Discover Edinburgh & The Lothians
Top Tips for Edinburgh
Plan your visit - Edinburgh is a city crammed full of things to see and do! So to make sure you don't miss anything out make sure you have a plan of action for your stay here. We've detailed some of the highlights below to make this a little easier for you, but we recommend doing your own research too as there are so many hidden little corners of this ancient city it is impossible to list everything!
Climb up Arthur's Seat - Ok, so being a walking holiday operator, we simply could not miss listing this one! And quite often it may be missed off a first time visit to Edinburgh, but this is one of the best places in Edinburgh for amazing views of the city and surrounding countryside. Sitting 250m above sea level, Arthur's Seat is actually part of an ancient volcanic plug. The climb itself is steep but relatively short and will take around 2-3 hours to get up and back down again.
Get lost in the Old Town - The Old Town is picture postcard Edinburgh, filled with cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and ancient buildings, with the Royal Mile at its beating heart. Make sure you take a wander down curving Victoria Street, lined with its pretty colourful shops to the Grassmarket, another must-see part of Edinburgh. This former marketplace for cattle and horses bristles with life and is also home to the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a very famous and loyal little dog in Scotland. Once you are tired out of walking round here make sure you have a refreshment in one of the cities bustling old pubs such where live music and atmosphere are guaranteed.
Edinburgh Castle - This one is rather obvious but no trip to Edinburgh is complete without a trip to the Castle! It is worth booking tickets in advance to avoid the queues and you should aim to be there for 1pm to hear the famous 1 o'clock gun, a tradition which dates back to the 19th century. The castle itself is home to Scotland's Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and the National War Museum of Scotland. You can easily spend a good 2-3 hours here alone.
Mary King's Close - A bit of a spooky one, Mary King's Close is a warren of narrow streets hidden underneath the Old Town named after a affluent merchant who lived in the streets in the 17th century. Home to people from all walk's of life, it did fall victim to the Plague and has a rather dark and gory history. If you are brave enough, a guided tour around here is one you won't easily forget!
Leith Shore and Walkway - The original port area of Leith, this part of town has been completely re-generated in recent years and is now packed with elegant bars, restaurants and galleries. Leith Walk which is a mile long will take you from Princes Street in the New Town to Leith Shore, where you will also find the Royal Yacht Brittania berthed. Offering a completely different atmosphere to the bustling Old Town, Leith offers a nice escape from the city centre.
Essential Edinburgh Facts
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival - is the biggest arts festival in the world. The population doubles in size every August and people come from all over the world to experience it! It's one of those bucket list things to do in life but please be warned - if you plan to visit during this time, it will be busy and accommodation is at a premium!
Green Edinburgh - Edinburgh is the UK's greenest city with nearly 50% green space dedicated to parks and open space (there are approx 112 parks in Edinburgh!)
Harry Potter - J.K Rowling penned her now infamous series of books (later turned into movies) whilst living in Edinburgh, as she sat with coffee and cake at the Elephant House Cafe. And colorful Victoria Street is said to be the inspiration for the magical Diagon Alley.
Auld Reekie - Many of you may wonder (especially if you are not Scottish!) what on earth the cities nickname refers to. Many believe that it originates from the smell of the city back when it was overcrowded but in fact it comes from the name "Old Smokey" which the city was referred to as back when the coal trains going in and out of the city covered it in thick smoke.
The correct pronunciation - whilst many people refer to Edinburgh as Edin-burg you should actually roll your tongue and pronounce the burgh part more like borough - or as many Scots refer to it as - Edin-bruh!