Whether you’re looking for an action packed city break, an escape to the country, or a combination of both, you’ll be sure to find it in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Scotland’s capital city sits in perfect contrast to the peaceful tranquility of the surrounding Lothians region.
One of the must-see cities of the world, Edinburgh is proclaimed as ‘Scotland’s inspiring capital’. This UNESCO World Heritage site is dominated by iconic Edinburgh Castle, perched on a rocky volcanic outcrop and visible on the city’s skyline from every angle. Edinburgh’s fantastic architectural heritage includes the tall tenements and narrow closes of the medieval Old Town providing a stark contrast to the elegance and symmetry of the Georgian New Town beyond Princes Street.
However, if you sometimes need a break from sight seeing or retail therapy, there are numerous green spaces where you can picnic, enjoy the superb views or just relax. Princes Street Gardens and the Royal Botanic Garden are just two of Edinburgh’s most popular open spaces.
All of our recommended B&Bs offer free Wifi to their guests
As Europe’s festival capital, Edinburgh has a packed calendar of festivals and events keeping visitors entertained all year round, including the world’s biggest New Year celebrations. Each August the city hosts the massive Edinburgh International Festival, the most famous cultural event of its kind in the world. This incorporates the equally huge Fringe Festival - so if you’re attending, expect lots of fun! And there's also the very popular Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August.
Edinburgh is a compact city making it ideal to explore by foot and allows a real taste of city life while on a short trip. Top of the list of visitor attractions must be the Castle, with a history stretching back 800 years, followed by a leisurely walk down the Royal Mile. You could also explore this area by joining a walking tour or evening ghost hunt revealing aspects of Edinburgh’s murky and mysterious past. At the foot of the Royal Mile you’ll find two contrasting buildings – the avant garde architecture of the Scottish Parliament building and Holyrood Palace, medieval in origin and the official Scottish residence of the Queen.
Culture lovers can view world class art collections housed in stunning galleries. The National Gallery of Scotland displays works from the Renaissance to the Impressionists. Brilliant permanent and seasonal exhibitions can be found at The National Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh is also the first UNESCO City of Literature as home to the world’s largest book festival and through its connections with writers like R. L. Stevenson and J.K Rowling.
The city offers a shopping experience like no other. Up market designer department stores such as Harvey Nichols complement venerable Edinbugh retailers like Jenners. City wide, there’s a diverse range of independent shops. For eating out and night life you are well served by a colourful collection of restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs and traditional pubs in the West End, Grassmarket, Stockbridge and Leith.
Leith is also home to the Royal Yacht Britannia which is H.M. The Queen's former floating residence. Open all year it shows how the royal family lived and how the crew worked behind the scenes. Accessed via the Ocean Terminal shopping centre, this ex Royal Navy ship has been consistently judged Scotland's best visitor attraction.
Close to Edinbugh, yet a million miles from the bustle of the capital, the Lothians are the perfect place to relax and unwind. The area consists of three distinct regions – East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian. Together they make up Edinburgh’s surrounding coast and countryside. The area offers peaceful, unspoiled beaches, rolling hills and some of the driest, sunniest weather in Scotland.
A rich history and heritage includes the story of the ill fated Mary, Queen of Scots, who was born in Linlithgow Palace and had strong links with the area. Throughout the Lothians you’ll find castles, historic houses and chapels with tales from Scotland’s past. Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian is probably the best known as it featured in the movie ‘The Da Vinci Code’, while the brooding ruin of Tantallon Castle sits high above sea cliffs.
Charming towns such as North Berwick and Dunbar invite you to browse in their galleries, museums and gift shops. Leisure activities abound from top quality links and parkland golf courses to long distance coastal footpaths, cycling along the Union Canal or hiking in the Pentland Hills.
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