5 More of Edinburgh’s 101 Most Treasured Objects
In 2017, to celebrate the history and heritage of Edinburgh, several of the city’s attractions, tourism and heritage bodies put together a guide to Edinburgh’s most treasured 101 objects. Here you can learn about our wonderful city and its past through Edinburgh’s fascinating historical sites, attractions and figures. We previously gathered five of our favourite objects from the list and we thought it was about time to revisit it! Keep reading to see five more fascinating objects around our beloved city we think you’d love to see.
1. The Fossil Tree, Royal Botanic Gardens #50
Craigleith Quarry, situated northeast of the city centre, was the site of several fossil trees uncovered between 1835 and 1865, while the mining of sandstone for Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden’s Palm Houses took place. The longest, an impressive 10.5 metres long, became the central display of the Garden’s Fossil Courtyard surrounded by ‘living fossils’ and can be seen today. The quarry is now a shopping centre but the fossils are preserved and on display at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.
2. St Bernards Well, Water of Leith Walkway #8
One of our favourite walking routes in the city, following the Water of Leith walkway from Stockbridge up to Dean Village is home to number eight on the list, St Bernard’s Well on the edge of the water. The temples pillared design is steeped in Roman history, based on the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, and a statue of Hygieia, Goddess of Health, standing at the centre. The rotunda was commissioned in 1789 by the eccentric Lord Gardenston, to house a mineral spring which had been discovered by three school boys.
3. Yew Trees at Craigmillar Castle #69
Craigmillar Castle is the lesser known Edinburgh Castle, a ruined medieval castle located roughly three miles from the city centre. The castle is home to two yew trees, which can live for millennia but can be tricky to accurately age.
The two wonderful yew trees greet you just inside the main courtyard entrance to the castle, the walls of which were built in the 15th century. Mary Queen of Scots famously used Craigmillar Castle as a safe haven in 1566 and could well have enjoyed these very trees in her home.
4. Ross Fountain, West Princes Street Gardens #15
Probably one of the most photographed fountains in Scotland! This 19th century cast iron fountain is one of the most ornate cast-iron water fountains in the UK. Sculpted by artist Jean-Baptiste-Jules Klagmann at the world-famous Val d’Osne foundry in France, it features cherubs, mermaids, walrus and lion heads and four voluptuous female figures representing science, arts, poetry and industry. Arriving at Leith Docks in 1869, the fountain was bought by gunsmith Daniel Ross, to be gifted to the people of Edinburgh.
The fountain can often be seen as a focal point in the foreground of photos of Edinburgh Castle taken from the Gardens and after a large conservation project was recently undertaken to restore the fountain to its original stature, it has become a popular spot in the Gardens.
5. The Skittle Ally, Sheep Heid Inn #64
Visit one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs, the Sheep Heid Inn in Duddingston, and at the back of the pub you’ll find a fully functioning skittles ally. A beautiful victorian games hall built in 1882 and still in use today. In 1580, James VI gave the Inn a gift to thank them for the good skittling times he’d had. His present was an elaborate snuff box made from a Ram’s head – a reference to the Inn’s name.
The Sheep Heid Inn makes a lovely Sunday stop off, after walking over Arthur’s Seat, tuck into some local brews, tasty food and finish the day off with a round of skittles in the historic ally.