Edinburgh is one of our favourite cities, alongside London and Paris, both of which have been covered in this series of 'Secret' guides by the French publisher, JonGlez. (Read our review of the excellent Secret Paris guide.)
Scotland's capital is full of history and mystery, and is the setting for many a good creepy read, such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson or any of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus crime novels. This Secret Edinburgh guide uncovers a few creepy places too, as well as lesser-known museums, statues, gardens and other delights.
Hannah Robinson was born in Edinburgh and is a film director and screenwriter as well as an author. She has also worked as a food journalist and been a designer for the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Secret Edinburgh is her first book.
This Edinburgh guide divides the city into six areas: Old Town, New Town, the North and Leith, South, West and East. At the start of each section a locator map shows you where you'll find these secret Edinburgh spots that the author has unearthed. Most entries then get a two-page spread with a full-page write-up alongside a full-page colour photo. It means the entries are pretty detailed, along with all the practical information you need, including prices and opening hours, and which bus routes they're on.
At the back of the book is an alphabetical index of entries but not the usual thematic index that you get in most other Secret guides. The index does give you an idea of the type of places featured: the Anatomical Museum, the Covenanters' Prison, Delivery Hatches, Ghost Trees of Lochend Park, Jonah and the Whale Mural... and on it goes right through to Witches' Memorials. Hmmm.
Those Witches' Memorials show you why you'll find things in Secret Edinburgh that you won't find in many other guidebooks. They're in the back garden of the Gothenburg pub and micro-brewery in Prestonpans, and the memorial is an installation that commemorates the eighty women and one man who were executed for alleged witchcraft in Prestonpans.
Another delight is the Secret Herb Garden, which the author points out is just a stone's throw away from the IKEA warehouse. There are 'saggy old armchairs' in the greenhouse, bee observatories, and a beetle filled with herbs... a Volkswagen beetle, that is. It sounds totally delightful, and much more interesting than IKEA. In fact the whole book is a delight, and makes a great armchair read even if you never go to Edinburgh... but it will probably make you want to.
We've yet to be disappointed by any of the JonGlez Secret guides, and we guarantee that even if you think you know Edinburgh well, you'll learn something new – and fascinating – from Secret Edinburgh.
This Secret Edinburgh guidebook is available at Amazon UK, Amazon USA, and other Amazon stores worldwide.
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