Edinburgh

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Edinburgh 26-Oct - 05Jan Book Now
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In fact, Scotland’s capital is the second most popular tourist destination in the UK after London and is favoured by those with a particular interest in festivals and culture.

History

Founded before the 7th century BC, Edinburgh is one of the oldest cities in the UK. Dotted with medieval landmarks including Edinburgh Castle – which is over 1,000 years old – the city in Scotland’s southeast is a dream for history buffs and thrill seekers alike.

There are also some more modern attractions such as the National Gallery of Scotland, which was renovated in 2011, and the Museum of Scotland, which as its monstrous support columns suggest, displays a wide range of Roman-era artefacts. 

Entertainment

While the city’s museums and galleries are open all year round, many of Edinburgh’s most popular attractions are seasonal: during the summer, a catalogue of festivals attracts visitors from all over the globe. In fact, the city’s fringe festival, which spawned from the Edinburgh International Festival, has become the largest of its kind in the world. 

The main attraction in winter is Hogmanay. Held annually on New Year’s Eve, the city rings in the New Year with a bang. Live music, ice rinks and other attractions entertain the throngs gathered on the streets of the city centre.

Sports fans visiting the city should make Murrayfield – the 67,500-capacity home of Scottish rugby – their first priority. 

Getting around

Unlike in most major cities, Edinburgh Airport is located conveniently close to the city centre – just 12km to be precise. A taxi ride to the city will set you back about £18 while bus company AirLink charges just a third of that price (for a return ticket) to bring you to the heart of the action. Getting around once you’re there is also quite easy as the city is served by an efficient transport network of buses, taxis, trains and trams. However, the city and all its delights are best viewed on foot, especially for those who want to get a true sense of its cultured past. 

For those on a budget, here are five attractions that won’t infringe on your bank balance.

Five for free

  • 1 - Scottish Parliament

    While visiting Scotland’s capital, why not visit its Parliament? The building, informally known as Holyrood, is designed to serve as a tourist attraction as much as it is the centre of power.

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  • 2 - Scottish National Portrait Gallery

    Located on Queen Street in the city centre, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is home to over 60,000 pieces of art – mainly sculptures, photographs, paintings, prints and drawings. Among them are portraits of 16th century monarch Mary, Queen of Scots; poet, novelist and playwright, Walter Scott; and Robert Burns, an 18th century poet and lyricist.

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  • 3 - Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

    The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is home to all of Scotland’s modern art. The neoclassical building housing the gallery opened its doors in 1960 and contains works by English sculptor Rachel Whitehead, who is most famous for creating a complete concrete cast of the inside of a Victorian house, and Barbara Hepworth, who is credited with assisting in the development of modern art in the UK.

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  • 4 - Museum of Childhood

    An idea first conceived in Edinburgh, the Museum of Childhood is perfect for family trips or for adults who simply want to revisit days long gone. The museum showcases hundreds of toys from the 17th century to today.

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  • 5 - Arthur’s Seat

    While there are many galleries and museums to keep visitors entertained in the centre of Edinburgh, just outside the city limits lies Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano, which legend has it was the location of King Arthur’s Camelot castle.

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