The Duke of Wellington stands imposingly outside the Gallery of Modern Art and some years ago, a cone appeared overnight, presumably the result of a youthful prank. Although it was removed, it kept magically re-appearing and eventually the authorities gave up.
It has become such a landmark that the statue and its cone have featured in tourist guidebooks. A few years ago, when Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley Tourist Board wanted photographs to launch their new Web site, they removed the cone. Immediately, the Lord Provost, Alex Mosson, expressed disappointment, saying that it highlighted the Glaswegian sense of humour. His predecessor, ex-Provost Pat Lally joined in and also agreed it should stay. The end result is that Wellington (and sometimes his horse too) can be seen sporting traffic cones! Not that anyone is suggesting that the Provost and ex-Provost were personally involved....
Near Museum of Modern Art
Nothing sums up 'Gallus' Glasgow better than a Saturday morning trip to the Barras. Here, Glasgow's answers to Del boy and Rodney make their Southern cousins look like shy introverts, as they sell anything not bolted down, from fur coats to football strips and computers to car parts.
The market has expanded from its humble beginnings to include hundreds of stalls and shops selling everything and anything. Barras are rented out on a daily basis, meaning an ever-changing stock and providing an ad-hoc sales channel for anyone with stuff to shift.
Never one to miss a trick, the Barras has evolved with the times, reflecting the changing needs of a varied clientele. Nowadays, Maggie's original fruit barra has evolved into a farmers' market, which takes place on the last Saturday in every month from 8 am (but get there quick, because stock sells out by lunchtime), and the modern market does a roaring trade in computer software of perhaps dubious origin. Never mind, it's all yours for a tenner.
The Barras was there long before Versace and the Italian Centre, and despite constant raids from overworked and frankly exasperated trading standards officials, it will still be there a long time after they're gone too. Margaret Russell would be proud.
Near Bell Street
Whether you’re a Cultural Philistine or an Art Buff, go. A most intriguing mobile based on an ancient bicycle, which would appear to have been conceived by Heath Robinson sits on the ground floor. A circular border of about twenty metres surrounds the exhibit and keeps the curious away. Every half hour this unbelievable construction starts up. Various motors power the intriguing levers that power the variety of movements. The joy of watching this repetition is unparalled. This is a modern art gallery which everyone can enjoy, even those who would not normally consider themselves "arty." The art which has been acquired for this gallery has been produced by living artists, often with a Glasgow link.
While it may take a Glaswegian to see some of the subtler humour, it is definitely a gallery which will entertain. While the sculpture of the Queen in carpet slippers, bringing in the milk and papers from the doorstep of Buckingham Palace may not always be on display - there are plenty of others to raise a grin.
Off Buchanan Street
This is a PUB if ever there was one. The clientele here is varied. Old men lust after trendy young things while serious chaps discuss the sport of the day. Truckers in dungarees ponder the form at Ayr. Families arrange themselves around tables. The tables are numbered. Pick your grub from the menu chalked up on the board. Go to the bar and order. A brilliant lunch. Food at its best. Shepherd’s Pie done to a turn. Chilli con Carne with a bite and a Sirloin to tempt the Gods themselves.
St Giles' Cathedral is the historic City Church of Edinburgh with its famed crown spire on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood House. The stained windows and quiet Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland's chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen) are spectacular.
St Giles’ is located on the historic Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Entrance is free but donations are welcome.
The Scott Monument is along with the Balmoral tower clock and Edinburgh Castle, the most important landmark in Edinburgh. It features a statue of Sir Walter Scott. Sometimes Scottish bagpipers play next to the monument - it is common courtesy to tip him. Go in the morning to avoid the crowds.
The views from this 200ft tower are breathtaking and really give you a perspective on the magnificent layout of Edinburgh and its sights. Be warned though - there is no lift just 287 steps to climb to the top.
The monument lies in Princes Street gardens.
Get the tube/bus to Hammersmith, then head on down past the Apollo to the riverside. Maybe a bit of 'Sliding Doors' was filmed at one of the pubs down the riverside. Go past the rowing club and have a pint in each of the pubs. The Dove is a fave.
