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24232
Online Program

Adventures Online: A Look at Ancient & Modern Edinburgh

Whether you’d like to explore the Royal Mile or be immersed in a vivid arts scene, there’s no better way to explore Edinburgh than on this online learning adventure, live from Scotland!
Rating (5)
Program No. 24232RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
499
Online Program

Adventures Online: A Look at Ancient & Modern Edinburgh

Whether you’d like to explore the Royal Mile or be immersed in a vivid arts scene, there’s no better way to explore Edinburgh than on this online learning adventure, live from Scotland!
Length
5 days
Starts at
499
Program No. 24232 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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DATES & PRICES

Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

DATES & PRICES

Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

At a Glance

Experience the history and culture of Scotland’s capital city during this online learning adventure, live from Edinburgh! With our experts, immerse yourself in stories of Roman occupation, fascinating monarchs and modern politics and culture. Embark on virtual field trips that enable you to “walk” along the Royal Mile and explore Edinburgh Castle, and “roam” historic cemeteries like Greyfriars Kirkyard. Delight in presentations led by Giles Ramsay as he offers a behind-the-scenes look into the world-famous Edinburgh Festival and chats with theater critic and journalist Joyce McMillan. Along the way, get to know your fellow Road Scholars as you learn about the Enlightenment Period, get insight into the city’s active art scene and enjoy a look into the craftsmanship of kilts, bagpipes, whisky and more.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover the best of Edinburgh during virtual walking field trips along the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle and Greyfriar’s Cemetery, and learn why the city’s Old and New Towns are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Go behind the scenes of the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival with theater expert Giles Ramsay, and delight in a conversation with journalist and theater critic Joyce McMillan from The Scotsman.
  • Trace the history of Edinburgh from Roman times to present day during insightful lectures and presentations on the Enlightenment, Mary Queen of Scotts, as well as modern day politics and the city’s cutting-edge arts scene.

