Affectionately known as the Athens of the North, Edinburgh is Scotland’s ancient Capital and one of the world’s most beautiful and popular destinations. Where Glasgow is the soul of Scotland, Edinburgh is very much Scotland’s heart. Home to the Scottish Parliament, as well as the seat of the Scottish monarchy, the city has been famed for its innovations in Law, Science, and the Arts for centuries.
Easy to navigate, the center of Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and split into the Old Town, known for its medieval streets, and the New Town, a terrific example of Georgian architecture. A great city for walking, coupled with great public transport, including the recently installed tram system, ensures that you should have no trouble getting around Edinburgh and taking in its sights. Be prepared though, Edinburgh is a city of hills and stairs, and is known for having a cold wind, as it sits only a few miles from the sea.
The highlight and focal point of the city, Edinburgh Castle , sits on top of an ancient extinct volcano. With its towering walls and magnificent gate, the Castle will draw your eye no matter where you are in the heart of Edinburgh. The Royal Mile is the city’s famous cobbled street, stretching from the gates of the castle to Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s private residence in the city, at the bottom of the hill. Be sure to take a tour of the Castle, whilst enjoying the magnificent views of the city, then walk down the Royal Mile, admiring the surrounding sights: St Giles Cathedral, Mary King’s Close, and the many shops and restaurants that line the streets of the Old Town.
Sitting just below the Castle’s north side lies the site of what was once the Nor Loch and is now home to Princes Street Gardens, the best known park in the City; famous for it’s beautiful flowers in the summer, and performances and events year round. Take a peaceful stroll through the park with the towering Gothic Spire of the Scott Monument, then walk round the East side of the Castle to the Grassmarket - a historic square with great restaurants and pubs.
Shopping and Restaurants in Edinburgh
Across from Princes Street Gardens lies the city’s New Town known for its classic Georgian architecture, wide streets, and shopping. The most well known street of the New Town, Princes Street, offers great shopping and fantastic views of the Castle. Head one street up, to Rose street, recognizable by the rose mosaics set into the street, offers a selection of bars and pubs, and it is a past time of the locals to spend a healthy amount of time wandering down the street from one end to the other. George Street, the central street of the New Town is recognizable by its array of impressive Georgian buildings, with St Andrews Square at one end, and Charlotte Square at the other. Lastly, head to Queen Street for some delicious cocktails at Bramble Bar and Lounge, and a dram or two of whisky at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
Edinburgh is also known for its many festivals and events. It is well worth planning your trip to attend any one of Edinburgh’s annual festivals, but the City is famed for 2 events in particular. Every August, the Royal Mile becomes packed with all varieties of actors, comedy acts, and interpretive dancers for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest Arts festival in the world. The Festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world, and at night visitors can attend any of the thousands of shows and performances that take place all across the city, in theatres, showrooms, and even pubs!
Edinburgh’s famous New Year’s festival, Hogmanay, is world renowned for putting on a great 3 day party. Musicians, Scottish country (Ceilidh) dancing, a massive street party, and topping it all off, terrific fireworks to herald in the New Year. Be sure to bundle up though, to say Edinburgh is chilly in the winter would be an understatement!
Edinburgh is truly a unique city with something to offer everyone. Be sure to use FareCompare’s handy quotebox to search for the cheapest flight from your destination, and check out farecompare.com/eventurist for exciting details and news on Edinburgh’s terrific festivals.