Find detailed information and ideas on the perfect break in Edinburgh and the Lothians from accommodation to travel, exciting attractions and itineraries Find information on what's on in Edinburgh, its festivals, what you can do in the city & the Edinburgh region, visitor attractions & accommodation. Visiting Edinburgh. Suggested city-based recreational activities. Photo showing bagpipers. August is a wonderful time to visit the historic city of Edinburgh. From the skyline dominated by Edinburgh Castle to exploring modern day arts venues in Leith and the Old Town, Edinburgh is the perfect place for a holiday. Information to help you plan your trip to Edinburgh and Scotland. Edinburgh's history, Edinburgh attractions, Edinburgh restaurants, shopping in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is Scotland's beautiful capital, known throughout the world as the Festival City. Visitors come to Edinburgh every year to experience the eight summer festivals.
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Edinburgh | Princes Street West

Visiting Edinburgh

Scotland's enchanting capital Edinburgh is a city of striking contrasts, where centuries of history and culture meet a thriving, international festival city and breathtaking landscapes wherever you turn. Perched dramatically on an extinct volcano, the world-famous Edinburgh Castle is visible from almost any point in the city, a constant reminder of Edinburgh's long and fascinating history. As you explore the city's striking architecture, tranquil green spaces and exciting attractions, you will soon understand how so many authors and poets have been inspired to create iconic characters like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Sherlock Holmes and most recently Harry Potter.

 

Edinburgh is a multi-award-winning, world-class tourist destination. A must-see cultural capital. From stunning skylines to sandy beaches, festivals to fireworks – the city has something for everyone, day and night. A modern day Jekyll and Hyde, the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, split between the medieval Old Town and the Georgian splendour of the New Town.  But Edinburgh isn't living in the past - it's a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, boasting an exceptional blend of contemporary pubs and bars, restaurants, specialist retailers and leading tourist attractions.  Days can be spent exploring the city's medieval alleyways and glorious architecture – not least the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, dramatically perched on an extinct volcano, high above the city centre.  Nights out in Edinburgh provide an opportunity to discover what makes the city tick amidst the bustling bars, clubs and lively street scenes. Edinburgh is renowned the world over for its year-round festivals. During the Summer and Winter festivals the city's streets throng with visitors from around the world. For international visitors, Edinburgh is the second favourite UK city for tourism after London thanks to its ideal mix of shopping, entertainment, culture and history. Much more than just a city break destination, Edinburgh is also the visitors' gateway to Scotland. It's little wonder then that the city constantly receives accolades from around the globe. Travel magazine Wanderlust named Edinburgh as of the world's top ten cities, while at the Trip Advisor Destination Awards named Edinburgh as the top UK destination and ranked it in the top 25 worldwide.

The City

Edinburgh is a compact city, easily explored on foot. Set on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since 1492.

The city with its seven hills is of course characterised by Edinburgh Castle which is Scotland's most popular tourist attraction. The world-famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place at the entrance to the Castle Esplanade for three weeks in August during the summer festivals every year, while colourful fireworks displays are set off from the ramparts at Hogmanay.

The city's most important and historic promenade, The Royal Mile, also starts from here. The street goes right through the Old Town and ends at The Palace of Holyroodhouse, once the home of Mary Queen of Scots and now the British Royal Family's offcial Scottish residence.

Either side of this famous street, unique combination of the cobbled streets and dark, narrow wynds of the Old Town and the elegant Georgian grandeur of the neoclassic New Town have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Do & See

Tourist Attractions

From family days out to cultural pursuits, Edinburgh has a wealth of attractions to satisfy the most discerning visitor, including eight of Scotland's most visited 20 free attractions and nine of the top 20 paid-for attractions.

The city's backdrop of Arthur's Seat, the Pentland Hills and Edinburgh's Waterfront make the city a unique visitor destination. In just one day you can explore the city's exciting new waterfront development, wander the cosmopolitan streets of the Port of Leith visiting its many restaurants and bars, take a cruise on the River Forth and explore the rugged terrain of the volcanic Arthur's Seat.

