A Visitor’s Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

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Edinburgh is the ancient capital of Scotland, an intriguing city that has been shaped over the years by stories of battles and bloody wars.  This fascinating destination has plenty of exciting activities for tourists to enjoy, including castles and dungeons, cathedrals and museums, and more festivals than you can shake a haggis at.  This is a city that should be on everyone’s travel list.

Famous for Edinburgh Rock, a ridiculously sweet stick of candy that requires quite a bit of chewing, the city is also home to a natural rock formation of the same name.  The rock is actually what remains of an extinct volcano, and is one of two in the city.  It’s on this rock, which is located in the centre of the city, that visitors can find Edinburgh Castle, a popular tourist attraction.  As part of an old tradition, an ancient cannon is fired from the castle every day at 1300hrs, while bagpipes can also be heard on special occasions.

1. Edinburgh Nightlife

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Edinburgh is noted for its nightlife, and people visit the city from miles around to spend a few hours in its trendy clubs.  The best place to go is around the Princes Street area.  It’s by far the most popular spot and is home to upscale clubs like the Liquid Room.  Not far away, the VIP Room is the place to be for some celebrity spotting, and if you fancy something to eat before you get ready to dance the night away, then the chic Tower Restaurant often caters to the stars.  For a good old fashioned ‘pub crawl’, head into Rose Street.  This cobbled lane that runs parallel to Princes Street is littered with fabulous eateries and drinking houses, and is a lively place to spend a Friday or Saturday night.

2. Best Shopping in Edinburgh

Shopping in Edinburgh means visiting Princes Street.  This is one mile of retail therapy, with amazing shops on the northern side of the road, and views of the castle and its gardens on the southern side.   The Waverly Centre is at the east end of Princes Street and offers a fantastic indoor mall with a few designer outlets.  Or head to the Royal Mile where boutique shopping is dotted with trendy eateries.  The Edinburgh Woollen Mill is a fantastic outlet selling tartan, original Arran sweaters and miniature Scottie dogs (ceramic, not real), and is ideal if you’re on the hunt for a traditional present to take back home.

3. Edinburgh’s Favourite Tourist Spots

Edinburgh is brimming with places to visit, and these are some of the attractions you mustn’t let pass you by.

  • Edinburgh Castle – the ancient seat of power is now a great tourist attraction
  • Edinburgh Zoo – one of the oldest zoo’s in Scotland and perfect for a day out
  • Mary King’s Close – an underground labyrinth of real 17th century streets
  • The Royal Mile – a busy tourist street running up to Edinburgh Castle
  • Edinburgh Dungeon – live actors delight visitors in these ancient city dungeons
  • Holyrood – Edinburgh’s Parliament and the seat of Scotland’s power
  • Camera Obscura – A famous interactive exhibition of illusions and magic 

4. Weather in Edinburgh

The weather in Edinburgh is changeable, as it is throughout Scotland.  It’s best to book in late summer to try and avoid most of the rain, but in Scotland, a dry day is never guaranteed.  Come prepared with waterproofs and umbrellas at the ready!

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