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10 Essential Edinburgh Sights for Visitors

Written on December 07, 2021

There’s no disputing that Edinburgh is an iconic capital city worthy of your travel bucket list. With two separate UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city centre, mind-boggling topography, and jaw-dropping architectural beauty, Edinburgh regularly attracts visitors from all over the world.

1. Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is, of course, one of the most essential sights for visitors to the capital. In truth, it doesn’t matter if you’ve lived here all your life or you’re visiting for the first time: Edinburgh Castle draws your eyes up in admiration.

2. The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, with countless shops, restaurants, cafes, museums, and accommodations along the way. As part of the Old Town, this stretch of street has seen quite a variety of characters and events over the centuries!

3. Palace of Holyroodhouse

At the other end of the Royal Mile, you’ll find the Palace of Holyroodhouse (or Holyrood Palace). This historic royal residence is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Edinburgh and well worth a visit.

4. Arthur’s Seat

Within Holyrood Park is the iconic Arthur’s Seat. An ancient volcano, Arthur’s Seat offers a short hike to reach beautiful views across all of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth beyond. It’s well worth the effort if you’re able and have a few hours to enjoy the full adventure. We consider it to be one of the most scenic places in Edinburgh.

5. Royal Yacht Britannia

Speaking of the Firth of Forth, you must visit Leith when you’re in Edinburgh! This part of the city was the former docklands and gained some notoriety through the likes of Trainspotting. If you want to learn more about that book, film, and the reality of life in Leith, be sure to check out our Trainspotting Generation tour with Paul.

6. Scott Monument

Situated in the city centre, the Scott Monument has become an integral part of the Edinburgh skyline. You could simply appreciate the monument from below or afar, admiring its gothic design and dramatic beauty.

7. Princes Street Gardens

The Princes Street Gardens are a hub of activity and a gathering place for visitors and locals alike in Edinburgh. This beautiful green space separates the Old Town from the New Town and it actually used to be the Nor’ Loch. You wouldn’t have wanted to visit Edinburgh in those days...that was where the residents threw their waste!

8. Calton Hill

Up the street from Princes Street Gardens, you’ll find Calton Hill. The views from here across Edinburgh are delightful, and this is also one of the best spots in Edinburgh for sunset. Learn a bit of history around the National Monument and enjoy a cuppa from the cafe atop the hill whilst you’re there.

9. National Museum of Scotland

Back in the Old Town, an essential Edinburgh sight is the National Museum of Scotland. From its variety of exhibitions relaying stories from Scotland’s past and present, to its beautiful view from the rooftop patio, this is definitely a spot to seek out as you’re exploring the city.

10. Greyfriars Kirkyard

Just across the street from the National Museum of Scotland, you’ll first come across the statue of Greyfriars Bobby.

Perhaps Edinburgh’s most famous canine, Bobby’s story is so popular that it even became a Disney film! Find out more about his story as you enter Greyfriars Kirk just behind Bobby, across the next street.

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Alternative Things to Do in Glasgow

Written on November 02, 2021

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and is jam-packed with a range of activities sure to excite any visitor. Home to three of the UK’s best-loved museums in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Burrell Collection (set to reopen March 2022), and the Riverside Museum, Glasgow has a list of activities that tend to crop up time and again when visitors search for what to do during their stay.

The Britannia Music Hall

Exterior of The Britannia Music Hall (Photo by Keith Edkins, CC BY-SA 2.0)

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art

Britain’s first Zen garden (Photo by James Allan, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Sharmanka Kinetic Gallery

Detail from a kinetic sculpture (Photo by Dun Deagh, CC BY-SA 2.0, Flickr)

The Govan Stones

A hogback stone (Photo by Joedkins - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The GFT

Glasgow at the pictures (Photo by Michi Maya, CC BY-SA 2.0, Flickr)

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The Ten Best Things to Do in Manchester

Written on October 19, 2021

Manchester, a city of creativity and transformation. Since the Industrial Revolution, the city has been a factory perennially gifting the world with innovators and leaders in the fields of technology, science, sport, and music. And it's an environment that has produced more than its share of socially-minded renegades, figures like the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and the mathematician Alan Turing, who has become an LGBT+ icon as the story of his brilliant but tragic life has become better known.

1. Manchester Museum of Science and Industry

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry | Source

2. Take a Manchester Walking Tour

Okay, so maybe we’re biased in this choice! But at Invisible Cities we believe there is no better way for guests to discover a city than by exploring it on foot, soaking up its atmosphere and learning its stories as you go. We have a range of options for you to choose from, each entirely unique and developed by your guide, so they can share with you the topics that mean the most to them personally and where they can best let their knowledge shine.

3. People's History Museum

People’s History Museum | Source

4. Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Set within an evocative, Victorian former fish market, the Manchester Craft and Design Centre is a home for artists studios and businesses. The centre has been supporting local artists since 1982. With gifts to support every budget, this is an excellent destination for visitors hoping to pick up a unique item while at the same time supporting local artists and a great creative initiative.

5. Explore Manchester’s Football History

Manchester City players | Source

6. Manchester's Libraries

Bibliophiles will certainly be at home in Manchester. Alongside a healthy range of fine bookshops, Manchester is home to Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, which opened its doors in 1653. Its gorgeous wooden interiors and book collections can be explored so long as a booking is made in advance.

