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Things to do in Edinburgh

By Lauren Jade Hill

Vibrant arts, a unique culture and fascinating history all make Edinburgh a destination that captivates those passing through. While the city’s Fringe festival, Hogmanay and Burns Night draw the biggest crowds in, this is a city that rewards visitors year-round. We take a look at the best things to do in Edinburgh throughout every season.

Arts and Culture

Historically rich and a hub for music and the arts, Edinburgh provides a wealth of cultural insight for visitors. Edinburgh Castle is at the top of many visitors list of places to go, as an ancient monument that’s filled with stories recounting significant moments in Scottish history. Catering to the attention it receives, the castle is home to a series of informative exhibitions with the opportunity to join guided tours.

More monuments are dotted around the city and its surroundings, along with a number of museums and galleries. Pay a visit to the National Museum of Scotland to explore exhibits focusing on the natural world, world culture and Scottish history and archaeology, which are all housed within a grand Victorian building. The Writers’ Museum then celebrates the lives of three Scottish literary greats: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art then showcase the extent and diversity of art here (National Galleries Scotland). Finally, visitors can experience a side to Scottish culture that’s celebrated worldwide by taking part in a whisky tasting with The Scotch Whisky Experience.

The Outdoors

One of Scotland’s greatest attributes is its dramatic landscape, and you don’t need to travel far from the city center to catch sight of it. This historic city, with its monuments and cobbled streets, is surrounded by the lush greenery of areas of natural beauty such as the Pentland Hills, which encompass more than 100 kilometers of sign-posted walking trails, with pathways for cyclists too. Of course there are a number of parks and gardens within the city, of which one of the most famous is Holyrood Park where Arthur’s Seat can be found, with cliffs, lochs and panoramic views all making it the popular walking spot it is. It’s then worth spending time in the city’s Royal Botanic Gardens for its collection of landscaped gardens and diverse flora.


Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian

First opened in 1903, this grand hotel remains one of Edinburgh’s most luxurious. After its multi-million dollar renovation, the hotel now combines a historic façade with classic yet modern interiors, a Guerlain spa and restaurants set up by the famous Galvin brothers. All of this adds to the appeal of the hotel’s privileged location and the views it boasts of Edinburgh Castle.

G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh

Also within walking distance of the city’s major sites, the G&V Royal Mile Hotel benefits from impressive views of Edinburgh’s cityscape, while offering a more contemporary place to stay. Here, the modern interiors stand out for their striking color schemes, with a collection of suites designed by Scottish artists and designers. An equally as striking spa then features alongside Cucina Italian restaurant and cocktail bar Epicurean.

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The Balmoral Hotel

Recognized for its imposing façade and clock tower, the centrally located Balmoral Hotel is without doubt one of the most opulent hotels here. Within these lavish surroundings, the hotel offers Michelin starred dining, a setting for traditional afternoon tea, and an award-winning spa.

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