Care to visit a tranquil city abounding in history, profound culture and awe-inspiring nature, while experiencing a dynamic pace of an advanced and superb educational hub? Then Edinburgh is surely your pick! The compelling Georgian capital of Scotland, dominated by majestic Castle Rock with Edinburgh Castle, narrates stories of past and present that will make you yearn to become a part of its future.
As Scotland’s proud capital and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, stunning Edinburgh has been both a deep well of inspiring history and a progressive vibrant city of innovation and change. Set off on an unforgettable journey through the narrow alleyways, across cobbled courtyards and into the majesty of the impressive Georgian streets and immerse yourself in a remarkable world of cultural and natural legacy. See more.
Key Things To Check Out
If You Miss It, You'll Regret It?
From mighty fortresses to poignant statues, Edinburgh has its fair share of breath-taking landmarks, so make sure you check out at least the most notable castles and monuments when you’re in the city. Edinburgh also has some of the best outdoor spaces you can ever hope to find in a major city. The city is incredibly compact, so you won’t have to travel far to get to some of the best walking routes. From conquering an extinct volcano to a scenic walk along a 12 mile water walkway, there’s bound to be a walking route in Edinburgh that will fit your mood. See more.
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of Edinburgh from its position on the Castle Rock. The castle is Scotland’s most-visited and most recognisable paid tourist attraction, with around 1.5 million yearly visitors.
The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. With a 61.11 m tower and viewing platforms reached by a series of narrow spiral staircases (a total of 287 steps) that offer stunning panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings, it is the largest monument to a writer in the world.
The National Monument of Scotland is a 19th century national memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. The monument dominates the top of Calton Hill and is modelled upon the Parthenon in Athens.
Arthur’s Seat is the main mountain in Edinburgh, which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”. It is situated just to the east of the city centre, about 1.6 km to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 250.5 m, provides excellent panoramic views of the city and beyond, it is relatively easy to climb and it is very popular for hillwalking.
2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, some of the biggest events on the world’s cultural calendar that run between the end of July and early September each year. Alternatively, you can visit Edinburgh’s renowned Christmas Market, a spectacular six-week season of festive entertainment in the heart of the city that usually runs from November to January.
Events in Edinburgh
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe began as a programme of marginal acts alongside the “official” Festival, but has since become the world’s largest performing arts festival. As a bustling student city with one of the top universities in Europe, Edinburgh also vibrates to a beat that will hit the mark with music and dance lovers of all genres. The official programme of the Fringe categorises shows into sections for theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. In 2016 it hosted 50,266 performers in 3,269 shows at 294 venues, making it the largest ever arts festival on the planet.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay barely needs introduction, being famous the world over as one of the best ways to ring in the New Year. No visit to Edinburgh during the festive season is complete without taking in the city’s atmosphere on New Year’s Eve. Whether you’re looking to be part of the Street Party on Princes Street, want to find the perfect cèilidh to dance or fancy something to entertain the whole family, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay offers three days of uniquely Scottish excitement and fun in one of the best places in the world to celebrate the New Year.
In the second half of the century, the city was at the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment, when thinkers like David Hume, Adam Smith, James Hutton and Joseph Black were familiar figures in its streets. Edinburgh became a major intellectual centre, earning it the nickname “Athens of the North” because of its many neo-classical buildings and reputation for learning, recalling ancient Athens.
What to do
What to do in Edinburgh?
Make the most of every minute, since Edinburgh nightlife sparkles with a full schedule of things to see and do as the clock approaches midnight and beyond. The city’s numerous great clubs and pubs gyrates to hip-hop, techno and soul to jazz, blues and folk music. For those who prefer more visual stimulants, a night at the theatre or the cinema is a pleasant and memorable way to spend an evening, as the city offers an excellent variety of first-class choices.
Edinburgh abounds with fantastic things to do outdoors throughout the year. Step outside in the city centre and discover its cobbled streets, fashionable walkways and ancient alleys. From the picturesque West End sprinkled with stylish boutiques, gift shops, florists and interior shops to the bustling streets of George and Princes Streets and the colourful Grassmarket and ancient Royal Mile, the beauty of Edinburgh city centre is its compact size. A walkable city, you can easily explore the architecture, history, shops, theatres and museums on foot. For those who prefer nature walks, serene and charming parks, gardens, lochs and cliffs offer superb views, as well as an intimate and utterly rewarding break from the hustle and bustle of the capital’s main shopping streets.
Traditional Scottish dishes nicely coexist alongside international food brought about by migration and typically include: dairy products, game, fish, fruit and vegetables, with a high reliance on simplicity and a lack of spices from abroad, as these were historically rare and expensive.
All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century.