Whatever your budget or shopping preference, Edinburgh City Region has something for everyone. Shop for antiques in the districts of Edinburgh - Bruntsfield, Morningside or Southside have a variety of retailers from whom you can purchase bespoke gifts and keepsakes. There are also the independent retailers of Stockbridge and the city's Old Town, Victoria Street and William Street to browse. Sample delicious local food at the weekly Farmers Market on Castle Terrace or peruse the latest designer fashion on Multrees Walk and George Street and enjoy the views of the castle whilst exploring the high street stores on Princes Street.

The Inspiring Capital has more leisure facilities and services per head of population than any other regional city in Scotland, England or Wales. The range and quality of activities, including theatres, galleries and museums, shops, restaurants, monuments, sporting facilities, beaches, hills and countryside are key to Edinburgh's international reputation.

Edinburgh's major attractions

With paid admission

1. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
2. Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh
3. Edinburgh Bus Tours, Edinburgh
4. Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
5. Edinburgh Dungeons
6. Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh
7. Deep Sea World, North Queensferry.

With free admission:

7. Royal Museum and Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
8. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh
9. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
10. National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh (Located within Edinburgh Castle).

Other attractions across Edinburgh City Region include

Paid admission:

  • Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin
  • Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick.
  • Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh
  • Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow.
  • Bass Rock (The Scottish Seabird Centre), North Berwick
  • National Museum of Flight (The Concorde Experience), Drem (near North Berwick)
  • Tantallon Castle, near North Berwick
  • Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
  • Falkirk Wheel, Falkirk
  • Stirling Castle, Stirling.

Edinburgh Castle

Towering majestically over the city, the iconic castle will fascinate you with its mix of Royal palace, historic fortress and war museum. See the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and medieval siege gun Mons Meg before admiring the view across Edinburgh.

Address: Castlehill

Phone: +44 131 225 9846

Internet: www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk

Rosslyn Chapel

For a mysterious journey through myth and legend, visit Rosslyn Chapel, featured prominently in Dan Brown's international bestseller The Da Vinci Code. Hear the intriguing tales behind Rosslyn's beautiful and ornate carvings before taking a peaceful walk in Roslin Glen.

Address: Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin

Phone: +44 131 440 2159

Internet: www.rosslyn-chapel.com

The Scotch Whisky Experience

Uncover the secrets of Scotland's national drink at the Scotch Whisky Experience. Take a unique tour through a replica distillery in their Whisky Barrel Ride before learning more about the whisky regions of Scotland and enjoying a dram as you marvel at the world's largest collection of Scotch whisky.

Address: 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile

Phone: +44 131 220 0441

Internet: www.whisky-heritage.co.uk

Royal Yacht Britannia

Explore a fantastic floating museum and follow in the footsteps of royalty at the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh's historic port of Leith. With your own audio tour you can gain a glimpse into the life of the British Royal Family before enjoying tea in the Royal Deck Tea Room.

Address: Ocean Terminal, Leith

Phone: +44 131 555 5566

Internet: www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

Edinburgh Dungeons

The Edinburgh Dungeon brings together an amazing cast of theatrical actors, special effects, stages, scenes and a ride in a truly unique and exciting walkthrough experience that you see, hear, touch, smell and feel. It’s hilarious fun and it’s sometimes a bit scary.

Address: 31 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF

Phone: +44 871 423 2250

Internet: www.thedungeons.com/edinburgh 

Edinburgh tours - literature, history, ghosts and ghouls

To really get to know Edinburgh, try one of the excellent bus and walking tours available. Try a terrifying ghost tour to hear tales of the city's dark history, or discover the Edinburgh that inspired renowned writers such as Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ian Rankin and JK Rowling.

Internet: www.mercattours.com

www.edinburghtour.com

www.edinburghbookloverstour.com

Sleeping

Edinburgh has a wide range of accommodation from five star hotels to budget hostels and everything in between. There is accommodation available to suit all budgets, from bed and breakfast to guesthouse and cheap hostels to boutique hotels in Edinburgh. You can also find serviced apartments and short term lets, but these will generally be a little further out from the main centre. You will generally find the cheapest prices and hotel deals in the winter period and pay the most in August at the peak of the festival season, when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the International Festival are on. It is advised to book as early as possible to get the best hotel deals. The city centre in Edinburgh has two parts the New Town and the Old Town, either area is ideal for shopping, dining and visiting the tourist attractions in Edinburgh, you should try and get close to the Waverley Train Station which is located on Princes Street and which sits between the New Town and the Old Town and near the transport links into and around Edinburgh.

