Adventures around Edinburghwith PlusBus
What other city lets you climb a volcano, visit the beach, and spot otters in a craggy ravine in between visits to world class galleries and restaurants? It’s a fifteen-minute climb from central Waverley station to the top of monument-studded Calton Hill for city views with distant sea and rugged hills. Or you can pop into the Scottish National Gallery nearby for top-notch art, from van Gogh’s olive trees to Landseer’s royal stag. Then it’s time to hop on the bus and head off to see more city treasures. With PlusBus, you’ll have unlimited bus travel all day across the city from the wooded glens in the south to the ocean-going docks in the north. Just ask for PlusBus when you buy your train ticket. Here are three of the many Edinburgh adventures you could choose.
1. Craigmillar Castle
Get your bearings with a panoramic view of the whole city from the lonely battlements of Craigmillar Castle. Everybody knows about Edinburgh Castle, on its craggy rock in the middle of the city, but relatively few visitors make it to Craigmillar, making it far more atmospheric. Explore the maze of ancient passages, where Mary, Queen of Scots, took refuge and where trees now grow among stone walls and towers.
- How do I get to Craigmillar by bus? The castle is a twenty-minute bus ride and then a short walk from the city centre. Buses 14, 30, 33 and 49 run frequently from Edinburgh’s North Bridge (stop NE) to bus stops called Craigmillar Castle Road. It’s then a ten-minute walk up Craigmillar Castle Road (from bus 33 or 49) or down the same road (from buses 14 and 30) to the ticket office at Craigmillar Castle.
- Fans of the TV show, Outlander might recognise the castle as Ardsmuir Prison, where Jamie and his fellow Jacobites are imprisoned.
- After your visit, you could stroll through the park to the Bridgend Farmhouse café before getting the bus back. It’s in the corner of Craigmillar Castle Park and open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 to 4pm.
2. Rosslyn Chapel
The fifteenth-century Rosslyn Chapel, covered with elaborate medieval stone carvings and made famous by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, sounds like it should be miles from the capital city on a remote island. But it’s actually an easy and rewarding bus ride from Edinburgh and you can get there on your PlusBus ticket.
- Taking decades to carve, almost every wall and pillar is covered with rich and intricate craftsmanship. There are plants from around the world, angels, Green Men and a famous Apprentice Pillar, carved with spiralling vines and dragons gnawing at their roots.
- How do I get to Rosslyn Chapel by bus? Bus 37 from Edinburgh’s South Bridge (five minutes from Waverley Station) runs regularly towards Penicuik or Gowkley Moss. Get off, after about 50 minutes, at the Original Rosslyn Hotel and walk for a couple of minutes in the direction the bus was going. You’ll see the chapel ahead of you.
- A smart museum, free map of the carvings, and guided tours mean visitors can learn more about the art and symbolism behind the chapel. The new visitor centre also includes a coffee shop with lovely views across wooded Roslin Glen.