We don't mean to boast. Okay we do; the United Kingdom has some of the most beautiful and interesting cities just waiting for you to visit. So if you're looking for your next city break, then how about the Scottish capital of Edinburgh?
Edinburgh's Old Town has so much to offer that it is very difficult choosing where to start. It's a great location if you want to window shop (or actually shop), and if you want a lazy day wandering between bars or cafes then the Old Town is definitely where you want to be. The Royal Mile in particular; this connects the Queen's residence Holyrood Palace with Edinburgh Castle, and along the way between all those pubs, bars, and shops you'll find street entertainers and stunning architecture that will leave you not knowing where to look first!
Edinburgh Castle is stunning. The site of it, Castle Rock, has been occupied by us troublesome humans since at least the Iron Age. This fortress castle is at a beautiful vantage point that historically was for protection but today is the perfect spot for selfie snapping and testing out that panoramic feature on your phone. The One O'Clock Gun at the castle has been sounding for 155 years; a great way to check your watch is right!
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Home to the nation's monarch when they are visiting Scotland, Holyrood Palace has been a royal residence since the sixteenth century. The palace itself is a stunning quadrangle filled with opulent interiors. Externally there are ten acres of gardens set within the wider Holyrood Park. There are tours that will take you inside and outside of the Palace so you can get to know more of its history, and if you are really, well, lucky, you might even get a glimpse of its residence ghost! Bald Agnes is said to have roamed the palace ever since she was stripped and tortured for witchcraft back in 1592. Lovely.
If you know your Scottish history then you'll know that there are several streets and the Edinburgh Vaults buried beneath the city. Most famous of the streets down there is Mary Kings Close, an actual reclaimed street that you can walk down and spook yourself out with! Mary Kings Close is home to stories of ghosts and witchcraft, and there are numerous ghost tours you can take if you truly like to be terrified. Oh, and if all things supernatural are your thing then don't forget to look into the history of the hypnotist Violet Spears, who is said to have had her very own vampire hive in the Edinburgh Vaults.
If you truly want to experience Edinburgh at its most magical then save your travelling — and money — for August. The annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival, boasting more than 3000 shows over 300 different venues throughout the city. There are dance recitals, improv sessions, comedy, amateur dramatics, singing, flame throwing, and just about everything you can imagine! It is an expensive time to visit the city since this festival attracts people from the world over. Though 2019 will welcome the Fringe to Edinburgh for its 72nd year, so they must be doing something right!
Now it's time for something truly outdoorsy! Arthur's Seat is the main peak of Edinburgh's hills, about one mile east of Edinburgh Castle. At an elevation of 251m, Arthur's Seat is a relatively easy climb if you're so inclined, and one of Edinburgh's most popular routes for hillwalking. The views from Arthur's Point are truly spectacular; it is one of those rare places where every type of weather gives you something uniquely beautiful to see. And since it's in Edinburgh, of course Arthur's Seat comes with a plethora of legends. The site is sometimes said to have connections to King Arthur as one of the seats of Camelot, and for others has a history in witchcraft, burial grounds for serial killers, and other insidious things.
Ghost walks, historical tours, whiskey tasting, free visits to both the Scottish National Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland; the only problem with visiting Edinburgh is having enough time to see and do everything you want! So when are you going?