Eating

Edinburgh is the perfect city to dine out in style, with a spectacular variety of restaurants serving up mouth-watering cuisine in atmospheric surroundings.

Whether you are looking for Michelin-starred dining, hearty Scottish fare or food from around the globe with a uniquely Scottish twist, you'll find delicious dishes to suit every taste and every budget.

Visit Scotland's food and drink website, www.EatScotland.com , for restaurant listings, food and drink events and more.

Mussel Inn

Located right in the heart of the city, the Mussel Inn is another from favourite with locals and visitors alike, who adore their simply-prepared seafood and fish dishes, made using only the freshest catches from Scottish seas.

Address: 61-65 Rose Street

Phone: +44 131 225 5979

Internet: www.mussel-inn.com

Chaophraya

This latest addition of Chaophraya restaurants, showcases a rooftop restaurant with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle. Chaophraya Thai restaurant brings flavour to George Street presenting a fusion of delicious authentic cuisine, luxurious surroundings and a sensational drinks menu.

Address: 4th Floor 33 Castle Street

Phone: +44 131 226 7614

Internet: www.chaophraya.co.uk

Henderson's

This cosy basement restaurant is a real Edinburgh institution. Savour delicious, wholesome vegetarian dishes as you enjoy evening performances from local musicians.

Or, if you have a busy day of exploring ahead, visit their popular deli upstairs for a tasty, nutritious lunch ‘to go'.

Address: 94 Hanover Street

Phone: +44 131 225 2131

Internet: www.hendersonsofedinburgh.co.uk

Restaurant Martin Wishart

Treat yourself to exquisite French cuisine using the finest Scottish produce at the elegant, Michelin-starred Restaurant Martin Wishart, overlooking the Water of Leith.

Address: 54 The Shore

Phone: +44 131 553 3557

Internet: www.martin-wishart.co.uk

Mya Restaurant

Tempt your taste buds with sumptuous Indian and Thai food cooked to perfection at Mya Restaurant, situated in Edinburgh's fashionable Commercial Quay.

Address: 92 Commercial Street

Phone: +44 131 554 4000

Internet: www.myarestaurant.co.uk

The Witchery by the Castle

For a classic yet imaginative menu featuring the very best of Scottish produce in a historic 16th century building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, look no further than this award-winning The Witchery by the Castle.

Address: Castlehill, The Royal Mile

Phone: +44 131 225 5613

Internet: www.thewitchery.com

Food Trails

The Scotch Malt Whisky Trail

Follow the world-famous Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside to seven working distilleries, including a fascinating cooperage and a historic distillery. From Benromach to Dallas Dhu, a perfect time capsule of whisky-making; from Glen Moray to Strathisla, home and heart of Chivas Regal; from the Glen Grant distillery to the Speyside Cooperage where real coopers work with incredible speed and skill; from Glenfiddich to The Glenlivet and the Cardhu distillery, Scotland's whisky trail signposts lead you through the picturesque lush countryside of Speyside.

www.maltwhiskytrail.com

The Scottish Seafood Trail

From the freshest of crab rolls served with a squeeze of lemon and some home-made mayonnaise, to Michelin rated menus that feature a wide range of timestakingly prepared dishes, visitors to the Seafood Trail are assured a warm welcome and an eating experience that values freshness and flair above all else. As well as the delicious fresh seafood, the trail also takes visitors through some of the most stunning coastal scenery in Scotland.

www.theseafoodtrail.com

Isle of Arran Taste Trail

Arran is famous for Viking raiders, Brodick Castle and its connections with Robert the Bruce. However, Arran is also noted for its fine Scottish gourmet food. As you will find, the Isle of Arran offers many traditional Scottish ingredients such as excellent Scottish seafood like Lobster, Scottish Beef, Venison, Lamb, Pheasant, Grouse, Duck, Trout and Salmon, with its Restaurants and Hotels preparing these ingredients for both traditional Scottish cooking and modern recipes. The trail allows you to visit local producers and restaurants serving the very best local food.

www.tastetrail.com

Outer Hebrides Food Trail

This trail takes in 20 different foody sites across the islands of Lewis, North Uist, South Uist Benbecula and Barra. Western Isles specialities like award-winning smoked fish and Stornoway black pudding are a must but also check out local breweries, fresh-as-it-comes shellfish and sweety makers.

www.outerhebridesfoodtrail.com

Dumfries & Galloway Food Trail

The exceptional quality of food & drink produced in South West Scotland means Dumfries and Galloway is becoming as famous for its food and drink as for its stunning scenery and friendly people. In addition to Castle Douglas' status as a ‘Food Town', this trail takes in local smokehouses, organic farms, distilleries, traditional bakers and local apiaries.

