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28 Jul 2021

What’s up at Gladstone’s Land?

Written by Real Reviews
An example of a working class person’s unmade bed at Gladstone’s Land, with old sepia postcards and photographs stuck to the wall above it.
A lot has changed at Gladstone’s Land in Edinburgh, with new rooms open to visitors, new tours, and an ice cream parlour. It is an exciting place to visit and learn more about the city’s history.

Gladstone’s Land is in a very nice spot in Edinburgh, not too far from the train station and close to the castle. It is surrounded by gift shops and cafés, and even has its own new café on the bottom floor. There is a wide range of ice cream flavours to choose from, and I sampled three which were all delicious: mint choc chip, Oreo and raspberry sorbet. There are also tray bakes and many kinds of drinks to choose from.

A hand holding an ice cream cone filled with different flavours of ice cream, and a table with a cup of coffee on it.
Ice cream and coffee – a great start or end to a visit

After I had eaten my ice cream, a tour guide took us outside to tell us about the history of the building and about how it used to have a dairy on the bottom floor. After that, we were taken up some winding stairs to the third floor. The third floor was used by working class people and I enjoyed learning about the way they lived. This floor had lots of objects that we could touch and drawers that we could open, and I found this to be very fun and interactive.

An envelope of old pennies spilling onto a wooden desk.
Old pennies in the top floor room

The next floor down was a draper’s shop that sold fabrics and other things, such as hats and socks. I learned that people who entered the shops would sit down for a beverage and snack to talk with the shop owner, and the bargaining would begin for real later. There was also an adjoining room that held a beautiful desk with lots of secret compartments that could hide letters and other items. During the tour I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the history of tea leaves and it showed the knowledge that the tour guide had – not only about the rooms but also about the history surrounding them.

After that, we were taken down another floor to where a wealthy family with five children and a few servants would have lived. There was a stunning mahogany wardrobe with amazing patterns carved into it. The ceiling had fruits painted on it in beautiful colours and there was a stunning four poster bed and an adjoining kitchen with a big fireplace.

Overall I absolutely loved visiting Gladstone’s Land. It was brilliant and has taken the top spot out of all of the visits I’ve done so far. I thoroughly recommend going there.

Thank you to our young writer Margaret for reviewing her trip to Gladstone's Land.

Working in partnership with Young Scot, the Trust is offering entry to young people to dozens of historic places across Scotland for just £1 on presentation of their Young Scot card.

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