Edinburgh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. It is the capital of Scotland and home to many tourist attractions. A visit here will be well worth it considering the numerous things you can do and see. Most of the structures in the Old Town have remained in their original form over the years. Charming medieval relics are plenty in this section of the city. In contrast, orderly Georgian terraces line the streets of the New Town. The general urban scenery is a blend of ancient structures and modern architecture, which gives the Edinburgh a unique character. In 1995, the Old Town was listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
With year round festivals, a throbbing nightlife and an entertaining arts scene, Edinburgh never falls short of interesting travel ventures for tourists. For those planning to visit the ‘City of Literature’, here is an overview of popular attractions and useful information about accommodation options.
Popular Festivals, Attractions, and Things to do in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a beautiful city filled with stunning geology. Its diverse landscape is worth seeing, as it transforms from the volcanic Pentland Hills in the south, to the seaside resort of Portobello in the East. To get a birds-eye view of the city, you can scale Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, which is one of the most popular attractions.
The imposing Edinburgh Castle is one of the iconic landmarks worth witnessing. This fortress is perched on one of the highest hills in the city and is famous for having been kept in good condition for more than 1000 years. Soak up more history and culture by visiting Craigmillar Castle ruins or one of the many art galleries and museums.
Other places of interest include:
Calton Hill, home to Edinburgh’s most prominent monuments
Scotch Whisky Experience, a guided tour explaining the distillation process of making this whisky;
Royal Mile, one of the oldest parts of the city with a road that starts nearby Edinburgh Castle and winds down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Children’s attractions are also available and they include Edinburgh Zoo, Deep Sea World, the Georgie City Farm, and Laserquest. Edinburgh is home to many theaters, where art lovers flock to witness on stage performances such as plays, operas, music concerts, and cabarets.
There are many other nearby sections of Scotland worth visiting, including East Lothian, Stirling, Glasgow, Fife, the Borders and North of Edinburgh, all providing an endless list of things to see and do. Popular International festivals take place all year round such as Edinburgh Book Festival, the International Film Festival, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh International Festival, and much more. Most of the major festivals take place during the summer season.
Where to Sleep
Edinburgh offers a plethora of hotels within the city center. Finding a parking space in this central business district can be challenging though, so visitors should book hotels that offer parking space to avoid any problems. The suburbs in Newington, Tollcross, and Bruntsfield are a little less crowded. Mid-range hotels abound in the Old Town, especially around Cowgate and Hunter Square. St. Mary’s Street has plenty of accommodation options, ranging from award winning bed & breakfasts, 5 star hotels, and impressive townhouse villas, to hostels and affordable travel lodges in the south. If you want to stay in a home away from home, consider booking a self-catered apartment. Keep in mind that it may be difficult to get accommodation during August Festivals and New Year’s Hogmanay celebrations, as most hotels are usually fully booked. If you intend to visit then, make reservations months in advance.