Haddock is a very popular saltwater food fish found in the North Atlantic Ocean and associated seas, sold fresh, smoked, frozen, dried, or to a small extent canned.
The rutabaga or neep is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip; confusingly, the rutabaga can also be called a turnip. The roots are prepared for human consumption in a variety of ways and the leaves can be eaten as a leaf vegetable.
Fusion of Delightful Simplicity
Although Scottish cuisine definitely has a distinctively specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with that proud nation, it shares much with wider British and European cuisine, as a result of local and foreign influences, both ancient and modern. Legends have been already written about Scotch whisky, and rightfully so, but suffice it to say that the Scottish take their Scotch extremely serious and it must be made in a manner strictly specified by law.
Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach, though now often in an artificial casing instead.
Dundee cake is a famous traditional fruit cake with a rich flavour originated in nineteenth-century Scotland. The cake is often made with currants, sultanas and almonds; sometimes, fruit peel may be added to it. A popular story is that Mary Queen of Scots did not like glace cherries in her cakes, so the cake was first made for her, as a fruit cake that used blanched almonds and not cherries. Also, Queen Elizabeth is reported to favour Dundee cake at tea-time.
Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish Borders. The main ingredients are potato, cabbage and onion. Similar to Irish colcannon and English bubble and squeak, it is either served as an accompaniment to a main dish or as a main dish itself.
The Harry Potter book series is surely well-known by almost everyone on the planet, but did you know that JK Rowling penned the world’s favourite wizarding stories right here in Edinburgh? As you walk around the city, you can see the streets and sights that inspired the global sensation. The most notable is The Elephant House on George IV Bridge, where you’ll find lots of tourists taking selfies in front of the sign marking the “birthplace” of Harry Potter.
Edinburgh welcomes nearly four million visitors every year, so naturally there are plenty of accommodation options in the capital. No matter what your taste or your budget, there is a place in town that is perfect for you. From 5 Star luxury of some of the most iconic hotels in the world to welcoming family board and lodging, or rather something that suits those on a budget, the city has a great range of wonderful rooms for you to browse. Find out more…
How to Get There?
Plane Edinburgh Airport lies 8km to the west of Edinburgh and is the third biggest city in the UK in terms of airport passenger numbers, following London and Manchester. Visitors can get to and from the airport by bus, car and taxi. Subject to the time of day, the average journey time can take approximately 25 minutes. A regular airport bus runs every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day departing from Waverley Bridge.
Car An extensive road network links Edinburgh to the rest of Scotland and UK making access to the capital easy by car. Travelling West, Edinburgh to Glasgow can take just over an hour along the M8 and travelling northwards, it will take approximately 2.5 hours to reach Aberdeen and 3.5 hours to arrive in Inverness. Newcastle is approximately a 2.5 hour drive and Manchester and Birmingham, 4 and 6 hours respectively.
Bus Bus transportation is the principal means of public transport in Edinburgh, with an extensive bus network, covering all parts of the city, its suburbs and the surrounding city-region. Edinburgh is widely regarded as having one of the most extensive bus services in the country, with some of the highest patronage figures in the UK outside of London.
Railroad Edinburgh’s two major railway stations, Waverley and Haymarket, operate regular services to other parts of Scotland and the UK on a frequent basis. There are two major rail companies that provide links either south-eastwards from Edinburgh to London, Newcastle, York, Leeds and Aberdeen, or towards southwest to London via Lockerbie, Preston, Birmingham and Coventry. Rail travellers can travel to London in approximately five hours. Caledonian Sleeper is a popular overnight service operating between Edinburgh and London (Euston) every night (except Saturday). With a range of accommodation types, guests can wake up in Edinburgh refreshed and ready to start their day.
Tips & Hints
What to know before you go?
Many of the foreign consulates based in Scotland are located in Edinburgh, whilst Embassies and High Commissions are largely based in London. For UK Residents wishing to travel they often help with arrangements for visas.
WiFi friendly trams run 14 km from York Place in the city centre to Edinburgh Airport in a journey time of approximately 35 minutes. Wheelchair accessible ramps and lifts are provided at the stops along the route.
There are over 1000 black cabs across the city, which can be hailed in the street or picked up from one of the taxi ranks within the town centre. The majority of taxis can carry up to 5 passengers and are accessible for wheelchairs except when they have a wheelchair exemption certificate clearly displayed within the taxi.
Edinburgh offers a fantastic range of tours to acquaint, educate, entertain and terrorise the capital. From bus tours to ghost tours and even running tours for the more energetic, there is always something to see and do throughout the year.
Visitors can easily pre-plan their trip and experience quick and hassle-free entrance to attractions and transport, saving money at the same time. Whether you are into history, culture, haunted tours, nature or full-on fun, the Edinburgh Pass is a must.
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