Scotland's Real Ale Trail

Visitors on the trail will get the opportunity to tour some of Scotland's world-famous breweries to learn more about Scottish real ales and, of course, sample a tasty tipple. The trail links 23 breweries across Scotland from the Hebridean Brewing Company to Traquair House Brewery in Southern Scotland to The Orkney Brewery in the North.

Whisky Coast

For centuries whisky and the west coast of Scotland have been synonymous. Now, Whisky Coast blends incredible Scottish scenery with the best single malt whisky for a truly unforgettable holiday experience. Fifteen distilleries mainly specialising in smokier, peatier blends which this area of Scotland (taking in the famous whisky island of Islay) is renowned for.

www.whiskycoast.co.uk

Cafes

Best-selling author JK Rowling gained inspiration for her magical Harry Potter novels as she sipped coffee in cafes such as the Elephant House, and you will soon see why when you stop for a bite to eat in Edinburgh's cosy cafes.

Elephant House

This much-loved Edinburgh institution is decorated with over 600 elephants in all shapes and sizes as well as serving coffee and tea from all corners of the earth. Take a seat in the back room to enjoy a magical view of Edinburgh Castle.

Address: 21 George IV Bridge

Phone: +44 131 220 5355

Internet: www.elephanthouse.biz

Mimi´s Bakehouse

For Mimi, baking is an art form, and she loves to experiment and come up with exciting new recipes. An example of this inventive joy is the chocolate beetroot cake.

Address: 63 Shore

Phone: +44 131 555 5908

Internet: www.mimisbakehouse.com

Eteaket

This quirky tea boutique in Edinburgh's classy New Town is the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea and cake.

Choose from their extensive range of teas, sourced responsibly from around the world.

Address: 41 Frederick Street

Phone: +44 131 226 2982

Internet: www.eteaket.co.uk

Two Thin Laddies

The Two Thin Laddies easily catch your eye with their brightly painted yellow walls. This place is extra popular on the weekends, when people storm the place for a hearty breakfast, or brunch, if it's di?cult to get out of bed.

Address: 103 High Riggs

Phone: +44 131 229 0653

Loopy Lorna´s Tea House

"You can't beat a nice cup of tea"!

This café aims to make you feel at home, surrounded by the sweet scent of hot-baked scones stright from the oven. Quality loose leaf teas and cakes made from family and traditional recipes are a few of the things that will make you want to come back for more.

Address: 370-372 Morningside Road

Phone: +44 131 447 9217

Internet: www.loopylornas.com

Bars & Nightlife

From traditional pubs offering real ales and leafy beer gardens to upmarket cocktail bars, Edinburgh's bars and pubs are second to none. This thriving, modern capital city is also renowned for its nightlife, so whether you're looking for top comedy, a traditional ceilidh or an unforgettable club night, you are sure to find it here.

On any given night there's enough happening to fill the event calendars of other major cities for a year, especially during the summer festival season. An extensive programme of year round events incorporates live performance, street theatre, playwrights, musicals, international opera and ballet productions and classical drama.

From comedy revues to ceilidhs (a traditional Scottish dance), modern dance to mainstream club nights, the city has something for everyone.

Take an evening ghost tour through the streets of Edinburgh's Old Town. Explore the city's historic underground vaults by candlelight and see the unaltered conditions in which people once lived and worked.

Sample Edinburgh's award-winning restaurants. The city has more eateries per head than any UK city and a wide range of cosmopolitan and traditional bars.

Settle into an oak-panelled booth in a traditional Victorian pub in Rose Street or Stockbridge, savour classic cocktails in the city's many modern bars or retire to a gastropub for the evening.

The Bongo Club

A real institution in Edinburgh's music scene, this cult nightclub and live music venue specialises in offbeat club nights and showcasing new talent.

