travel in Edinburgh?
Stern, grey 15thC buildings sit
on an extinct volcano, lighting a fire under the colourful and sophisticated locals
and inspiring a dynamic arts scene that makes this city well worth a trip.
The weather can be dreadful and some areas are a no-no, but summer
time, with up to 18 hours of daylight is sensational, especially
during August's Edinburgh Festival or Hogmany (New Year's Eve).
Best weather: May-September. Summer temperatures are never excessive, with highs of 25C and lows of 10C. Hope for sunshine but don't assume it.
Avoid: Winter time, when it's chilly (tho' rarely much below freezing), grey and daylight is in short
supply, and August if your aim isn't the Festival (finding accommodation
will be a nightmare at that time).
Full-on party people might want to join the madness of the original New Year's Eve celebrations,
Hogmanay, at the end of December.
Current Edinburgh temperature and time.
Things to Do
This is a very walkable/bikeable city with terrific sights all along the Old Town's core,
such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile (a long medieval street),
St. Giles Cathedral, John Knox House, Holyrood Palace,
Holyrood Park and Scott's Monument.
Edinburgh's New Town offers less in the way of must-see tourist attractions but the 18th century environment does a great
line in must-buy shops, big and small.
Golfers should try the hilarious Bruntsfield links just south of the Old Town and beside The Meadows, or one of many 'proper' courses nearby, or get
serious and head for St Andrews.
The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, sodden and aromatic, awaits those
that love a drop of the hard stuff.
12thC Haddington, Linlithgow, the Borders, Trossachs, and St.
Andrews for a game of golf.
- Early August for the whole month, International Edinburgh Festival (formal arts events, music, theatre, opera etc),
and the loony Fringe Festival, (a massive, world beating celebration of all aspects
of the arts, trad to mad) with acts from all over the world. Don't
miss it but book your accommodation as soon as possible. Edinburgh
International Festival | Edinburgh
- Late December is Hogmanay, a couple of weeks (yes, it's bigger than Christmas!) of live music, markets, activities and wild street parties
that few nations can equal. Note that New Year's Eve street party is massive and roped off so you'll need a ticket! More information
Crap Days Out from the Telegraph newspaper
Quote: New Year's Eve sees Edinburgh turned into a giant internment camp surrounded by barricades and armed police who have been drinking. And the council actually charges you to enter it. It's also freezing. Despite this, thousands of unsuspecting English, American and Antipodean tourists flock to the city on 31 December each year believing that the 'atmosphere' will keep them warm. Actually, it is the 'atmosphere' that makes you cold. Unquote.
some precise dates or more information see: European
Festivals or Arts
Museums & Galleries: The freshly renovated National Museum of Scotland is now a spectacular and dramatic display space (and so it should be at a cost of £47 million!) full of strange artifacts and wonderful exhibits.
Other worthwhile visits could be to the Royal
Scottish Academy; National Gallery of Scotland; Scottish National
Gallery of Modern Art; Scottish National Portrait Gallery; The Writer's
Museum(Lady Stair's House).
Classical Music: Queen's Hall, Reid Concert Hall, St. Cecilia's
Hall, Usher Hall.
Dance/Opera: Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Kings Theatre, Playhouse.
Theatre: Assembly Rooms, Festival Theatre, Traverse Theatre,
Gilded Balloon Theatre, Pleasance Theatre.
Live Music & Clubs: Café Graffiti, Canon's Gait,
Cas Rock, Kulu's Jaz Joint.
Check' The List' magazine or the 'Evening News' for event info/listings.
Tickets can be bought from the venues or Tourist office.
Hotels in the UK generally are expensive and Edinburgh is no exception.
However, both Scots and emigré English offer great deals on stylish B'n'Bs and guest houses in inner suburbs of the city, in other words within easy walking distance of main attractions. There are also a fair number of luxury apartments in Edinburgh for rent of course.
We stayed in a charming Bed and Breakfast run by an English couple beside the strange little Bruntsfield golf links (see on map below). Strange because the links is not only reputed to be the oldest in the world (older than St Andrews) but hires clubs and balls to anyone and is surrounded by little Georgian terraces or apartments. So not only would a golf ball occasionally pay a sudden visit through a window, but locals walked their dogs through the links and the dogs would frequently rush off and steal balls. It was a hoot, mon.
Edinburgh offers plenty of fine, varied and reasonably priced restaurants foods in various areas including the centre, West End Eat and the city's port, Leith.
The Grassmarket area has some good restaurants, bars
and clubs, but beware the tourist traps and stag party hang-outs.
For budget eating try the frequently excellent pub food in pedestrianised Rose St, parallel to Princes St.
Finally don't forget to try
city's deep-fried delights from a chippy, such as fish 'n' chips and the less obvious deep-fried pies, pizzas, haggis and Mars bars.
Edinburgh Map | Scotland
Map | Map
Smart department stores: Princes Street, Waverley Market
Tourist shops: The Royal Mile towards the castle and Grassmarket.
Wacky: Cockburn Street offers bohemian, alternative goodies and treatments while Victoria Street leading into Grassmarket has a good number of interesting little shops.
Pictures | Scotland Pictures | Scotland Guide