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Edinburgh (Gaelic: Dùn Èideann) is the capital of Scotland, part of the United Kingdom, located in the Central Belt region of the country. With a population of approximately 450,000, "Auld Reekie" (Edinburgh) manages to combine both ancient and modern in a uniquely Scottish atmosphere. Watched over by the imposing Castle - the symbol of the city - Edinburgh combines medieval relics, Georgian grandeur and a powerful layer of modern life with contemporary avant-garde. In Edinburgh, medieval palaces rub shoulders with the best of modern architecture, Gothic churches with amazing museums and galleries. The throbbing night-life centre of the Scottish north, Edinburgh - "the Athens of the North" is also a feast for the mind and the senses, playing host to great restaurants, shops and an unequalled program of city festivals throughout the year. Hogmanay - the Scottish New Year - kicks off the festivities, which culminate in the high summer with the Tattoo, the International and the Fringe, amongst many others.
The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh were listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1995.
The Hub on the Royal Mile, the former Tollbooth Kirk is the headquarters of the Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh is located on the east coast of Scotland's central Lowlands, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. Edinburgh's landscape is the product of ancient volcanism (both the Castle crag and Arthur's Seat are the eroded plugs of volcanoes) and more recent glaciation (carving out valleys south of the castle and the old Nor'Loch, presently the site of the Princes Street Gardens).
Edinburgh's historic centre is bisected by Princes Street Gardens, a broad swathe of parkland in the heart of city. Southwards, the city is dominated by Edinburgh Castle, perched on top of an extinct volcanic crag, and flanked by the medieval streets of the Old Town following the Royal Mile along the ridge to the east. To the north of Princes Streets Gardens lies Princes Street itself - Edinburgh's main shopping boulevard - and the Georgian period New Town, built after 1766 on a regular grid plan.
Edinburgh has been the royal capital of Scotland since 1437.
Edinburgh is noted as a long-lived literary capital of the (Scots) English-speaking world.
The great Scottish historical novelist Sir Walter Scott was born in the city and has his great monument on Princes Street. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also a native of Edinburgh.
More recently, Edinburgh has variously been the home and inspiration for such well-known modern writers as Muriel Spark (author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Irvine Welsh (author of the 1993 novel Trainspotting, set in the gritty district of Leith), Ian Rankin (a crime writer best known for the Inspector Rebus series, set in Edinburgh), Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Lady Detective's Agency and several novels set in the Scottish capital) and J.K Rowling of Harry Potter fame.
Edinburgh's climate is most comfortable for the traveller from May to September. That said, the weather in Edinburgh is always changeable and visitors should expect both sunshine and rain, whatever the season. Summer, the main festival season, combines long daylight hours with lengthy evenings (being so far north, it rarely gets dark before 10 or 11 at night!). Winter can be bitterly cold, with short daylight hours, but Edinburgh has an abudnance of indoor attractions and activities that make the cold winter days fly by.
When to go
Travellers should note that Edinburgh becomes overwhelmingly crowded (accommodation-wise) during the main festival periods of high summer (August to early September) and Hogmanay (around New Year's Day / 1 January). Visitors at these times should plan well ahead (even more than a year in advance!) for booking central accommodation and event tickets at these times.
Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) 1 (http://www.baa.com/main/airports/edinburgh/), is situated some 10 miles west of the city. Sometimes referred to as "Turnhouse", Edinburgh Airport offers a wide range of domestic and international flights to Europe and North America. The vast majority of international visitors to the city, however, arrive via a connecting flight from London, the UK's main international hub.
A dedicated airport bus service, FlyByBus 2 (http://www.flybybus.com/), runs from outside the terminal building to Edinburgh city centre every 15 minutes. Adult fares start at £3 for a single, £5 for an open return - the journey takes an average 25 mins.
Glasgow International Airport, is 55 miles west of Edinburgh and offers more long haul flight options with flights to Chicago, New York,Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver and Dubai. Connections to Glasgow Airport from Edinburgh on public transport are non-existent however, meaning you would have to take a train to Glasgow and then transfer by the airport bus.
The main railway station in Edinburgh is called Waverley Railway Station 3 (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/Stations/stations/EdinburghWaverley/Default.aspx) and is an attraction in itself. First opened in 1846, Waverley Station was rebuilt 1892-1902. It lies between the old town and modern Edinburgh, adjacent to Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens, where it serves over 14 million people per annum. Despite various refurbishments, the past still survives in the station's elaborate, domed ceiling where wreathed cherubs leap amid a wealth of scrolled ironwork.
