Sissy: Today’s post is inspired by The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton (reviewed here), which is set in Edinburgh, Scotland. Did you know that Edinburgh, Scotland is the world’s first UNESCO designated City of Literature? This is not surprising given that Edinburgh has produced some of the world’s most beloved books and characters, including Jekyll and Hyde, Sherlock Holmes Peter Pan, and of course, Harry Potter. And did you know that Edinburgh has over 50 bookshops? Plus castles…
Bubby: Book the plane tickets RIGHT NOW! If only…But since we can’t go, we’ve put together our dream itinerary, consisting of four quirky bookshops and four marvelously interesting literary tours, most of which are found in and around the Royal Mile of Old Edinburgh.
Sissy: Of course, if we were really going there, we would add in quaint tea shops and eateries (like The Witchery by the Castle which when you click on the link and view the website you will fall madly in love with, and which Andrew Lloyd Webber called “the prettiest restaurant ever.”) Plus castles…
Bubby: And we’re going to The Fudge Kitchen. I’ve never had “devilishly different drinking fudge” or “utterly buttery British delights” recreated as fudge. I need this experience in my life! But I digress. Back to books. Here is our fabulous Edinburgh literary itinerary:
Jekyll and Hyde: http://www.edinburghwalkingtour.co.uk
A sinister, atmospheric, one hour-long evening walk in the heart of old Edinburgh. Visit some of the places and meet some of the characters who inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.” The walk starts at the site of the ancient hanging gallows and ends at one of the most haunted spots in medieval Edinburgh.
Calum Lykan Storytelling: www.calumlykanstorytelling.com
Calum Lykan is “a storyteller, a bearer of the oral storytelling tradition. A weaver of dreams and teller of tales for the young and old alike. My life is blessed as I travel the world walking in the footsteps of heroes, cowering from man-eating giants, shedding tears over lost love and shivering at the ghosts of the past.” As a bonus, his voice is rich and delicious and he doesn’t look half-bad in a kilt! Check out a video preview HERE.
The Potter Trail: http://pottertrail.com/
Discover the locations that inspired the Harry Potter books and visit some of the places where J. K. Rowling actually wrote.
Edinburgh Book Lover’s Tour: http://www.edinburghbooktour.com
A guided walking tour visiting the sites and haunts of Edinburgh’s literary legends: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.M. Barrie, Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin, J.K. Rowling and others in the company of Allan Foster. This tour takes in The Writer’s Museum as well as views of Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace and is often called the best literary tour in Scotland.
Armchair Books: http://armchairbooks.co.uk/ This shop describes itself thusly: “Armchair Books ekes out its intense and blustery existence on Edinburgh’s hallowed West Port…ancient home of booksellers. In view of the castle, above the Grassmarket, it bakes under the torrid Scottish sun. The dangers are manifold; Our overburdened shelves groan like masts in a squall, our threadbare and quasi-oriental rugs may distractingly catch the eye or foot. Books in the window may spontaneously burst into flames, and the Managers must be kept locked in at all times… Sporadically under feeble but sinister attack by the government, we struggle under goad of Fear, towards Beauty.” Sounds like a must-see to us!
Main Point Books: http://mainpointbooks.co.uk/ A second-hand bookstore in the heart of old town that is located between a lap dancing club and a tattoo parlor, hence its slogan “For a couple of quid, a book will sit on your lap all night long!” Not that we endorse lap dancing or tattoos, but we do love humor!
Old Children’s Bookshop: www.oldchildrensbookshelf.co.uk Walking into ‘Old Children’s Bookshelf’ is reminiscent of walking into a library or museum as a child. The floorboards creak under your feet, you feel the need to speak in hushed tones and the shelves are filled with a rare and unusual array of novels you remember from years past – possibly owned and now misplaced or given as a gift one Christmas when you still wore your hair in plaits and left a carrot for Rudolph. (From Victoria Bamber at the Edinburgh Spotlight)
The Old Town Bookshop: www.oldtownbookshop-edinburgh.co.uk Situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town on the characterful Victoria Street, the shop comprises a 16th century medieval granary store originally used to supply Edinburgh Castle and is a stone’s throw away from the Grassmarket, St. Giles’ Cathedral, Greyfriar’s Kirkyard and the castle itself, all of which have provided settings for some of Scotland’s best writers including R.L.S. Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott. The Old Town Bookshop caters to a range of interests from the literary enthusiast to the well-read tourist, from the manuscript curious to the merely curious.
And if that’s not enough to satisfy your Edinburgh literary-ness, there is Robert Louis Stevenson day every year on November 13th (a moustache-twirling and velvet-clad day full of events, in town and online), and The Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is the largest literature festival in the world (held every August for over two and a half weeks, and over 800 writers from across the world come together in a heaving program of events for an audience of thousands).
We would be glad to accept an all-expense paid assignment to go and research thoroughly the literary city of Edinburgh and report back. Anyone??