You could be forgiven for only associating Edinburgh with the famous Fringe Festival, but you’d be foolish to miss out on all its other brilliant offerings when visiting. The capital of Scotland is a huge hub of culture, history and natural beauty. Check out brilliant comedy acts all year long, drink a few drams of whisky, scare yourself silly on a haunted tour of the city, explore castles and check out the nearby Scottish Highlands for incredibly dramatic landscapes. It’s also where J K Rowling found much of her inspiration for Harry Potter, so you’ll feel as if you’re wandering around Hogwarts all at the same time. What more could you ask for?
For the best views of Edinburgh, you have two options. The easier one is to climb up to Calton Hill where you can wander about Scotland’s very own mini acropolis. The other, more intense option, is a hike up Arthur’s Seat. This extinct volcano looms over the city and offers breathtaking views on a clear day. Just prepare to work up a sweat as you make your way to the top!
A trip to Scotland is not complete without visiting its most famous attraction, Edinburgh Castle. Take a peek inside or simply wander around the battlements during the day. Explore more history at the National Museum of Scotland while art lovers have plenty to keep them busy with the Scottish National Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy.
Edinburgh has a dark history, lending many to believe that the entire city is haunted. The spookiest part has to be The Real Mary’s King Close, 17th century alleyways hidden beneath the city. Go there if you’re brave enough! Also check out the Surgeon’s Hall Museum for more creepy artefacts and stories of Edinburgh’s grisly past.
Visit one of Edinburgh’s many theatres and shows – even when it isn’t festival season. Top picks are The Edinburgh Playhouse King’s Theatre, and Traverse Theatre. Head to The Stand and giggle all night long to well-known and up and coming comedians.
You’ll need something to eat after all that whisky ‘tasting’ so head to old school Scottish restaurant, The Witchery for a fine meal in opulent surroundings. Stimulate your mind as well as your taste buds with afternoon tea at The Colonnades located in a library. Ethically-minded diners head to Timberyard for locally sourced modern cuisine which won’t chew through your entire weekly travel budget.
These chic 5-star luxury apartments are located in an old bank, right in the heart of bustling St Andrew’s Square. They’ve even added a cheeky champagne and cocktail lounge for good measure.
If you want stylish place to rest your head that’s kinder to your budget, try Stay Central, set in Edinburgh’s party precinct.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August
You can’t possibly mention Edinburgh with talking about the world’s biggest arts festival. Every August the Fringe host more than 50,000 performances in venues around the city, presenting acts from every genre of art you can possibly imagine. A trip to Edinburgh Festival Fringe is definitely one for your bucket list!
One of the mightiest military parades out there, with performers from all over the world converging on the doorstep of the Edinburgh Castle. Experience the sound of bagpipes echoing along The Royal Mile while Scots in billowing kilts march past in formation. It’s a one-of-a-kind event.
Edinburgh is in Scotland, four hours and 30 minutes by train from London. Scotland’s busiest airport, Edinburgh Airport, is also served by many airlines.