It’s a relaxed morning start, bowing briefly to jetlag for our first day, before meeting our Edinburgh guide Alistair Hector, formerly principal of George Heriot’s School (founded in 1628 and a source of influence for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts). Alistair will lead us on a leisurely walking tour of the Old City, including the Upper Royal Mile and Grassmarket. If time permits, we will pop into Alistair’s school (aka Hogwarts) and visit the first post-Reformation church, Greyfriars’ Kirk.
Lunch will be at leisure, we will point out our favorite spots. Consider James Thompson’s light-filled Tower Restaurant, perched on top of the Museum of Scotland, with Castle views and a contemporary Scottish menu. Thus fortified, we start our afternoon with a guided tour of the national collections in the 1861 Royal Museum and its modern big sister the Museum of Scotland, admiring artefacts dating back to the Romans and Picts in the 1st and 2nd Century AD. We will then have free time to explore the international collection, which covers themes such as Discoveries, World Cultures, Design and Fashion (don’t miss Science & Technology – we’re in one of the world’s great engineering countries, after all).
This evening is a true once in a lifetime event. Experience a dazzling night at famous Edinburgh Tattoo (this is nothing to do with inking, by the way: pipes and drums used to sound a ‘tattoo’ for military personnel to leave the pub and return to quarters). Sip champagne on Edinburgh Castle’s ramparts before dining in the intimate 19th century Castle Gatehouse. This is a magnificent location for an unforgettable evening. We will have private use of this building until it is time to make our way through the great oak doors of the Castle drawbridge and walk down the Castle Esplanade to take our VIP seats in the covered Royal Gallery where we will be joined by the Salute Taker, Tattoo guests and dignitaries. After the show, we have an invitation to the Producer’s post-show Champagne Reception held in the Royal Gallery. Cue the fireworks!
THE BALMORAL HOTEL (Breakfast (B), Dinner (D))