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Edinburgh Travel Guide

About Edinburgh

Brooding and beautiful, Edinburgh is a city that inspires and wows thanks to its world-class culture, dazzling nightlife, and stunning architecture.

The best way to see the Scottish capital is on foot, climbing steep steps through the Old Town or strolling down the wide boulevards of the stunning Georgian New Town. Both locations are UNESCO–listed, though neither feels like museum pieces.

This vibrant, 21st-century city is borne in the cosmopolitan vibe in the old port of Leith and its impressive selection of pubs and restaurants, as well as the New Town's string of high–end dining establishments. The city's stunning museums, including the excellent Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Scottish National Portrait Gallery, host leading touring exhibitions and have collections that rival London's best spots.

Of course, Edinburgh's cultural currency is largely drawn from its annual festivals. August sees the smallest venues fill with comedy, music, and theatre shows of all stripes as the Fringe comes to town. At the same time, the Book Festival attracts the best names in literature while the International Festival draws crowds to dance performances and classical concerts throughout the month.

The rest of the year is by no means quiet. Visitors can indulge themselves in a country walk up Arthur's Seat (the towering hill above the city that affords views over the Scottish lowlands and out to the Firth of Forth), or they can choose one of the Old Town's numerous pubs for a jar. Come at New Year for the Hogmanay celebrations or pass through in spring to see the city in the grip of rugby fever as the annual Six Nations tournament comes to town.

Head beyond the city to explore Dean Village and go on via pretty Stockbridge, where you'll find a tempting assortment of delis, quirky shops, and cosy boozers. At the heart of nearby leafy Inverleith's century-old mansions is the renowned Royal Botanic Garden, an Edinburgh institution. And don't forget historical Leith, an area immortalised by Irvine Welsh in novels including Trainspotting and Glue.

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Featured Hotels


The Principal Edinburgh George Street Hotel

This five-star hotel is perfectly located in the heart of the New Town, this grand looking hotel offers room at surprisingly reasonable rates. When you're dining beneath the vast crystal chandeliers, drinking in the glorious views from the Panorama bar or relaxing in one of the indulgent beds.

The Alexander Guest House

Edinburgh is packed with little guesthouses offering great value, but this is one of the best. It's a bit of a walk from the city centre, but rooms are cosy, the beds are comfortable, the owners are brimming with local knowledge and the breakfasts are consistently excellent.

Crowne Plaza Edinburgh - Royal Terrace

This hotel is situated in an elegant Georgian terrace, close to the city centre and to attractions such as the Scottish Parliament and Our Dynamic Earth. Perhaps uniquely for a hotel in Edinburgh city centre, the Royal Terrace has its own beautifully landscaped gardens. It also has a small gym, sauna and indoor swimming pool.

Radisson Collection Hotel, Royal Mile Edinburgh

Radisson Collection Hotel occupies an enviable location on the corner of the Royal Mile and George IV Bridge. The rooms and public spaces are beautifully styled using a mixture of Missoni and other furniture and textiles. There's a small gym, spa, Italian restaurant and super stylish bar.

The Balmoral

With its distinctive clock tower, old and new Edinburgh blendsperfectly in this landmark hotel, which was once the guesthouse of Waverley railway station. The hotel has a choice of bars and restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Number One. The Balmoral Spa is highly acclaimed, with ESPA and Ytsara treatments, and there's also a fully equipped gym and a decent-sized pool.

The Scotsman

This distinctive and luxurious hotel on Edinburgh's North Bridge is housed in the former offices of The Scotsman newspaper. Many of the building's original features have been retained and wooden panelling and high ceilings mingle with contemporary art and high-tech facilities. The Scotsman offers guests a shoeshine service, TV entertainment system, Wi-Fi, whiskey upon arrival, an in room telescope and GHD straighteners, as well as a complimentary newspaper.