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Scotland’s capital is a proud and independent city tucked between the North Sea and rolling hills. Edinburgh city breaks will take you to a one-of-a-kind city, boasting a spectacular medieval skyline, incredible natural surroundings and edgy entertainment in the form of the annual Fringe Festival. The narrow, cobbled alleyways of Old Town are just moments from New Town, a bustling hive of shops and restaurants. You can’t miss the iconic Edinburgh Castle, which is perched dramatically on top of an extinct volcano. Take a wonder down the historic Royal Mile, soak up the breathtaking views from Arthur’s Seat, and unwind with a walk down Portobello Beach
The climate is temperate, with small variations between the four seasons.
1 hour 20 minutes
Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) is 12km from the city centre
This compact, hilly city is small enough to explore on foot, and it’s surrounded by a wealth of glorious sights to see, too. Whether you’re a culture lover or a history buff, a family or a couple, you’re sure to fall in love with the Scottish capital.
Steeped in history, you’ll never have to wander far to discover stunning architecture in the city, whether you’re in the Old Town or the New Town. Towering high above the city, Edinburgh Castle is well worth a visit; it actually sits on top of an inactive volcano, and dates all the way back to the 12th century. Feeling more adventurous? It’s time to make the climb up to Calton Hill; you’ll be richly rewarded when you get there, with beautiful views down to the historic Royal Mile, which lies right in the heart of the Old Town.
Even on rainy days, weekend breaks here have plenty of offer. You could take a trip to the National Museum of Scotland, which has more than enough to keep the kids entertained. From discovering dinosaurs to Formula One cars and playing with indoor hot air balloons, there are hours of fun to be had here. For a fantastic photo opportunity, head to the roof terrace for the best views across the city.
It’s difficult to pick out things to do here without mentioning the famous Fringe Festival. Spanning over a month, the event welcomes over 50,000 performers from around the world. You can expect to see a wealth of inspiring creativity in the form of theatre, dance, and so much more. Make sure you stop by the famous comedy circuit, too, for lots of laughs and the chance to see some up-and-coming talent before they make it big.
The Scottish capital is world-famous for its incredible pub scene. Many pubs date back hundreds of years and are a real draw for visitors, as well as loyal locals. Head to the Port O’Leith for a warm welcome and a traditional vibe, as well as great pints and interesting memorabilia on the walls. If you’re more into fine-dining than pub grub, this city’s also home to a great choice of Michelin Star restaurants; it’ll make your Edinburgh city break one to remember.
Beyond the beautiful city, you’ll find the sights and sounds of the natural world within easy reach. For one thing, you can take a walk up to Arthur’s Seat; this is your chance to get up close with an inactive volcano. Head to the botanic gardens for a spot of peace and quiet. Here, you can discover over 15,000 species of rare and exotic plants. A home of conservation and research, the gardens are loved by visitors and locals alike; and entry is absolutely free.
Couples: City breaks here are just the perfect romantic escape for two. Walk hand-in-hand up Calton Hill and gaze over the city from the top, or make your way up to Arthur’s Seat to watch the sun go down. It’s absolute bliss.
Families: The Scottish capital isn’t just for adults; Edinburgh city breaks have plenty to offer the whole family. The little ones will love exploring the magical cobbled streets, and there’s lots to enjoy at the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions.
History buffs: Love a bit of history? You can get a real insight into the rich history inside Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, St Giles’ Cathedral and the Scott Monument. Around six miles outside the city, you can also discover Incoholm Abbey, a 12th-century abbey on an island in the Firth of Forth.
Currency: Pound (£).
Local time: GMT/UK time zone.
Fly: Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) is 12km from the city centre.
Flight time from London: 1 hour 20 minutes.
Alternative Transport: Take the train to Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, 4 hours 30 minutes from London.
Tourist information: Find out more before your city break at http://thisisedinburgh.com.
Temperature: 5-19 (°C)
Book your break in spring or autumn to see the city at its most beautiful, and see the natural attractions in all their glory. Temperatures typically hover in the low to mid-teens during these seasons.
Want slightly warmer weather? Then visit during summer, when you can enjoy highs of 19°C and up to 10 hours of sunshine a day. Temperatures drop to as low as 3°C in January, but the cool climate adds a wintry romance to this city’s medieval streets.
By foot: New Town and Old Town are nice and compact, so they’re best explored on foot. Just make sure you wear good shoes, and watch out for a few hilly and steep areas.
By bus: The hop-on/hop-off tourist buses stop at all the main sights. There’s also a public bus network to get you from A to B, just be aware that you’ll need to buy a bus pass.
By bicycle: If you want to see the city on two wheels, there are a few bicycle hire companies dotted around. You can also take a trip out to the nearby countryside, where you’ll find car-free cycle paths.
By taxi: Taxis are a common sight in the city centre and you can just hail them in the street. Giving a 10% tip is customary.
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: In August, military bands from across the Commonwealth gather to perform on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. Picture this: a musical spectacle of a thousand pipers, musicians, drummers and singers, followed by a spectacular fireworks display. The atmosphere is amazing, too.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe: ‘The Fringe’ is the world’s biggest performing arts festival. Throughout the month of August, hundreds of venues across the city showcase dance, music, theatre and comedy events, as acts descend upon the city from more than 50 countries. This should be on your bucket list.
New Year’s Eve: The Scottish capital sure knows how to party, and New Year celebrations are no exception. The giant Hogmanay Street Party is a real highlight, featuring all sorts of festivities from live music and DJs in Princes Street Gardens to outdoor ceilidh dancing. When the clock strikes midnight, there’s a huge firework show to see in the New Year.
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