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Discover historic Edinburgh

By Ellie Buchdahl, 20 February 2014

Over the city of Edinburgh looms a grand, rugged castle – one of the icons of Scotland, and the workplace of Nick Finnigan, Executive Manager at Edinburgh Castle, which is managed by Historic Scotland.

We asked Nick for his insider tips for exploring Edinburgh, and beyond – from student discounts to rock concerts and New Year’s Eve firework displays…

What does Historic Scotland do?

Historic Scotland is an agency within the Scottish Government that is responsible for historic monuments in Scotland. Our sites range from castles, abbeys and cathedrals to standing stones and a historic whisky distillery.

Edinburgh Castle, where I work, is Scotland’s number one paid-for visitor attraction – but in total there are 345 extraordinary properties in the care of Historic Scotland.

What do you love about your job?

I welcome the responsibility that goes with managing one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks. I enjoy the wide range of tasks and challenges that arise when dealing with over 1.3 million visitors each year, and I get a lot of satisfaction from being involved in an industry that provides such enjoyment for people.

What are your top five things to do courtesy of Historic Scotland?

  1. Take in the magnificent views of an amazing city from the best location imaginable – Edinburgh, of course, from the castle.

  2. Tour Crown Square with its range of highlights, from the Great Hall and Scotland’s Crown Jewels to the Scottish National War Memorial.

  3. Enjoy a pop or rock concert on Edinburgh Castle Esplanade in July, or the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August (pictured below).

  4. Watch the fantastic fireworks displays at the end of the Edinburgh International Festival or at Hogmanay (the Scottish celebration of New Year).

  5. Buy a Historic Scotland Annual Membership or Explorer Ticket – these are three-day and seven-day passes, with discounts for students. Then visit special places around Scotland such as Stirling Castle, Caerlaverock Castle (near Dumfries), Aberdour Castle (Fife) and Urquhart Castle (on the banks of Loch Ness) – with free entry, discounts and queue-jumping rights.

What’s been the best moment you remember from your work with Historic Scotland?

Standing on my own looking over Edinburgh from the castle battlements late at night, following my first day in the job.

What advice can you give to students?

Embrace everything socially and culturally that Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland have to offer. I’m confident that you’ll become a great ambassador for the city!

Find out more on the Historic Scotland website, or read more about life in the UK in Living and studying in the UK.

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