There’s something magical about Edinburgh. Whether it be its incredible geography or its warm and wonderful people.
Surrounded by seven hills (two are in fact extinct volcanoes), the most striking is Arthur’s seat, a cliff-like rock rising above the city with a peak that offers an incredible panoramic view. Equally matched on the other side is Edinburgh castle, high up on a rock, oozing history and folklore from every orifice, spilling out through narrow passageways along the Royal Mile.
The city itself is split into the old and new town, separated by Prince’s Street, a grand wide road flanked by impressive Georgian buildings. Edinburgh boasts everything you’d expect from a multicultural European capital city but by walking around and taking in its sights you can blow away the cobwebs like you’re in the great outdoors. Windswept and eye opening, a rare quality for a city and perfect to build up an appetite, which is good because there are hundreds of fine bars and restaurants ready to welcome you in with a warm embrace.
The Royal Mile runs almost parallel to Prince’s Street with the castle at one end and The Palace of Holyrood House at the other, Her Majesty The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Everywhere you look your eyes are drawn to a far-reaching vista — a city of spectacles, but also fine details, looking down long, wide avenues with glimpses of the Firth of Forth estuary and out to the North Sea. It’s a fascinating city with so much natural beauty and historical significance it is easy to see why pioneers and modern day heroes from Alexander Graham Bell to JK Rowling have been inspired to spend their lives here. Parts of the city feel as though you are turning the page of your own Harry Potter adventure with its medieval turrets, narrow side lanes and stony architecture it feels unmistakably ‘Hogwartsian’.
Edinburgh wears its past with pride and exudes elegance, with occasional opulence. From the regal splendour of the Balmoral Hotel to the exquisite interior of the Dome Restaurant, the architecture alone is worth a visit.
Three nights isn’t long enough to explore it’s many hidden secrets and it demands a return visit, quite rightly so. The list of sights and delights is too long for one trip, but don’t feel like you’re here to tick things off a list as Edinburgh is one city that doesn’t take itself too seriously and this could not be better expressed than through the numerous comedy clubs, which are famed throughout the town. The Stand and The Guilded Balloon are two fine examples, offering nightly shows in a relaxed environment where you can grab a drink and see who’s brave enough to take a stand. If that’s not your taste then you can fill your ears with live music at any of the pubs that provide the talent for Edinburgh’s fringe festival. There’s isn’t such thing as out of season, just a city with character, a city with charm.
Venturing out of the city
If only in the city for a short time but with a desire to see a little further afield, there is a variety of one day tours from Edinburgh you can do, ranging from visiting Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands to the best of the Scottish Borders. A private driver/guide can easily be arranged or join a scheduled group on a small, 16 seat mini-bus. The local guides are immediately engaging and set the pace for an extremely informative and fun trip. A particularly interesting and varied trip is a visit to Loch Lomand and Stirling Castle. Learn about the land of Scots heroes like Rob Roy, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace and visit the magnificent medieval stronghold of Stirling Castle. The day ends with a gentle walk along the shores of Loch Lomand, in the beautiful forests of Scotland’s first National Park.