The best TIME in Edinburgh

With the clocks going back this Sunday as the shorter days draw in, it got us thinking about clocks.. or more specifically the clocks of Edinburgh. So we thought we’d pull together a wee blog post about some of the clocks you should look out for when you’re in Edinburgh and tell you a little bit more about the history behind them.

Whisky cask clock
Edinburgh Castle and Balmoral clock

Located at the end of Princes Street, The Balmoral Hotel (originally North British Station Hotel), was built in 1902 and has been one of the first sights for those entering Edinburgh by train for over a century. Its turret clock is a staple of the city’s skyline, but this beautiful clock has an interesting story! Since 1902, the hotel’s clock has been set three minutes fast to ensure that the people of Edinburgh don’t miss their trains. The clock remains at this time all year round, except on Hogmanay (31st December) when the clock runs on time to bring in the new year.

So if you’re ever looking at the clock and wondering why it’s never at the right time, that’s why!

The Balmoral Hotel © Forever Edinburgh

The Royal Yacht Britannia clock, copyright Marc Millar

The clocks on The Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia was the ocean home to Her Majesty The Queen and the rest of the royal family for over forty years. Having sailed over a million miles around the world, the yacht is now berthed in Leith, Edinburgh and can be visited by the public. If you decide to go on a tour of the boat, you may notice something rather interesting about the clocks on board – they are all stopped at 3.01pm. Now this isn’t just some crazy coincidence, it was actually the exact time The Queen last stepped off board the vessel!

The Gold Clock © Marc Millar, The Royal Yacht Britannia

Princes street floral clock

The Floral Clock

If you’ve walked down Edinburgh’s Princes Street the chances are you will have walked past the beautiful, Floral Clock. Located in West Princes Street Gardens the clock was commissioned in 1903 and was the first of its kind – not only is it a fully functioning clock, it’s also a beautiful floral display! The clock flowers from July until October and it takes two gardeners five weeks to plant! It also often has a theme to it, depending on the year, it’s celebrated lots from, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2012 to celebrating 100 years of West Princes Street Gardens in 1974!

Whisky cask clock

The Whisky Clock

If you visit us here at The Scotch Whisky Experience you’ll also get to enjoy a clock, but a very different type of clock. Our clock represents time in the whisky producing process and most importantly the maturation of whisky.

While maturing, the whisky becomes smoother, gains flavour, and draws its golden colour from the cask. A proportion of the higher alcohols turn into esters and other complex compounds which subtly enhance each whisky’s distinctive characteristics. By law all Scotch whisky must be matured for at least 3 years, but most single malts lie in the wood for 8, 10, 12, 15 years or sometimes a lot longer.

What’s your favourite Edinburgh clock?

Slàinte Mhath!