Iain Pope: The best thing for a first-time tourist to do in Edinburgh

First-time visitors should spend the whole day on the Royal Mile. Picture: Ian Rutherford
First-time visitors should spend the whole day on the Royal Mile. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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If you had to tell someone visiting Edinburgh for the first time one thing, and one thing only, that they should do while here, what would it be?

A young colleague from the London office of the firm I work for is visiting Scotland this weekend and is asking for recommendations.

So what do you say when put on the spot like that?

Whisky? Bagpipes? Tartan? Rose Street? The Grassmarket? Cramond? Calton Hill? It’s not easy, is it?

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Frankly, I don’t know what she’s into – she has a ring through her septum that looks like it must hurt, but pays not to judge.

Maybe George Street shopping is her thing, or it could be that a stroll down Porty way to listen to the accordion guy on the prom would tickle her fancy; possibly she’d prefer a food market or two, followed by wafting round a gallery or two.

Perplexed, I canvassed opinion from someone closer in age to our visitor than me, my 11-year-old daughter.

“Camera Obscura” was her immediate and firm reply. “You get lots of cool things inside, and you can see the whole city from the roof.”

A contender.

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I think I’ll splice her advice with my own.

She should start at the bottom of the Royal Mile at the Parliament, the symbol of our advance (no, really) in the shadow of the Crags, and spend the day – *the whole day* – wending her way up to the Castle ramparts so she arrives by nightfall.

If she can’t find something there to interest her, I can’t help her.