General Notes

You’ll enjoy 2-3 hours of daily instruction, discussion and/or field trips, which includes sufficient breaks throughout the program. This online program is through Zoom, an easy-to-use web video service that includes closed captioning. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer. We’ll provide a how-to guide to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free experience. This session is offered live only and will not be available on demand. Please review the daily itinerary for start and end times to ensure you won’t miss a minute of this live experience. All times are listed in the EASTERN time zone. If you live in a different time zone, please adjust your schedule accordingly.
Featured Expert
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Kirsty McAlister
Kirsty is a Blue Badge guide with a Ph.D. in Scottish history and a background in higher education, historical research, and cultural heritage. She was a researcher and lecturer at Scottish universities including St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Stirling before transferring from academia to become Cultural Heritage Officer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). She has coordinated and overseen numerous community history and archaeology projects while allowing continuing to explore and discover more about Scotland’s landscapes and wildlife.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Giles Ramsay
Giles Ramsay View biography
Giles Ramsay is an independent theater director and producer who specializes in creating new work with artists in developing countries. He is the founding director of the charity Developing Artists, a fellow of St. Chad’s College, Durham University and course leader in theater at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He has devised and instructed on Road Scholar programs since the early 1990's and has run theater projects in countries ranging from Kosovo to Zimbabwe.
Profile Image of Kevin Durjun
Kevin Durjun View biography
Kevin Durjun began his career in theatre arts as a radio producer and presenter. He then served as manager at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and later as membership and communications manager for the Independent Theatre Council as well as two leading off-West End theatres.
Profile Image of Joyce McMillan
Joyce McMillan View biography
Joyce is theatre critic of “The Scotsman” and also writes a political and social commentary column for the newspaper. She has been a political and arts columnist, theatre critic, and broadcaster for more than thirty years, living in Edinburgh and working for various Scottish and London-based newspapers. She also broadcasts regularly, mainly on BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 4, and has been involved in Scottish and European campaigns for democracy and human rights.
Profile Image of Kirsty McAlister
Kirsty McAlister View biography
Kirsty is a Blue Badge guide with a Ph.D. in Scottish history and a background in higher education, historical research, and cultural heritage. She was a researcher and lecturer at Scottish universities including St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Stirling before transferring from academia to become Cultural Heritage Officer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). She has coordinated and overseen numerous community history and archaeology projects while allowing continuing to explore and discover more about Scotland’s landscapes and wildlife.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
How the Scots Invented the Modern World
by Arthur Herman
Although the title sounds whimsical, this is a serious treatment of the cultural, philosophical and material gifts of the small and frequently troubled nation of Scotland.
Scotland in Photographs
by by Brian Cox (Foreword), Shahbaz Majeed
An award-winning photographer from Dundee, Majeed captures the spirit of the rugged and wondrous Scottish landscape in this gift book. The stunning images of lochs and storm-battered cliffs, misty glens and majestic mountains celebrate Scotland's enduring appeal.
Secret Edinburgh
by Elizabeth Hannah Robinson
Leading travelers away from crowds, the Secret Guide series favors the underground, the funky, the unusual and the highly memorable. In this Edinburgh edition, the editors recommend hidden gardens, traces of the Great Exhibition, a tiny frog sculpture and plenty of other local curiosities.
Book Lovers' Edinburgh: A Guide and Companion
by Allan Foster
Part guidebook, part readers' companion, Book Lovers' Edinburgh is an exploration of a great city that has been celebrated for its literature since ancient times.
The Celts: A Very Short Introduction
by Barry W. Cunliffe
A concise, revealing social history of the Celts by a reigning authority and popular writer.
Stone Voices, The Search for Scotland
by Neal Ascherson
Ascherson writes with verve and insight on the centuries-old impulse toward nationhood in Scotland in this absorbing portrait.
The Highland Clans
by Alistair Moffat
This excellent compact history of the Scottish Highland clans brings to life their leaders, traditions, families and heroic deeds with color illustrations, photos, a clan map and an alphabetical family list.
The Marches, A Borderland Journey Between England and Scotland
by Rory Stewart
A travelogue by a British Parliamentarian that profiles standing stones, monks, flooded fields, striking mountains and, of course, Hadrian’s Wall. Stewart mingles his observations with the history of one of the world's most fought-over borders.
Eyewitness Guide Scotland
by Eyewitness Guides
This compact, illustrated travel guide features color photography, excellent maps and a region-by-region synopsis of Scotland's attractions.
Scotland, A Very Short Introduction
by Rab Houston
Covering everything from the Jacobites to the modern economy, this brisk account ranges over 1,000 years of society, culture, politics and religion.
Edinburgh, A Cultural History
by Donald Campbell
A literary, cultural guide to the art, architecture, traditions and history of Edinburgh. Campbell reveals the many dimensions to this fascinating meeting place between Protestantism and bohemianism.
Culture Smart! Scotland
by John Scotney
A concise, well-illustrated and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture, equally of interest to the traveler and business person.
On Glasgow and Edinburgh
by Robert Crawford
A history and guide, Crawford's lively account, drawing on a wealth of historical and literary sources, affirms what people from Glasgow and Edinburgh have long doubted -- that it is possible to love both cities.
Scotland, A Literary Guide for Travellers
by Garry Mackenzie
From local authors to classic writers like Keats, Coleridge and Wordsworth, this literary survey reveals Scotland's multifaceted, historical personality through literature.
Edinburgh, Mapping the City
by Christopher Fleet
This collection of 80 visually stunning maps displays 500 years of Edinburghian and Scottish history. Christopher Fleet, from the National Library of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, selected each for its political, social and geographic importance.
The Edinburgh Literary Companion
by Andrew Lownie
The Edinburgh Literary Companion takes the reader on a journey through the city, from the numerous wynds and closes of the Old Town to the elegant and spacious New Torn, the University Quarter and Edinburgh's villages. Linking the city's literary past and present, the book is a fascinating portrait of a vibrant, cultural capital as seen and recorded by writers through the centuries.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
by Muriel Spark
A terribly witty novel from the pen of Dame Muriel. Miss Jean Brodie is an unorthodox teacher at an Edinburgh girls' boarding school who wins the hearts and minds of her students, only to discover that girls from the provinces are ill-prepared for progressive thought.
Auld Reekie: An Edinburgh Anthology
by Ralph Lownie (compiler), Alexander McCall Smith (introduction)
An absorbing anthology, drawing on speeches, memoirs, letters, poetry, novels, journals, lectures and guides, spanning five hundred years of the city's history, from the Municipal Proclamation after the Battle of Flodden to the novels of Ian Rankin.
Lonely Planet Pocket Edinburgh
by Neil Wilson
This lively shirt pocket guide to the city, jammed with personal recommendations and photographs, also includes a pull-out map.
A Traveller's History of Scotland
by Andrew Fisher
This brief history of Scotland through the 1990s is wide-ranging, accessible and necessarily condensed. With a useful chronology, a list of monarchs and a historical gazetteer, this book marches confidently through the centuries.
Lonely Planet Edinburgh City Map
by Lonely Planet Publications
Lonely Planet's attractive map of Edinburgh is scaled so that one inch equals 0.1 miles and features sights and a helpful inset of the transit system. Printed on durable, waterproof Tyvek, the map also slips into a protective jacket.
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5 days
DAY
1
Welcome, Orientation, Introductions, Edinburgh Origins
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 1:00 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Welcome, Orientation, Introductions. Our Study Leader, Dr. Kirsty McAlister, will greet everyone and review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, Zoom meeting protocols, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions. 11:15 a.m. Lecture. Dr. Kirsty McAlister will give us a broad overview of Scotland’s history and then focus on the origins of Edinburgh, the capital. We’ll learn how it came to dominate Scottish trade, politics, and law in the medieval period. We’ll consider how Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns — a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site — display a glorious partnership of medieval passageways and stunning 18th-century Georgian architecture.

