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An introduction to Edinburgh
Famous for its breathtaking landscape, architecture, and many cultural attractions, Scotland’s capital is a must-see destination, and with Edinburgh hotel deals just a click away, there’s no better time to visit this fascinating city.
The historic Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline and offers magnificent views over the city. It’s also host to a number of events throughout the year, the most famous being the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, when pipers and military bands from around the world perform, followed by a fireworks display. To the east of the castle is Arthur’s Seat, the largest peak of a dormant volcano and the site of a well-preserved hill fort.
Even with some of our hotels in Edinburgh city centre, natural beauty spots outside of Edinburgh can easily be visited as part of a daytrip. With bus tours taking in Loch Ness and Glen Coe, amongst other famous sites. If you’d rather explore Edinburgh further, there are plenty of walking and bus tours to choose from. We particularly recommend one of the spooky ghost walks, to get you acquainted with the many spirits that haunt Edinburgh’s dark corners.
Arts and culture
The city is host to various annual festivals, including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, featuring dance, theatre, music, and comedy from both up-and-coming talent and established stars such as Harry Hill, Jo Brand, and Jimmy Carr.Hotels in Edinburgh tend to fill up quick during the Fringe season as the event attracts many people from far and wide.
As equally famous, is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, when the city celebrates the equivalent of New Year’s Eve in style with a big party on Princes Street and elsewhere, involving fireworks, concerts, dancing, and processions. As with the Fringe, Edinburgh hotels can be very busy during this period, with thousands of visitors arriving from all over the world. Cheap hotels in Edinburgh can sometimes be found during this time, however.
Even when not in festival season, the city has plenty of venues to offer theatre shows and other art performances and exhibits. These include the Royal Lyceum Theatre, the King’s Theatre, and the Edinburgh Playhouse Stage, featuring hit shows from Singin’ In The Rain, West Side Story, and Rock of Ages, to popular children’s fare such as pantos and Peppa Pig.
Art fans are also well catered for, as Edinburgh is host to Scotland’s five National Galleries of art, including the National Gallery of Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Equally as impressive are the city’s many museums, including the Museum of Edinburgh, the Museum of Childhood, the National Museum of Scotland, and the National War Museum of Scotland.
Restaurants and cafes
Foodies in Edinburgh will have their fill with a wide selection of tea rooms, cafes, bars and restaurants to cater to any taste and budget. Enjoy traditional fare such as haggis at The Walter Scott Tearoom, award-winning fish and chips at the L'Alba d'Oro on Henderson Row, or fine dine at Michelin-starred restaurants such asThe Kitchin, which serves up the best of seasonal, Scottish produce including fish or cheese courses.
The music scene
Edinburgh has a vibrant nightlife and music scene on offer at a range of bars, clubs and other dedicated venues. Many city pubs have live music nights, particularly folk music, which can be heard at Sandy Bell's in Forrest Road, The Captain's Bar in South College Street, and many others. For larger events, there’s The Corn Exchange, The Liquid Rooms, and the Bongo Club which between them have hosted an array of famous acts, including Blur, Radiohead, Dizzee Rascal, De La Soul, and many more.
Traditional Edinburgh pubs are also a great place to just enjoy the atmosphere and sample a wide range of quality real ales and spirits, in addition to hearty, local food. Just off the Royal Mile is the Arcade Bar, which specialises in both whisky and haggis, while Thomson’s Bar on Morrison Street serves real ale and delicious pies, in antique, pub décor surroundings.
For those that want to party into the night, the city has many nightclubs, including Espionage, Lulu, and Stereo, that are popular with students, locals, and tourists alike.
Our must-see list
Just strolling through the streets of Edinburgh is a rewarding experience in itself, as you take in the grandeur of its historical architecture, you’re never usually far away from the drifting sounds of bagpipes or another entertaining street performance.
Whisky connoisseurs will not want to miss theScotch Whisky Experience, a guided tour around a distillery with a chance to sample fine single malt whiskies along the way. Horrible History fans can have their appetites sated by a visit to the Edinburgh Dungeon, where a whole host of actors, sets, and effects recreate the more gruesome aspects of Scotland’s past.
When you need some rest and tranquility, Edinburgh Zoo is a great place to chill out, with beautiful parklands and an impressive variety of animals, including the UK’s only giant pandas.
For more ideas on activities in the capital check out our 100 Things to do in Edinburgh.