The capital city of Scotland has a lot to offer visitors and it’s a natural attraction at any time of the year. It’s culture and history make holidays in Edinburgh a great family choice, but there are plenty of fun activities to try as well. Parts of the city hold the coveted title of UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it’s likely that most visitors to Edinburgh will know little about its status. The city is situated, as all good major cities are, at a coastline, and in the case of Edinburgh, it’s the First of Forth, a body of water that lies to its north and drains into the North Sea. The city has a dramatic skyline, dominated by two extinct volcanoes. Arthur’s Seat, on the periphery of the main centre, is the largest and may have been named after the legendary King Arthur who was reported to have visited Edinburgh on his travels. The other volcano is the much better known Castle Rock, that craggy protrusion upon which sits Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh has a vivacious heart, and its people are friendly an inviting. From the shopping on famous Princes Street, to pub crawls down Rose Street, theatre evenings, month long festivals, and the world famous Edinburgh Tattoo, there’s no place like Scotland’s capital city.
There’s an impressive selection of hotels in Edinburgh, and 5 star hotels, old converted townhouses, luxurious modern constructions, and country estates all lie not too far from the centre of this unique conurbation. Whether you’re travelling to Edinburgh for a romantic weekend, a few days of sporting activity or just to indulge in some retail therapy in Scotland’s capital, the choice of where to relax is commanding. We’ve visited a few of the best, and if you’d like our recommendations, check out our Where to Stay guide to Edinburgh.
Restaurants in Edinburgh can be found on nearly every street around the centres, and even if you spent a year here you probably wouldn’t manage to get round all the eateries. And because Edinburgh is such a multicultural city, it’s no surprise there’s an abundant choice of cuisines on offer here; Mexican, Spanish, French, Italian, and more. Upmarket, modern cuisine to good old-fashioned home-style cooking. And of course, there’s plenty of traditional Scottish fare to tempt you as well. We’ve checked out some of the best restaurants, the ones that use the best ingredients and create the most delightful dishes, and you can have a look at some of them on our Where to Eat in Edinburgh pages here.
Edinburgh is a hotbed of culture and a Mecca for the shopping-mad. And you can find enough to interest you in the few streets surrounding the city’s popular centre that you don’t need to walk for miles to discover its secrets. The iconic Edinburgh Royal Mile, that infamous cobbled street that bisects the shops leading up to the Castle, is a souvenir hunter’s dream, with everything from cheesy T-shirts to luxury boutique pieces lining the way. The Edinburgh Dungeons are a must for visitors, and history buffs really shouldn’t miss one of the guided tours in the castle. Art galleries, concert halls, the Lyceum Theatre and so on, all vie for your attention. If you need some suggestions, check out our Activities page to see our favourite things to do in Edinburgh.
Transport in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is an easy city to navigate. There has been much talk over recent years about introducing a tram system to its centre, but so far that’s failed to materialise. No matter, because there is still an excellent bus network to get you around. And with most of the attractions and facilities in the heart of Edinburgh, a day or two spent here won’t see you needing to plot any complex travelling arrangements.
Getting to Edinburgh is as easy as flying from most major airports, and with the airport not far outside the city centre, a short bus ride will have you quickly in the capital. Trains are also excellent, and the east coast line runs directly from Edinburgh to London in only a matter of hours. The Waverly Station, which is the Edinburgh Terminus, is an iconic building that was first built in the 1800’s. Waverly also houses Princes Mall, a high-end shopping precinct that’s an ideal spot for some pre-travel purchasing.
Weather in Edinburgh
As with most of Scotland, the weather in Edinburgh can be largely unpredictable and rain never seems to be far away. The one benefit to Edinburgh is its proximity to the borders and the east coast, both factors allowing for milder weather than the mountainous north western regions.