Afternoon: 12:00 p.m. Break. 12:15 p.m. Introductions. We will say hello to our fellow Road Scholars. 12:40 p.m. Virtual field trip. The most famous street in Edinburgh is the Royal Mile. At one end sits Edinburgh Castle, high on its volcanic rock, and at the other is the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. We’ll also explore the Grassmarket with its wonderful array of pubs and hear some tales from Scotland’s murkier past. After the field trip, we’ll wrap up with notes for tomorrow. 1:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
2
Holyrood Abbey, Kings & Queens, Modern Monarchy
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 1:00 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Welcome with Dr. Kirsty. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. Holyrood Abbey was founded by King David I in 1128. The only portion that survives today is the east processional doorway, considered one of the finest Gothic façades in Scotland. Kirsty McAllister will take us through an exploration of Edinburgh’s association with Scotland’s best-known kings and queens. We’ll hear about the exploits of Mary, Queen of Scots in the 1560s. We’ll also learn what happened when Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highland Jacobite army arrived in Edinburgh in 1745. We’ll then and take a look at the modern monarchy’s relationship with Scotland’s capital city. 11:45 p.m. Break.

Afternoon: 12:00 p.m. Virtual field trip. We’ll take some time and get to know Edinburgh’s New Town. Borne of a need to alleviate dense overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in what then became known as the “Old Town.” the construction of the New Town between 1767 and 1890 saw an unprecedented degree of urban planning and the involvement of a number of renowned architects. The result was a neoclassical masterpiece. 12:45 p.m. Wrap-up and notes for tomorrow. 1:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
3
Edinburgh Festival, “Macbeth” Preview, Political Briefing
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 1:00 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Welcome with Dr. Kirsty. 11:05 a.m. Lecture with Giles Ramsay. In 1947, in the aftermath of the horrors of the Second World War, a group of artists attempted to heal some of the wounds through the international language of music and the Edinburgh Festival was born. More than 70 years later, it is now the largest arts festival in the world. Giles Ramsay will discuss how these decades have helped shape the modern destiny of Scotland. We will also have an introduction to tonight’s performance of “Macbeth.” 11.45 a.m. Break.

Afternoon: 12:00 p.m. In conversation. Giles Ramsay and Joyce McMillan will address the State of the Nation. With Brexit done and possible independence looming Scotland is on the political cusp. How did we get here and what might the next decade hold? Joyce McMillan is theatre critic of “The Scotsman” and also writes a political and social commentary column for the newspaper. She has been a political and arts columnist, theatre critic, and broadcaster for more than 30 years, living in Edinburgh and working for various Scottish and London-based newspapers. She also broadcasts regularly, mainly on BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 4, and has been involved in Scottish and European campaigns for democracy and human rights. We’ll engage in an interactive Q&A session with Joyce McMillan. 1:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.

Evening: In our own time, we will view “Macbeth” in the Royal Shakespeare Company production starring Sir Antony Sher via Digital Theatre +.

DAY
4
The 18th Century, Surgeon’s Hall
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 1:00 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Welcome with Dr. Kirsty. We will also have a group discussion of “Macbeth.” 11:20 a.m. Lecture. Dr. Kirsty McAlister will address highlights of 18th century Scotland and the unprecedented period of intellectual progress known as the “Enlightenment” when Edinburgh was the nucleus. We’ll learn about extraordinary achievements in literature, poetry, philosophy, science, and medicine. What were the circumstances that encouraged this and who were the main players?

Afternoon: 12.00 p.m. Break. 12:15 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will roam around some of Edinburgh’s fascinating graveyards. A number of prominent Scots are interred in Old Calton Burial Ground, also home to the Scottish-American Soldier’s Monument, dedicated to those Scots who lost their lives during the American Civil War. At Greyfriars Kirkyard, we’ll hear about the famously loyal dog known as Greyfriars Bobby and how the graveyard is linked to Harry Potter. 12:30 p.m. Lecture. Edinburgh has a long-standing reputation as a center of medical advancement and, as such, is home to one of the oldest and most astonishing museums, Surgeon’s Hall. Today Dr. Kirsty will explore the fascinating development of this museum, from teaching resource to visitor attraction, and learn about some of the more remarkable objects within the collection. We’ll then have Q&A on today’s sessions. 1:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
5
Edinburgh & The Arts, Artisans & Craftspeople
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 1:00 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Welcome with Dr. Kirsty. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. Dr. Kirsty McAllister will focus on Edinburgh and the arts. We will learn about some of the city’s exceptional paintings and sculpture, and hear how Edinburgh came to be recognized as the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. We’ll also discuss some famous and familiar names including Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Afternoon: 12:00 p.m. Break. 12:15 p.m. Lecture. Edinburgh is home to a vast array of artisans and skilled craftspeople. Dr. Kirsty McAlister will reveal some of the most inspiring, from kiltmakers and bagpipe makers to producers of wonderful textiles, soaps, chocolate, beer and — of course — whisky! 12:45 p.m. We will wrap up with a final Q&A session and farewells. 1:00 p.m. This concludes our program.






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