Address: 37 Holyrood Road

Phone: +44 131 558 7604

Internet: www.thebongoclub.co.uk

Ghillie Dhu

For a truly Scottish experience, treat yourself to dinner and a pint before enjoying a lively ceilidh at this traditional yet strikingly modern Scottish pub and live entertainment venue.

Address: 2 Rutland Place

Phone: +44 131 222 9930

Internet: www.ghillie-dhu.co.uk

The Stand

Stand-up comedy fans will love this relaxed basement venue, the best place in town to see local, national and international comedians.

Address: 5 York Place

Phone: +44 131 558 7272

Internet: www.thestand.co.uk

The Jolly Judge

Nestled snugly in an historic Old Town close, the Jolly Judge offers a relaxed atmosphere, a great range of malt whiskies and real ales and a warm welcome to all.

Address: 7 James Court

Phone: +44 131 225 2669

Internet: www.jollyjudge.co.uk

The Sheep Heid Inn

Located just outside Edinburgh at the foot of Arthur's Seat, this traditional pub is Scotland's oldest surviving public house, established in 1360. Make sure you try out their famous skittle alley!

Address: 43-45 The Causeway

Phone: +44 131 661 7974

Internet: www.sheepheid.co.uk

More Info: Located in Duddingston.

The Caves

This unique venue is made up of a series of vaults steeped in history, and has built up an enviable reputation with its club nights and intimate music gigs.

Address: 8-12 Niddry Street South

Phone: +44 131 557 8989

Internet: www.thecavesedinburgh.com

Shopping

Edinburgh is the perfect place to indulge in some serious retail therapy and pick up memorable gifts for family and friends - and as the city is so compact, you'll ?nd it easy to explore on foot and take in your spectacular surroundings.

If you are looking for mementos and traditional Scottish souvenirs, head to the cobbled streets of the Old Town - the Royal Mile is packed with shops selling Scottish specialities such as luxuriously soft cashmere, kilts, bagpipes and whisky.

Close to the Royal Mile, explore the attractive Victoria Street, where brightly-coloured shops contain a treasure trove of shopping delights. Pick up artisan cheeses, cutting edge fashions and authentically Scottish designs.

More quirky boutiques can be found in areas such as Stockbridge or the West End.

Classy George Street is the place to go for designer labels, while high-end couture such as Louis Vuitton and Versace can be found on the prestigious Multrees Walk or in luxury shop Harvey Nichols. Nearby, Jenners department store is a real Edinburgh institution offering ranges available nowhere else in Scotland in a grand Victorian building.

Essential Information

Airport

Edinburgh Airport is only 11km west of the city, but it will take nearly 25-30 minutes to get to the city regardless of whether you go by bus, taxi or hire car.

The Airlink express bus no. 100 costs £3.50 single and £6 return. It departs every 30 minutes in the evening and at night, but every 10 minutes during the day.

Taxi prices to and from the airport vary and many of the vehicles are adapted for disabled people. Cars can be hired 24 hours and are easy to book in advance via the airport website.

Internet: www.edinburghairport.com

Public Transport

There are a number of bus companies, of which the largest are First Edinburgh and Lothian Buses which you can use to get around town or explore the surrounding coast and countryside. As Edinburgh is a small and fairly compact city, most destinations in the city are within walking distance.

Lothian Buses - Internet: www.lothianbuses.com/index.php

First Edinburgh - Internet:

www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/scotland_east/

Taxi

Unoccupied taxis have an illuminated light on the roof.

Many companies offer a callback service, which means that the taxi company calls and by giving two rings notices you that the taxi is waiting.

City Cabs: +44 131 228 1211

Central Radio Taxis: +44 131 229 2468

Post

The post office in central Edinburgh is in St. James Centre at the east end of Princes Street.

Address: 8-10 St James Centre

Opening hours: Mon-Sat from 09.00 to 17.30

Phone: +44 845 722 3344

Pharmacy

Visit the NHS24 website at www.nhs24.com or call +44 8454 24 24 24 to find details of your nearest services including pharmacies, dentists, GP (doctors) surgeries and hospitals.

Electricity

240 Volt, three-pin socket, adapter needed.

Telephone

Country code: +44

Area code: 0131