7. Visit Chinatown

Europe’s second-largest Chinatown after Paris, Manchester’s Chinese district offers both a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Entering Chinatown through a three-tiered pagoda, visitors will be enchanted by the range of businesses and restaurants situated here. Stop for some delicious food, or simply enjoy a stroll through this unique part of town.

8. Explore Afflecks

This legendary emporium in Manchester’s Northern Quarter is home to over 73 individual businesses selling everything from sweets to vintage clothing, esoteric regalia to sportswear and secondhand records. Even if you aren’t in the mood for shopping, it’s worth visiting this Manchester institution that calls itself a ‘totem of indie commerce’. Charming and completely one of a kind.

9. Go to The Lowry

The inimitable L.S. Lowry, famous for his paintings of industrial landscapes inhabited by matchstick men, spent much of his life living in Salford. In 2000 Manchester opened The Lowry, a large museum and gallery space dedicated to his work. Containing around 4000 works from the painter, the space is a must-see for fans, while the amount of interactive material will keep even those new to his work thoroughly engaged.

10. Pankhurst Centre

Pankhurst Centre, Manchester | Source

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Invisible (Edinburgh) Launches 360 Virtual tour of the City!

Written on October 17, 2021

At Invisible (Edinburgh) we are very excited to announce the launch of a brand new tour a 360 experience through the city, that features all of our guides in the city and even special guests!

To celebrate the launch of this new product, we are coming together online on November 3rd at 6pm to discuss how the tour came about and answer a few questions! To find out more about this online event click here.

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The Top 10 Things to Do and See in York

Written on October 05, 2021

If you’ll be visiting York soon, you’re undoubtedly trying to find all the best things to do and see to make the most of your time in the city. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a nature lover, or love a spot of shopping...York delivers.

1. Walk the Iconic City Walls of York

Likely the most iconic part of the city, walking the City Walls of York is ideal for visitors. If you’re really into history, take a private walking tour so you can ask every question and learn every detail. If you’re more into views and cityscapes, go ahead and stroll at your leisure. If you appreciate architecture, the City Walls offer you a glimpse of the evolution of York’s buildings over the centuries.

2. Climb Clifford’s Tower

Clifford’s Tower is another top spot in York, offering views over the city that visitors love! As the only remaining structure from the original York Castle, there has been a structure on this site since William the Conqueror built the first timber keep here around 1068.

3. Be Awed by York Minster

One of Europe’s largest medieval churches and an exceptional architectural gem, York Minster is definitely a top thing to see (and do!) in York. You can read more about the architecture and history of York Minster in our York insights for visitors.

4. Experience the JORVIK Viking Centre

Adding to the layers of culture and history in York, you can also explore the Viking history of the city. The JORVIK Viking Centre allows you to experience the sights, smells, and sounds of York...or, as the Vikings called it, Jorvik. This is definitely one of the most interesting things to do in York.

5. Explore York’s Railway Heritage

The rich railway history of York is fascinating to explore during a visit to the city. Join Gemma to learn about York’s Railway Heritage on our walking tour of the city. You’ll also have the option to add a visit to the National Railway Museum to dig even deeper into the history and significance of the railways in this region.

6. Find the York Harry Potter Street!

If you’re a fan of the series, then you’ll have to visit The Shambles to see a real-life version of Diagon Alley. Traditional shops, colourful buildings, curving cobblestone streets, you’ll truly feel transported back in time — or to an entirely different world! While visiting York, walking through The Shambles is one of the best things to do for shopping, cultural experiences, and for a cuppa.

7. Learn the History of Guy Fawkes in York

Did you know Guy Fawkes is from York? That’s right, learn about the man himself with all the tales of gunpowder and treason that all began right here in the city. Learn the real story of Guy Fawkes on a walking tour with Vicki.

8. Experience York Dungeon

Experience 2,000 years of York’s dark history, from the Vikings to plagues to the infamous people who have walked the streets over the centuries. This is an immersive, multi-sensory experience, so get ready for flashing lights and moving floors. Be sure to check their accessibility information if you need more detailed information.

9. Sample the Local York Favourite: Chocolate!

You can’t visit York without sampling our famous chocolate. The production of chocolate in York has long been a strong industry, so go ahead and support our local efforts whilst satisfying your sweet tooth. There’s even a museum dedicated to chocolate that you won’t want to miss. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to York to learn more about the history of chocolate in the city.

10. Dive Deeper into York Past and Present

With such width and depth of history, it can be overwhelming to try to take it all in during a single visit. But you can enjoy a fascinating look at the Health and Wealth of York on a walking tour with Miles.

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The 5 Top Tourist Attractions in Edinburgh

Written on September 21, 2021

Edinburgh, like all great cities, can be explored over and over again. Even long-term residents find themselves continually discovering new sides to the city. And as a diverse, vibrant capital city, Edinburgh is changing all the time, with ever more depth being added to its already (very) long story. A list like this one will always invite discussion among those who love the city, and no Edinburgh list could ever claim to be definitive.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art | Source

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Actors on the Royal Mile | Source

Arthur's Seat

Hiker on Arthur’s Seat | Source

Walking Tours in Edinburgh

View of Castle Rock | Source

The Botanics, Edinburgh

The Botanics | Source

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Invisible Cities Organises Virtual Event: Doing Tourism Differently

Written on June 14, 2021

The summer is upon us and holiday plans are booked in the calendar, tourism is tentatively making a return. At Invisible Cities, we know that tourism can be a force for good in the world. We felt that now, more than ever, was an appropriate time to talk about ‘Doing Tourism Differently’. How can we travel with a greater social impact?

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