Capital of the place beyond the wall, this great and beautiful city holds arguably the best arts and culture festival, Edinburgh Fringe. Hosting the world, it would seem, it becomes a buzzing hub of colour, creativity, comedy, and absolute craziness each August. That’s not to say that the city sleeps for the rest of the year. Home to 40,000 students, Edinburgh serves up good times all year round.
Edinburgh seeps culture in every step, marrying a steep history with contemporary inventiveness. Here are some of the things you should get ticked off during you time here. Edinburgh Castle stands majestically and iconically on top of the city. It’s oldest parts date back to the 12th century and a ticket will take you through a history from then to now. Edinburgh Zoo, set in 82 acres will satisfy your wild side, as well seeing those pandas that pop up on the news now and then.
The Real Mary King’s Close, is a labyrinth of streets hidden beneath the royal mile, frozen in the 17th Century with all the myths and stories you’d want to get the adrenaline pumping. Go for a guided tour for tales of murder, plagues and mystery.
Edinburgh has a mass of music venues, theatres, comedy clubs, galleries and festivals throughout the year including the International Science Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, Jazz and Blues Festival and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to name a few.
Take a look at the myriad of museums - often free or student tickets -the city has on offer here.
Meet and eat
Ting Tang Caravan - life starting as a festival pop-up, this fun and quirky Thai Tavern, with food even more delicious than it’s prices, is buzzing with students.
PieMaker - Probably one of the best pie places ever. On the go or sit-in, it’s popular with locals and tourists alike.
Twelve Triangles - Home-baked deliciousness.
Hula Juice Bar - a FAB brunch menu, great smoothies, cures all ailments, colourful, need I go on?
Elephant House - Famous as a creative home of Harry Potter, going here an sitting at JK Rowling’s table is on the bucket list of every fan.
Mary’s Milk Bar - Mary makes her magical ice cream combos daily; an ever changing menu and available whilst stocks last! You’ll find it by the large queue coming from Grassmarket - so very worth the wait.
10 to 10 in Delhi - Draped in bright and beautiful floor to ceiling and ceiling to wall hangings, the atmosphere is as traditional and transcendent as the huge plates of food their producing in this cosy restaurant. The prices are also ridiculously good.
Simultaneously dramatic and quaint, cosy and colossal, Edinburgh is the perfect city for hours of meandering - whether on the thriving Royal Mile, a cobbled street leading to the castle, or The Meadows where you’ll find fellow students on mass in the summer months.
Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park - braving it on NYE, or waiting for one of those “sunny” days, this 2000 year old hill fort sits 251 meters above the city, offering exceptional panoramic views.
Occasionally, the clouds clear and Scotland is bathed in a warm glow, which is the perfect opportunity to head to the beach! Just 3 miles from Edinburgh, Portobello boasts 2 miles of sand waiting for you.
Grassmarket is a large open space dropped behind the castle and bordered by a mix of cute cafes, bars and pubs, independent shops and boutiques, and will often have spectacular street performers and buskers to top it off.
It’s easy to get around Edinburgh by foot, but there are frequent buses and trains, and cycle paths - probably best to avoid those when the ground freezes over.