Traveling Scotland: A Brief Travel Guide to Edinburgh
by The Vagabondish Team | September, 2012
Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK with an atmosphere and culture unlike anything else in the world. Scotland generally is a great destination for a holiday thanks to its immaculate glacial landscapes, vast mountain ranges and long, sweeping lochs.
Edinburgh, though, is the jewel in the Scottish crown; boasting culture, art, history and incredible cuisine aplenty. Here we take a look at a brief holiday in Edinburgh, what to see, what to do and when to go!
What to See in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has some iconic landmarks and attractions to see and the castle, which looms above the city, is by far the most famous. It has been a military stronghold, a royal residence, a centre of court, the birthplace of kings and queens and the home to murders. Its history, architecture and art make for an incredible afternoon out and you absolutely can’t miss it.
From the castle you can take a stroll down the Royal Mile to see medieval Edinburgh at its finest; from the medieval facades to the luxury shops. From here you could consider taking a stroll up Arthur’s Seat to see some of the best views of Edinburgh. The city was built on volcanic hills and Arthur’s Seat boasts a museum explaining the geological make up and panoramic views to take your breath away.
These are the best things to see but there’s also the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Scottish National Gallery, the Royal Yacht Britannia and a cornucopia of architectural, cultural and historical splendours to see.
What to Do in Edinburgh
While the sights are incredible, it’s what you can do in Edinburgh that truly makes the city shine. A must stop is the Camera Obscura museum which offer 360° views of the city and a fun museum featuring the best optical illusions in the world.
For adults the Scotch Whisky Experience is a must; whether or not you think you like whisky! The hour long tour gives you a full history of Scotland’s national drink followed, of course by a wee dram.
If whisky really isn’t for you then you might want to spend some time shopping along the Royal Mile, or enjoying dinner at one of the cities many Michelin starred restaurants. You can try local delicacies like haggis (which comes deep fried from chip shops) Aberdeen Angus beef and the wonderful Salmon.
Edinburgh is a city awash with activities and you’ll find everything your heart could desire within the centre and its environs!
When to Go and Getting There
Edinburgh is beautiful year-round but somewhat cold in the winter months! In the summer the city is often bathed in beautiful sun which brings out the hills and the medieval streets.
But, in the winter, the city takes on a cosy glow where the ambience, whisky, and food provide a true taste of Scottish charm.
You should also consider joining Edinburgh in one of its two biggest celebrations each year – New Year’s Eve and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. New Year’s Eve is astonishing in Edinburgh with a gigantic street party, raucous singing of Auld Lang Syne and the most beautiful fireworks display that lights up the castle and the city. It’s a magical time to visit and a huge amount of fun.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a slightly different affair and the largest cultural festival in the world. It boasts nearly 3000 performances of plays, stand-up comedy and shows across three weeks of lively street parties and fairs. There are events all day every day and an incredible atmosphere across the city.
Getting to Edinburgh is quite easy and not too expensive. You can fly from all UK airports for less than £50 return or take a sleeper train from London or the South. There are great accommodation options throughout the city with world class hotels. We’d recommend Edinburgh apartments for something more budget friendly or a house rental if you’re in a big group. Wherever you choose to stay Edinburgh will be an incredible holiday and a lot of fun.