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Things to do in Edinburgh

Catch some crisp North Sea waves

Scotland's chilly shores might not match Hawaii's heat, but its waves could give Waikiki a run for its money. Dunbar, 48km (30 miles) east of Edinburgh is home to a burgeoning surf community, with a surf club and school (07971 990 361, www.c2csurfschool.com) established within the past decade thanks to impressive swell. A super-thick wetsuit is essential attire.

Climb Arthur's Seat

The summit of Arthur's Seat provides a glorious view of Edinburgh Castle and the Old and New Towns as well as splendid vistas across the Firth of Forth to Fife and beyond. Some might say it's a cliché to do it: we say it's a fallacy not to.

Hit the indoor climbing wall

Rainy days abound in this part of the world, and the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (www.edinburghleisure.co.uk) offers a challenging grey day activity with walls ranging from 12m to 28m (39ft to 92ft) high. This massive complex is the world's largest indoor climbing arena, with both easy and technical routes on offer. You can also try your hand at bouldering (climbing artificial rocks), abseiling and the vertigo-inducing Aerial Assault high ropes course.

Play some of the world’s finest golf courses

Scotland is the home of golf and East Lothian, just outside Edinburgh, boasts 22 courses, among them some of the world's most historic. Foremost among these is the devilishly challenging 2013 Open Championship venue Muirfield (www.muirfield.org.uk), and Musselburgh Links (0131 653 5122, www.musselburgholdlinks.co.uk) - the oldest playing golf course in the world.

Walk across the bucolic Pentland Hills

South-west of Edinburgh, but just a local bus ride away, are the gently rolling Pentland Hills (0131 529 2401, www.pentlandhills.org) with over 100km (62 miles) of way marked paths, many offering superb views of the city and surrounding countryside. Perfect for clearing out those lungs.

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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.

Orocco Pier

The seaside suburb of South Queensferry is a convenient option for travellers who plan to combine their visit to Edinburgh with a tour of Fife or other parts of Scotland. Formerly an old coaching inn, Orocco Pier is now a classy boutique hotel located between the southern landfalls of the two Forth bridges.

Residence Inn by Marriott

A good option for travellers looking for the flexibility of self-catering accommodation combined with hotel service, this Marriott apartment-hotel comprises over 100 smart studios and suites spread over seven floors. Rooms are pet friendly and have microwaves, fridges, and dishwashers, alongside free Wi-Fi.

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.