to visit objects that won't cost you a penny...

The Top of the Mile

91 Witches Well Hero

Start your journey at Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, where you can take in views across Edinburgh towards Arthur's Seat, the south of the city along with the New Town. Make sure you enjoy the panoramic views across the city before starting your journey into the past...

Your first stop is at the point where the Royal Mile meets the esplanade, where you'll find Object 91 - a well, constructed to the memory of over 300 Edinburgh women who were executed on suspicion of practising witchcraft. The city's very own version of the Salem Witch Trials.

On your way down the Mile away from the Esplanade, stop into the Hub - this is the headquarters of the Edinburgh International Festival, housed in a converted church. Here, you can see a piece of Festival history with Object 22 - the First Edinburgh International Festival Programme.

Grassmarket and Cowgate 

3 West Bow Well Hero V2

Make your way down to Victoria Street via the steps at Victoria Terrace, and keep on heading down until you find yourself on the Grassmarket - here, you'll find Object 3, the West Bow Well. This was at one time of the city's main sources of water, piped in from the Pentland Hills. It may not look it today, but you'd frequently see queues of people waiting to draw their day's water - probably making it a frequent meeting point.

Next, take a left onto the Cowgate and step into the Magdalen Chapel at number 41, home ot both Object 74 - stained glass roundels dating to 1550, making them the oldest in Scotland - and Object 58 - a ceremonial chair from 1708 recently and expertly refurbished using original materials from the 18th century.

2 Flodden Wall Hero V2

Doubling back on yourself, head back up towards the Grassmarket, but take a left up to Greyfriars Kirkyard, where you can visit a piece of old Edinburgh - Object 2, the Flodden Wall. This wall, built in the 16th century, was erected to protect the city after the Scots’ defeat by the English at the 1513 Battle of Flodden Field, and can still be seen at various points throughout the boundaries of the original Old Town.

While in the Kirkyard, keep an eye out for Object 92, the Tomb of John Bayne of Pitcarlie, an impressive ornate stone mausoleum and an example of the lengths some would go to to preserve their grandeur even after burials within church walls were outlawed. Make sure you also keep an eye out for the grave of Tom Riddle - the inspiration for a certain villain in the Harry Potter books.

The National Museum of Scotland

National Museum Of Scotland Atrium

With year round free entry, and home to no fewer than nine of Edinburgh's 101 Objects, make sure you give yourself time to enjoy exploring the treasure trove that is The National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street.

Here, you'll find: 

Object 29, a copy of the Trainspotting script, signed by Ewan MacGregor.

Object 37, a Victorian model of the huge printing press used to print and fold Scotland's daily newspaper.

Object 51, a chloroform inhaler designed in Edinburgh, a breakthrough step in the development of modern surgical anaesthetics.

Object 53, a mechanical paint stirrer, crucial in the supposedly never-ending task of painting the Forth Bridge.

55 Dolly Hero

Object 55, possibly the most famous sheep in the world - Dolly, the first mammal to be produced by cloning.

Object 75, the Penicuik Jewels, a projection of Mary Queen of Scots' power during her short six year reign.

Object 80, a Royal Company of Archers' uniform dating to 1750. following Jacobite uprising and the ensuing 46 year ban on tartan, a uniform like that on display could get you deported or imprisoned.

Object 90, a 'portable' guillotine. The 'Maiden' made it easy to set up an execution wherever required, efficiently and 'humanely' after the city's 'official' execution sword had worn out.

Object 99, the Arthur's Seat coffins. In 1836, 17 tiny coffins were found by some Edinburgh boys while they were out playing around Arthur's Seat. Only 8 of the coffins survive today, but the mystery is as deep as ever - who made them, and why?

South Bridge and St Cecilia's Hall

32 Golden Boy Hero

Leaving the museum, head down to South Bridge, and turn left and cross the street, but before you keep walking, turn back towards the University of Edinburgh's Old College and look up to see the Golden Boy, or Object 32, standing atop its dome. 

From your spot viewing the Golden Boy, make your way back to the Royal Mile, turn right and head down Niddry Street to find St Cecilia's Hall. This beautiful and free-to-enter museum of music and musical instruments was refurbished in early 2017, and is now the stunning home to Object 18, a set of Pastoral Pipes and Object 20, a 220 year old Broadwood Harpsichord.

Still got energy left in you? Good. Time for a short cut. Head back up the Royal Mile and take a right onto North Bridge where you'll take a shortcut down Object 16 - just one of the many sets of staircases hidden out of sight and allowing residents to move quickly around the Old Town's many winding streets - these ones are extra special, having been clad in 104 separate pieces of marble.

5 View Of Edinburgh Hero V2

Turn left at the bottom of the steps and after a couple minutes' walk you'll find the City Art Centre (don't worry, it's free!) on your left. Pop in for a look at Object 5 - a unique oil painting of Edinburgh dating from 1759. Although the painter, Delacour, took some artistic licence with his representation, this is still one of the earliest large scale views of the city.

In the City Art Centre you'll also find Object 82 - a spectacular oil painting celebrating the entry of George IV into Edinburgh (at that point, the first monarch to do so in 171 years) dating to 1822, and giving a glimpse of the pomp and circumstance of the welcome organised for the King by Sir Walter Scott.

By now, you couldn't be blamed if you're ready to sit down and rest after your trek! Our suggestion? Grab a coffee and relax in Princes Street Gardens, enjoying the company of Object 86 - the life-size statue of Wojtek, Edinburgh's favourite bear.

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