10 of the funniest quotes about Edinburgh

Thursday, 11th January 2018, 3:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th January 2018, 3:51 pm
Edinburgh has inspired some moving quotes - but some very funny ones, too (Photo: Brian McNeil / Wikimedia Commons)

Edinburgh is a beautiful and inspiring city, and all kinds of historical figures and celebrities have waxed lyrical about it over the centuries.

But with the good comes the bad, not to mention the humorous (whether intentional or not).

With that in mind, here are some of the funniest things ever said or written about Auld Reekie.

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“It is quite lovely – bits of it.”

Oscar Wilde

Ever the diplomat, playwright Oscar Wilde clearly enjoyed the time he spent in Edinburgh. Well, some of it, anyway.

"No smells were ever equal to Scotch smells. Yet the place is uncommonly beautiful and I am in constant balance between admiration and trepidation."

Sydney Smith

Written specifically about Edinburgh, we're not sure whether to be offended or flattered by this Sydney Smith quote.

"My parents had never been to Germany. But I knew what I didn't want to write about, and I didn't want to write about Edinburgh.

"A lot of writers find Edinburgh fascinating, but I never did. As a matter of fact, I couldn't wait to get away from it."

Philip Kerr

While most visiting creatives find the city inspiring, Edinburgh-born author Philip Kerr couldn't wait to leave.

Not all visitors are enamored with Edinburgh (Photo: Graham Haley / Wikimedia Commons)

"When I used to do the Edinburgh Festival, there was a bunch of guys selling fresh oysters and I'd eat ten daily - marvellous."

Paul Merton

When it comes to Edinburgh-related quotes, this one has to be most wonderfully bizarre.

"Enchanting. It will make a delightful summer capital when we invade Britain."

Joseph Goebbels

Not amusing whatsoever at the time, but a few decades later we can allow ourselves a wry smirk at the former Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany's comment.

"I used to say Edinburgh was a beautiful actress with no talent. I thought it was just like a shortbread tin.

"I think that's because I did six Festivals in a row there, and I never saw the real Edinburgh, just a lot of deeply annoying Cambridge Footlights kids wanting to be actresses."

Michelle Gomez

Anyone who has attempted to walk anywhere in central Edinburgh during the month of August will be able to commiserate with actress Michelle Gomez here.

"I'm sorry to report the Scott Monument a failure. It is like the spire of a Gothic church taken off and stuck in the ground. "

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens - author and part-time architecture critic.

Writer James Bone once described Edinburgh as "an immortal herring" (Photo: Lisa Jarvis / Wikimedia Commons)

"Below you lies Auld Reekie, blackened and dried, an immortal herring, 'smeeked' for hundreds of years and cured in the sun."

James Bone

Another writer talking about how Edinburgh smells a bit. But the phrase "immortal herring" is truly superb.

"I am not sorry to have seen the most picturesque (at a distance) and nastiest (when near) of all capital cities."

Thomas Gray

Eighteenth century poet, Thomas Gray, wasn't too impressed with Edinburgh when he got up close and personal.

"The houses stand so one above another that none of the smoke wastes itself upon the desert air before the inhabitants have derived all the advantages of its odour and its smuts.

"You might smoke bacon by hanging it out of the window."

Robert Southey

This is referencing the towering slums of the Old Town, but we'd save a fortune on takeaway costs if we could smoke bacon out of our windows today.