Hammersmith tube or bus station.
Rosslyn Chapel is still famous for its history and beauty, but now it attracts thousands of Da Vinci Code followers as it is featured in the film (visit in the morning to avoid them). The stained windows and vaulted ceilings are a marvel - just watch out for the many ghosts who plague the chapel.
Rosslyn lies seven miles to the south of Edinburgh. Take the Lothian bus 15A or First bus 62 from Edinburgh city centre to Rosslyn. The chapel itself is a 3-4 min walk from the bus stop in Rosslyn village.
Although not the most beautiful castle, it is Scotland's no 1 attraction. The views from the hill top are superb with excellent vistas of Arthurs Seat, the Old & New Town and Leith.
You can't really miss the castle as it dominates Princes Street and the entire city. It is situated at the western end of Esplanade (the end of Lawnmarket).
The Royal Mile is actually made of several streets and it captures the old world atmosphere of the city and has specialised (expensive) shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels. It is quite steep though so sensible shoes are a must.
The Royal Mile connects the castle and Holyrood Palace and is in the heart of the Old Town (but beware as it does change its name 7 times).
The Vaults have a truly spooky atmosphere because of its gruesome past (it was alledgedly used by bodysnatchers as a storage place for their corpses). It was also where many of Edinburgh's poorer citizens lived in filthy squalor as they were evicted from the site of the New Town. Go on a guided tour to appreciate it fully.
The Vaults lie under South Niddry Street and Blair Street in the Old Town.
This street is great for shopping with the smaller shops selling souvenirs and kilts and the outside stalls selling handcrafted goods. It is really peaceful too as cars are banned from this street.
It also has a buzzing atmosphere in the evening with people drinking in the many pubs and eateries with funny names like Filthy McNasty and Dirty Dicks. It's a great place to mingle with the Scots.
Rose Street runs parallel to Princes Street between St Andrews Square and Charlotte Square.
Along with Charlotte Square, St Andrews Square shows off the splendour of Edinburgh's New Town. Old and new buildings come together here with the Palladin country house (now housing the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland) and the famous Harvey Nichols store on the southern side of the square.
St Andrews Square lies at the eastern end of George Street and is just a 5 min walk from Edinburgh's main bus station.
Charlotte Square is the 18th century showcase of Edinburgh's New Town. The garden in the square's centre is tranquil and a great place to rest and appreciate the Georgian architecture of the houses surrounding the square.
Charlotte Square lies in the heart of the city centre at the western end of George Street (behind Princes Street).
Not always on the tourist trail, home to the Last Drop pub, scene of executions in years gone by, and also some good places to eat and interesting shops - Two Fat Ladies cookshop, Mr Woods Fossils and some amazing jumper shops.
Down the winding hill from Greyfrairs Bobby - the most over-rated dog in town.
A vegetarian self-service place, huge portions, their trifle (slightly whole food but with lashings of cream) is to die for - and not that bad for the conscience. Closes about 10 pm; lovely atmosphere, nice staff, low(ish) prices.
Above it is their own shop with wholefoods, breads, some take-outs etc
94 Hanover Street, Edinburgh;
tel: 0131 225 2131;
Always best to eat where the locals do. This restaurant just up from Haymarket Station is one of the best in town for fairly priced, imaginative Scottish food with a twist. Book ahead as the locals love it!
99-101 Dalry Rd (up from Haymarket Station);
tel: 0131 313 4404
With its bright yellow interior, this cafe feels like being inside one of Van Gogh's sunflower paintings. Tucked away in a side street off the Royal Mile, near steps leading down to Princes St Gardens, it's the type of place where you can sit for hours and read the paper without being disturbed.
8 St Giles St, Edinburgh
Fantasic pub by the river Thames. Great location/setting and excellent food and drink. Recently done up and plenty of outside tables, decks etc. Only drawback is the goose poo on some of the tables!
Queens Road, Thames Ditton - just outside Kingston.
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