Find out why the Scottish capital is one of Britain’s most spectacular cities
Edinburgh is unquestionably one of Britain’s most spectacular cities. Its heart, the Old Town, is a wonderful labyrinth of beautifully preserved narrow lanes and cobbled streets, while the New Town – new only by contrast – is an elegant district of squares, crescents and gardens surrounded by enviable Georgian town houses.
World-famous for its arts and culture, the vibrant character of Scotland’s capital is truly unique – particularly in August when the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, casts its magical spell over the city.
Planning a trip? Don’t miss these top-rated things to do, places to stay and restaurants to visit.
Things to do
Edinburgh Castle is a fantastic place to begin your visit. The panoramic view to be enjoyed from its ramparts will give you a wonderful feel for the city’s geography. Stroll down the Royal Mile, the chain of streets that stretches downhill from the castle Esplanade to the Palace of Holyrood House at its foot. Keep an eye out for the several great visitor attractions dotted along its length – including the mind-boggling Camera Obscura.
Below Castle Rock lies Princes Street Gardens, a lovely leafy space that’s filled with flowers in the summer. Look up to spy the Scott Monument’s Gothic spire, or wander across to the Scottish National Gallery. For fabulous views over the city, venture to the east end of Edinburgh’s main shopping street, Princes Street, to Calton Hill. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, pack your walking boots and tackle the city’s own miniature mountain, Arthur’s Seat, the base of which lies in Holyrood Park.
To experience a taste of the New Town head to its central throughfare, George Street. Lined with stylish shops, bars and restaurants, at its western end you’ll find Charlotte Square which hosts the beautifully preserved Georgian House and Bute House, the latter being the official residence of the First Minister.
Although there’s plenty to explore in the city centre, it’s well worth venturing to Edinburgh’s north, where you’ll find the buzzing port district of Leith. A few miles south-east of Leigh lies Portobello, Edinburgh’s golden-sanded seaside, which proves popular with locals and tourists alike on sunny days.
Around Edinburgh’s Old Town – walk
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
Places to stay
With top hotels, characterful B&Bs and self-catered stays in abundance, Edinburgh has a variety of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.
Violet Bank Apartment New Town
Where to eat
Whether you’re looking to sample Scotland’s national dish of haggis, neeps and tatties, or seek out the city’s many accoladed restaurants, you won’t be short of choice on your visit.