Spotlight on Edinburgh
Whether you’re looking for a culture-fuelled minibreak, somewhere to shop until you drop, or a relaxing and romantic weekend away for two, Edinburgh is hard to beat. With its beautiful architecture, rich history and vibrant attractions, this Scottish capital city truly has something for everyone.
Some of the city’s best attractions can be found in the historic Old Town, which is studded with cosy cafes and eateries. It’s also home to Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. Perched high on a base of volcanic rock, Edinburgh Castle is probably Scotland’s most famous icon, dominating the city’s skyline for centuries as one of the oldest fortified places in Europe. Its long, rich history is peppered with tales of housing royal residents, surviving ancient sieges and safeguarding priceless artefacts.
Connecting Edinburgh Castle with the magnificent Palace of Holyrood, the Royal Mile, a processional route for kings and queens for over 500 years, runs through the heart of the Old Town, playing host to parliaments, churches and a vast array of visitor attractions. Must-see historical sites include St Giles’ Cathedral, the Museum of Edinburgh and The Real Mary King’s Close, a labyrinth of streets, homes and passageways hidden beneath the Royal Mile.
Visitors looking for a livelier city buzz will love the Grassmarket area, one of the most picturesque and vibrant parts of the city that’s equally historically significant. Formerly, a medieval market place and site of executions, today it’s home to some of the city’s most popular drinking spots, with traditional pub such as The Last Drop, offering a nod to its gruesome past. Many of the drinkeries here offer live music and acoustic performances, set to the stunning backdrop of the majestic castle, while its many restaurants provide outdoor seating and alfresco dining in the summer months.
Shoppers will also be impressed with the eclectic mix of independent shops offering a wealth of vintage clothes and accessories. For a more contemporary shopping experience, Edinburgh’s New Town is one of the city’s most striking neighbourhoods and boasts UNESCO World Heritage site status. Considered by many to be a feat of architectural genius, it is the largest complete example of town planning from the Georgian period anywhere in the world. Wide boulevards and symmetrical streets provide an elegant nod to the 18th century, while its manicured gardens and green open spaces, including Charlotte Square and Princes Street Gardens, offer a more relaxed city amble. Here, you’ll also find some of the city’s trendiest boutiques alongside more well-known names, while George Street is the place to head for drinking and dancing when the sun goes down.
“Whether you’re looking for a culture-fuelled minibreak, somewhere to shop until you drop, or a relaxing and romantic weekend away for two, Edinburgh is hard to beat. With its beautiful architecture, rich history and vibrant attractions, this Scottish capital city truly has something for everyone.”
If you’re keen to lace up your hiking boots and enjoy a more energetic Edinburgh experience, Holyrood Park is a must. Its dramatic hills and crags form the backdrop of the city’s skyline, while its history and archaeology go back for thousands of years. Just a short walk from the Royal Mile, the park boasts 640 acres and numerous walking trails and sits adjacent to Holyrood Palace. Keen ramblers can trek to its highest point, Arthurs’s Seat, which is the remains of a volcano. Here, active efforts will be rewarded with stunning 360-degree views of the city. The park also houses Iron Age forts, Bronze Age agricultural terraces and St Anthony’s Chapel, a picturesque mediaeval ruin.
Whenever the season, and whatever the reason, Edinburgh will surprise and delight in equal measure.