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Edinburgh Overview

A lively and welcoming city

 

Edinburgh is a popular destination for visitors from around the world. The city boasts internationally renowned festivals and events, two professional football clubs, great golf courses and a proud reputation as a lively and welcoming host. The medieval city has grown and spread both north and east to include beautiful coastal suburbs including Leith and trendy Portobello. The modern city centre has well known Princes Street and historic Waverley Station at its heart. South of the station across the North Bridge lies the Old Town, the Grassmarket and the imposing Edinburgh Castle. North of Princess Street the landscape changes as you enter the Georgian New Town, set out in easy to navigate grids lined with incredible Georgian architecture.

 

Events

The city is popular throughout the year with a wide range of visitors pouring in to admire the many sights but also to enjoy a wide range of cultural and sporting events. Hogmanay gets the year off with a bang as the centre of Edinburgh becomes one large party. Rugby then features strongly on the agenda as the Six Nations gets underway every February. Murrayfield, to the west of the city centre is the home of Scottish rugby. Every year the bars of Rose Street fill with boisterous Welsh, Irish, English, Italian and French fans. August sees a more or less continuous round of festivals from film to music and most famously, comedy as The Fringe sets up camp in the city.

 

Historic landmarks

 

The historic landmarks that have helped form this famous city are everywhere you look. From the castle via the Royal Mile to the beautiful Princes Street Gardens and the New Town, the city is packed with places to go and things to do. Overlooking the city and surrounding coastline is the imposing Arthur’s Seat, at the heart of beautiful Holyrood Park. Take a walk up here and enjoy the views and the fresh air. Across to the north lies the North Sea coast and the old docks and the Water of Leith, Edinburgh’s main river. East of here lies Portobello, a lovely coastal town with a magnificent sweeping beach.

 

 

Things to do in Edinburgh

 

On the beach in Edinburgh

Although only the bravest of souls might venture into the North Sea, Edinburgh and the surrounding coastline has some outstanding beaches and coastal towns. Portobello is the most convenient and certainly the trendiest of these towns. The long sliver of fine white sand facing the Firth of Forth enjoyed its heyday as a beach resort in the 19th century. After years of decline the town has fought back and is now a hive of cultural ambition. The long promenade is lined with places to eat and drink and, on a sunny day, you can enjoy a beautiful beach with stunning coastal views. Portobello is only three miles from Edinburgh.

 

Eat and drink in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a great place to visit and the volume of pubs, bars and restaurants is partly the reason. Edinburgh is a very proud city and the local restaurant scene is bursting with places eager to show off the best in local produce, cooked with a modern twist. As you wander the streets around the city centre you will find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to coffee shops, cafes and bars. The Grassmarket is a pleasant cobbled square in the Old Town lined with welcoming pubs and quirky little eateries. As you might expect, Edinburgh is also packed with chain restaurants and fast food joints of every type and flavour. For a taste of a bygone era, take a stroll along Leith Walk towards the old docks. There are still some more traditional pubs full of traditional locals.

 

Edinburgh nightlife

The centre of the city and the surrounding suburbs are packed with bars and pubs. You will never be far from your next drink or warm welcome. You can expect everything from the iconic Café Royal to modern little bars that have cropped up all over the city like the Devil’s Advocate, a whisky specialist on the High Street at the foot of the Royal Mile. For a lively party night there are several areas you can try including Cowgate, George Street and Lothian Road. Rose Street should either be avoided or embraced during the Six Nations depending on your views on rugby. There are several large scale nightclubs, with the area around the Royal Mile particularly popular. Look out for Espionage and The Hive.

 

Shopping in Edinburgh

Princes Street and George Street are home to the larger retail outlets and recognised high street brands but the city is full of quirky little stores on quirky little streets. You will find the compact Princes Mall at the Waverley Street end of Princes Street – home to several large fashion brands as well as places to grab a bite to eat. If you head up into the New Town from here you will find St Andrew Square and a wide range of high end stores including Harvey Nichols. If you want to get out of the city centre you can take a long walk or short bus ride down to the water front at Leith. There is large and well-designed shopping centre, the Ocean Terminal on the dockside. Moored next to it with visitor access is the old Royal Yacht Britannia. Leith is also home to some interesting local stores and cafes.

 

Things to see in Edinburgh

If you are visiting Edinburgh for the first time there are some things you have to do. The walk along Princes Street is great, with views over the magnificent gardens in the valley and the castle standing proudly on the far side. This area is home to the Royal Scottish Academy and the National Gallery. Next you need to head into the old medieval town to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the walk up the Royal Mile towards the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Beyond here is the wild Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat. If the weather is good it is certainly worth tackling the walk to the summit as the views are incredible. Walk back down and swing by Calton Hill and the National Monument of Scotland before finishing your tour in the New Town with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake on George Street.

 

We Recommend

 

The Carriers Quarters – Leith

This ancient pub has been in the same spot since 1785. Just off the Water of Leith and the historic docks, this quirky pub is home to award winning pies, local ale, whisky and live weekend music.

The Dome – George Street

First time visitors and locals alike flock to this New Town establishment to enjoy the authentic haggis, neeps and tatties. Sit under the wonderful Georgian domed roof and soak up the atmosphere, the food and maybe a wee dram of local whisky.

 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Get involved in the largest arts festival in the world. Every August the city becomes a mecca for visitors and performers from all over the world coming to celebrate the best in arts and entertainment.

 

Fast Facts

 

·         Currency – GBP

·         Time Zone – GMT

 


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