Edinburgh is the capitol city of Scotland and is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. It is a unique city with a blend of old and new architecture and like much of Scotland is steeped in History. The following guide is a list of suggestions for what not to miss during a visit to Edinburgh.
1. Edinburgh Castle
The most visited castle in Scotland and the most visited attraction in Edinburgh. Edinburgh castle is steeped in history much like the city, there is plenty to explore within the castle and lots of information available on its importance in the history of Scotland.
2. Scott Monument
Situated in the heart of the city centre the monument is dedicated to one of Scotland’s most famous artists, Sir Walter Scott. It only costs a few pounds to climb up the winding stairs of the monument and from the top you enjoy some fantastic panoramic views of the city. This is best done on a sunny or clear day so you can enjoy the best views.
3. National Museum of Scotland
One of the most popular museums in Scotland, you can easily loose half a day making your way through all of the exhibits inside. There are numerous interactive exhibitions which will keep most children (or adults) entertained.
4. Eat at the Balmoral Hotel
Perhaps the most famous and certainly one of the most iconic hotels in Edinburgh. The Balmoral offers the highest standard of luxury and is situated in the city centre on Princes Street. The Number One restaurant offers some of the best food in Edinburgh and has a coveted Michelin star.
5. Take a Ghost Tour of Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a great city to walk around but at night with the many wynds and narrow streets it can be a bit spooky. So why not find out all about the gruesome past of Edinburgh with tours exploring the origin’s of Jekyll and Hyde or learn about the paranormal Underground in one of the many tours available from Mercat Tours. They are informative and fun.
6. Go Shopping at Jenners
Known as the “Harrods” of the north, Jenners was one of the oldest independent retailers in the world until its purchase by House of Fraser in 2005. It is primly located on prices street and inside you will find a wide selection of luxury goods and clothes as well as some fantastic and unique architecture, the products and the interior of the building are worth an equal look.
7. Enjoy Hogmanay in the city
Hogmanay is the Scottish word for New Years Eve and New year is a big deal in Scotland with many parties and a lot of drinking taking place. In Edinburgh you will find one of the biggest street parties in the world. The main streets are flooded with thousands of people and there is various entertainment on. The street party requires tickets which are free to obtain and there is also paid events in Princes Street Gardens which involves a popular band (2011 is Primal Scream). There are no better people in the world to celebrate with than the Scots.
8. Edinburgh Zoo
In Edinburgh you will find Scotland’s only zoo, famous for its Penguin parade and a great day out for kids. The zoo has over 1,000 animals and is situated only a couple of miles from the city centre (easily reachable by bus or car). There are various events and activities that are on throughout the year, their website has full details of current events.