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Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From its historical Old Town to the sweeping elegance of the Georgian New Town, there are amazing views, hidden courtyards, secret gardens and stunning architectural details almost everywhere you look. Yet the city is cosmopolitan too, with a bustling bar/cafe culture, vibrant nightlife and plenty of independent shops, boutiques and small galleries.

Things to do

Edinburgh is beautiful and historic, yet at the same time compact.

While the history of Edinburgh is inspiring, you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy the city. If you prefer shopping, eating and drinking to museums, there is plenty to keep you entertained and amused and literally something for everyone.

Fuel your taste for adventure and explore Edinburgh!

Some Facts & Figures

Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since 1437 and gained city status in 1889.

Edinburgh Castle is built on the site of an extinct volcano.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is actually one mile and 107 yards long.

The Old Town of Edinburgh stretches from the gates of Edinburgh Castle, down the length of the Royal Mile, and outwards from that cobbled ‘spine’. The narrow ‘closes’ or ‘wynds’ which stem from the Royal Mile have existed since medieval times. This part of Edinburgh is famous for the castle and for Edinburgh’s ‘Underground City’, a series of vaults which were mainly inhabited by Irish immigrants during the industrial revolution.

The ’New’ town of Edinburgh was built because by the 18th century, the Old Town of Edinburgh could no longer cope with it’s growing population. In 1766 a competition was launched for architects and town planners to submit designs for the New Town layout. In the end a design by a young architect named James Craig.

The city has a nickname – Auld Reekie (Old Smoky) which was given to the city in connection with an era when a lot of coal and wood were burnt for heating and the air was full of smoke.

Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire service in 1703. But it was a volunteer fire brigade, that`s why it took a lot of time to gather people and come to the burning place before it`s too late.

The last public execution in Edinburgh was of the murderer George Bryce in 1864.

J.K.Rowling used to go to the Nicolson’s café and she started to write the first book about Harry Potter exactly there. Now there is a restaurant there called Spoon. Rowling went on to write The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban in The Elephant House, a café overlooking the castle.

> Must sees for Harry Potter fans

The unicorn is a national animal of Scotland, while thistle and heather are floral emblems.

What to eat and drink?

The obvious choices have to be whisky and haggis, but there are so many typically Scottish treats such as shortbread, tablet (similar to fudge but firmer and sweeter), cullen skink (a hearty, fishy soup), gin (there’s a distillery in Edinburgh.

You may find that you need to ’ease’ yourself into whisky and a good starting point is to try some whisky cocktails.

Where to drink?

There are so many bars and pubs that choosing some over others is virtually impossible. A popular way to sample the available hostelries is to walk the Royal Mile from the bottom and work your way to the top, trying the bars as you go.

To get you started here are some ideas:

> Best bars in Edinburgh
> Cool and quirky bars in Edinburgh
> Scotsman food and drink

What to see?

Here are some suggestions of what to see in Edinburgh:

> Edinburgh Castle
> National Museum of Scotland
> Surgeon’s Hall Museum
> National Galleries of Scotland
> Arthur’s Seat
> Royal Yacht Brittania
> Palace of Holyroodhouse
> Royal Botanic Gardens
> The Edinburgh Gin Distillery
> The streets and sights that inspired the Harry Potter books

More inspiration:

> Edinburgh City Guides
> This is Edinburgh offical guide website

You can try exploring a little further from the city centre, to Leith or the ‘villages’ of Stockbridge, Morningside, Duddingston and Cramond, each with its own distinctive personality and attractions.

Where to eat?

Edinburgh offers a wide and diverse mix of places to eat and drink. We recommend that you browse some of the following to whet your appetite:

> This is Edinburgh - Food and Drink
> Eating in the Greater Grassmarket
> Eating Edinburgh
> Cool places to eat and drink in Edinburgh

Whisky, Haggis and Tartan

Whisky and Haggis are two items that you must try when you visit Edinburgh.

Whisky, Scotland’s national drink, is exceptionally well served by Whisky Bars in Edinburgh. Haggis is a simple food from poorer times, that made sure that nothing went to waste and like whisky can be sampled in many establishments in the city.

Tartan, is a fabric that has long been associated with Scotland. Edinburgh has its own tartan, which features the blue and white of the Scottish flag combined with the greens and reds taken from the colours of the hills and landscapes around Edinburgh. From small items such as bow ties and scarves to the more eye catching kilts there’s a tartan for everyone.

Caution…

As with all places there are few things you should avoid doing:

  • Cycling can be hazardous in the city centre, the combination of too many cars, cobbled streets and steep hills is lethal.
  • Along the same lines as you need to avoid cycling, also steer clear of the rickshaws in Edinburgh for the similar reasons.
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