Travel

City Review: Edinburgh

Love is in the air, and we’ve rated Edinburgh as our top romantic destination –  read on and you’ll see why!

Summary…

Edinburgh, the Athens of the North, a lively city on the South East Coast of Scotland, full to the rafters with history, culture and erm… tourists! As the second most visited city in the UK after London and many of its areas marked as World Heritage sites, there is no shortage of attractions to fill a short weekend break. If you fancy a bit of romance, Edinburgh has a lot of tricks up its kilt….

Why visit…

You’d be mistaken in thinking Edinburgh is all about bagpipes and tartan (admittedly there is a lot, particularly of the latter), but if you a look under its tartan, there are some real gems to be uncovered! Don’t miss these beauties:

• Fancy a sneak peak at its crown jewels? If so, head up to Edinburgh castle for a complete panorama of the city and a chance to ogle its jewell-based finery.

• For an excuse to get a little closer to your loved one, book yourself onto one of the many ghost tours around the city. For those with a more sturdy disposition, head to Grayfriars Cemetery for an underground tour, supposedly taking you to the ‘closest thing to hell on earth’!

• For those with lighter pockets, hours can be passed just taking in the sights along the Royal Mile, and you can easily lose yourself down the labyrinth of small wynds and alleyways once condemned as plague reservoirs – these offer an insight into the sinister and dirty history of the city.

• More of an outdoors person? Arthur’s seat, the remains of an old volcano, provides a great excuse for a bit of exercise and offers stunning views over the city and surrounding countryside.

Where to stay /eat …

The city has a wide variety of accommodation to suit differing budgets, but to find the cheapest requires some investigation, with many of the hostels offering only dorm rooms! Brodies Backpackers on the Royal Mile just off the High Street combines a fantastic location with reasonable prices, with dorm beds from £11 and double rooms from £42 , and a ‘no curfew’ ethos.

Good food is also something Edinburgh is not lacking, with café culture very much at the forefront. For a more substantial affair a good place to start is The Bon Vivant, with delicious food at reasonable prices, candles aplenty and even a resident DJ if you’re lucky, it’s the perfect combination of style and substance. To continue the quirky theme, The Dogs, a little pit pricier, provides an impressively tasty selection of contemporary British cuisine alongside an even more impressive selection of dog artwork… it is literally the dog’s *%@£?%(%*!

How much…

This largely depends on what you plan to do and how extravagant you wish to be. The frugal amongst you could spend as little as £11-13 pounds on a dorm bed, with food for the day costing no more than £20 if you’re happy with a light lunch and a reasonable evening meal. But for those wanting a little more, you can easily spend over £100 a night for a double room, and an average of £20-25 each for supper. Getting around is fairly cheap, with most places within walking distance or a short bus ride away.

When to go…

Edinburgh, with its breathtaking architecture, sumptuous food and endless attractions offers up treats all year round, so there is little excuse not to visit. Rain is unavoidable at any time of the year, but for the best of the weather head up between May and October, and if you’re in the mood to party, the Edinburgh festival in August and Hogmanay celebrations in December show the city at its liveliest. Although be warned – prices at this time are high, space at a premium and tourists unavoidable!!!

Top tips…

• Wrap up warm especially if visiting in the winter months, as temperatures remain on the chilly side!
• Avoid silly shoes (even if you plan to dress to impress… trainers can be sexy too) as Edinburgh is best enjoyed walking, and the cobbled streets and ceaseless steps can be an assault on the feet.
• Explore the city after dark, as this is when some of the cities finest features and their remarkable histories come to life, such as the illuminated castle perched high above the city.

Claudia Baxter

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Travel
One Comment
  • Julia
    21 February 2011 at 18:26
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    Great stuff – makes me want to go again. You forgot to mention it has its own National Gallery with one of the finest art collections in the UK

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