If you’ve been out and about in Edinburgh over the past month, you’ve probably noticed a few tall, brightly-coloured additions to the city’s streets. Wild in Art and Edinburgh Zoo have teamed up to bring a herd of forty-odd giraffe sculptures (plus thirty more wee ones designed by schools and local communities) to Edinburgh. Some are wacky, others whimsical. All of them have brought a smile to my face. I’ve had oodles of fun scouting out Edinburgh’s newest residents on recent trips into town, and today I’m going to share a few of my favourites (in no particular order).
Created by Jina Gelder| Location Edinburgh Zoo
I’m 99% sure Bamboozled was the first Giraffe About Town sculpture I saw. Pandas are one of my favourite animals, and I love the way Jina’s design captures pandas’ playful personalities.
Stand Tall for Giraffes
Created by Loïs Cordelia | Location Calton Hill
Stood atop Calton Hill, Stand Tall for Giraffes has hands-down the best view of the whole herd. I stumbled upon this one while walking the Seven Hills (stayed tuned for more on that), and it brightened my spirits on the penultimate hill.
Created by Adriana de Matos | Location St. Andrew Square
Endangered Scotland cemented its place as one of my favourite sculptures on the trail instantly. Adriana’s design brings together iconic native fauna and flora, including adorable red squirrels, elusive otters, and the endangered Scottish wildcat.
Created by Sandra Russell | Location Pilrig Street
I can’t remember why I was even on Pilrig Street, but for one reason or another I was – so Gerry MacTartan was an unexpected spot (but all the better for it). Autumn is coming, and when it arrives Gerry MacTartan will be well-equipped for the dreich days that one of my least-favourite seasons brings.
The Giraffe of the Water of Leith
Created by Melanie Grandidge | Location Castle Street
Just like its namesake, The Giraffe of the Water of Leith transports visitors from the rural fringes of the Pentland Hills Regional Park to the banks of the Firth of Forth. Various landmarks along the Water of Leith Walkway have been woven into the design, alongside a few of the river’s furry and feathery residents.
Created by WhimSicAL LusH | Location Stockbridge
If you’re wondering what on earth a ‘bosie’ is (I was), it’s a Scottish word for a hug or a cuddle. According to the plaque beneath Cosie Bosies, Suzanne – the artist and illustrator behind the name WhimSicAL LusH – thought her giraffe “might quite love a cosy jumper as she’s come from hot Africa to an often very chilly Scotland”. Like Cosie Bosies, I can almost always be found in a jumper and/or dressing gown in a bid to stay warm and snug… and I’ve come to a very chilly Scotland from an only marginally less chilly England (heatwaves aside).
Created by Pamela McMahon | Location Dynamic Earth
When I walked Edinburgh’s Seven Hills back in July, I decided to detour via campus to fill up my water bottle, rather than take the most direct route from Arthur’s Seat to Calton Hill. This little detour took me past Dynamic Earth… and the simple but striking Super Giraffe.
Created by Samantha Dolan | Location Bruntsfield Links
We scouted out Giraffa Botanica after seeing Ed Patrick at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and fuelling up on a Spaghetti Sundae from Mary’s Milk Bar (Google the German dessert ‘spaghettieis’ and you’ll get the idea). I love the way the flowers pop against the greens. Green is also my favourite colour, so if I’m honest this giraffe had an advantage from the off…
Leave Only Footprints
Created by Tabita W. Harvey | Location Lauriston Place
Leave Only Footprints looks like your average giraffe from a distance. Get nearer to it and you’ll quickly realise each patch is a foot or paw print from one of the animals that calls Edinburgh Zoo home. (Fun fact: each giraffe has a unique coat pattern, just as each human has a unique fingerprint.) I love the concept behind this design – and the author’s message that each of us has a responsibility to think of the footprints that we will leave on our planet for future generations.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Maps and guides | You can download a trail map from www.giraffeabouttown.org.uk, or pick up a paper one from Edinburgh Zoo, Lothian travel hubs or the Visit Scotland Edinburgh iCentre. There’s also a Giraffe About Town app (89p, with proceeds going to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland).
- Misc. | Giraffe About Town is running until Monday 29th August 2022.