Edinburgh
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Edinburgh

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Our Editorial team's advice

Edinburgh, sometimes called the "the Athens of the North," is undoubtedly Scotland's most beautiful city, combining the old and the new, with its classically Scottish atmosphere, here medieval palaces rub shoulders with the best of modern architecture. The Old Town is the medieval heart of the city, and home to most of the important historical sites, including Edinburgh Castle, the symbol of the city, where the Crown of Scotland is kept. The other half of the city is the Georgian area, called the New Town, which is sprinkled with beautiful 19th century residences; this is where you'll find the city's financial and shopping districts. You can still feel the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment here, at which time Edinburgh was the hub of intellectual progress in Europe, with statues of men such as David Hume and Adam Smith as markers of this rich past. In a more modern light, the city still holds its own, particularly in the month of August, when some might say that Edinburgh is the most important city in the world, for its unequalled programme of festivals. Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year, kicks off the year's festivities, which ramp up to a city-wide celebration in mid-summer, with events including the Tattoo, the Edinburgh International Festival, The Fringe, and many others.

To see

The Royal Mile, which links the Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is the perfect first stop for Edinburgh newcomers. The Castle, home to the Edinburgh Tattoo, is a royal fortress perched atop one of the highest points in the city. It has been in continuous use for 1000 years, and is still in excellent condition. The Holyrood Palace is a royal residence, where the Queen's Gallery, containing art from the Royal Collection, is housed. For some interactive fun for the whole family, visit the Camera Obscura. Located on Castle Hill, it is a 150 year old tower which focuses light onto a dish in a dark room below, allowing a 360 degree view of all of Edinburgh!

To do

If you're only going to visit Edinburgh once, make sure you do it in August in time for festival season, when the city really comes alive. The best by far is The Fringe, the world's largest arts festival, which spreads out over three weeks and hosts thousands of performers on stages all over the city, presenting comedy, dance, theatre, live music, and more. Head to The Pleasance or Udderbelly venues for world-class comedy acts and the best beer tent atmosphere! During the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival, which also takes place over three weeks in August, the city's six major theatres and concert halls, as well as a few smaller venues, come alive with the best classical music, theatre, opera, dance and visual art from around the globe. The International Book Festival which takes place on Charlotte's Square each August is also another must visit. Hear famous authors speak or just sit with an ice cream and read something from the pop up bookshop. As The Spectator suggested, ?you can sleep in September'. When things are a bit quieter, make your way up the hill to Arthur's Seat where you'll get fantastic panoramic views of the entire city.

pros

  • +  Some of the world's greatest festivals are held here.
  • +  An architecturally beautiful city with a rich cultural heritage.

cons

  • -  Can be quite expensive if you don't have local knowledge.
  • -  Extremely crowded in August and January, and can be difficult to book lodging.

To think about

If you're planning on going to Edinburgh for Hogmanay (around New Year's Day) or the summer festival high season (August to early September) make sure you book your stay well in advance (even a year or more) as the city becomes intensely crowded, and hotels fill up quickly. The most pleasant time, weather-wise, to go the Edinburgh is between May and September, though the weather here is fickle, so make sure you pack an umbrella or raincoat whatever the season. Edinburgh International Airport is some 10 miles west of the city and offers a wide range of domestic and international flights.

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To avoid

Edinburgh is for the most part a very safe city, though common sense should be used here, as anywhere else. The most trouble you'll likely find is brawls breaking out as people make their way out of pubs in the evening, particularly near Lothian Road and Grassmarket. Some areas of Leith (particularly between the bottom of Leith Walk and the dockside) should be avoided at night.

To try

If you're prepared to try anything - and we mean anything, make sure you order some traditional Scottish Haggis, a dish made of sheep's heart, liver, and lungs, mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet, and spices. It is traditionally served with "neeps and tatties" (turnip and potatoes) and a ?dram? (a glass of Scottish whisky). Black pudding is another typically Scottish dish to try if you're not too weak of stomach; it's made of pig's blood, fat, and oatmeal, and has a rich, almost nutty taste. On the other side of the spectrum, if you've got a sweet tooth you can't miss the Edinburgh classic deep fried Mars Bar - calories galore, but very tasty!

To bring back

It depends on how all-out you want to go, but if you really want to get into the spirit of things kit yourself out from head to toe in Scottish attire. Start with a kilt (for men) or a tartan skirt (for women), which you'll have no trouble finding either ready-to-wear, or custom-made, if you take your kilt-fitting seriously. Get yourself a pair of ghillies (traditional Scottish shoes), and top off the ensemble with some handmade Celtic jewellery.

Weather Edinburgh

These indicators are used as a set of criteria to predict overall weather conditions in Edinburgh . The different indicators are there to help you prepare for your trip to Edinburgh so you can make plans based on the weather forecast, whether it be a trip to the beach, walking, visiting attractions and museums or winter sports... Here you'll find a precise, overall weather score for each week in Edinburgh , which takes into account temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds.

Overall rating 35/100
  • Temperature indicators 26% Cold

    Maximum temperature between 16°C and 18°C, the perceived temperature is <30°.

  • Bad weather indicators 58% Showers

    Showers - averaging between 2.5mm and 3.5mm per day.

  • Sunbathing indicators 36% Cloudy

    Overcast 60% to 80% cloud cover.

  • Swimming indicators 28% Chilly

    Sea temperature between 18°C and 20°C. Wind speed between 7 mph and 18 mph.

  • Wind indicators 58% Breeze

    Moderate to strong winds (between 12mph and 18mph).

  • Humidity indicators 62% Normal

    Slight feeling of discomfort due air humidity registering higher than 65%.