There is a second railway station in the centre of Edinburgh, Haymarket, which is around a mile to the west of Waverley. A shuttle bus service links the two, and Haymarket is a better station to exit at if you are heading straight for the airport, zoo, or modern art gallery as you will avoid the city centre traffic and it is on the major west-bound bus routes.
Both Waverley and Haymarket stations had ticket barriers installed in 2004 so you will need to puchase a ticket in order to enter or leave the platform area. If you get on a train at an unmanned station you can purchase a ticket from the conductor on the train, or from a ticket inspector near the barrier gates - there is usually a long queue during the peak rush hour period. The barrier gates will retain single journey tickets, so be sure to get a receipt if you need one. If you have the larger kind of ticket that does not fit in the barrier you will need to go to the gate which is manned by a member of staff who will check your ticket and let you through. If you do not have a ticket, you will need to go to the ticket office behind the barrier (platform 14 at Waverley) to buy one.
Edinburgh Park is a new train station opened in 2004, which is some miles from the city centre, serves business parks and "The Gyle" shopping centre.
By road, Edinburgh can be reached most immediately from the M8 (west from Glasgow), M9 (north-west from Stirling), A90/M90 (north from Perth and Dundee), the A1 (south-east from Newcastle and north-east England) and A701/M74 (south-west from Carlisle and north-western England).
From the British capital of London the fastest route to Edinburgh is the M1 motorway, followed by the A1(M) and the A1 - a journey of 398 miles and approximately 8-9 hrs driving time (ensure that you rest or change drivers every 2 hrs!).
Edinburgh is famed for gridlocked traffic at peak hours and - with privitisation - the dedication of parking wardens to ticketing anything that is not moving legendary. Finding parking can be difficult, though there are several multi-storey car parks in the city centre (Castle Terrace for the West End, try St James Centre at the East End (access from York Place). It is often cheaper and quicker to find a railway station on the outskirts and park there for the day before completing the journey into central Edinburgh by train. Recently there have been massive changes to the traffic in the centre of town, making it almost impossible to traverse by car. However, there are two new Park and Ride systems in place, so it's even easier to just abandon your car on the outskirts.
The city is served by the major inter-city bus companies from around Scotland and England. most long distance services start and end in the Bus Station in St Andrew Square.
- Superfast Ferries (http://www.superfast.com/Scotland/English/index.asp) sail from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Rosyth, near Edinburgh and passenger liners are a common sight in summer at Leith Docks (north Edinburgh).
Edinburgh has two bus companies, Lothian 4 (http://www.lothianbuses.co.uk/) and First 5 (http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/scotland/sescot/home/). These two companies share the same bus stops, but the route numbers are not interchangeable, and neither are the tickets.
Lothian are the larger operator in the city centre, while First service areas to the east and west of the city. Lothian offer a day ticket for £2.30 (Nov 05) that covers all transport (except sight-seeing, airport and night services)
There are also at least three companies that operate sightseeing buses. All have a policy that a sightseeing ticket is valid for 24 hours, so you can get around central Edinburgh quite handily using the sightseeing buses. Each sightseeing bus follows a different route around the city, but they all start and finish at Waverly Bridge, adjacent to Waverly Station on Princes Street.
It can be useful to catch a bus down to the port area of Leith.
Edinburgh is a compact city - most of the sights within the old town and new town are no further than a 15 minute walk apart. Walking along elegant or atmospheric streets is one of the pleasures of the city.
For the budget-conscious and/or avid sightseer, the Edinburgh Pass 6 (http://www.edinburgh.org/pass/) is well worth bearing in mind, offering a maximum of £155 worth of entry to 27 of Edinburgh's top attractions, a 90-page guidebook, retail and restaurant offers and discounts. All this, as well as free public transport around the city and airport transfers. A one-day pass costs £26, two days £34, three days £40. Can be purchased online or at Tourist Information Centres.
Cannons on the northern defenses of Edinburgh Castle
- Edinburgh Castle 7 (http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/edinburghcastle), tel 0131 225 9846, open daily April-October 9.30am-6pm, November-March 9.30am-5pm, admission adults £9.50, concessions £7, children £2 - Edinburgh Castle, home to the Edinburgh Tattoo, is a magnificently situated royal fortress located on one of the highest points in the city. The castle has been continuously in use for 1000 years and is in excellent condition. The audio tour, which costs £3 per headset, is extremely detailed and worth hiring, providing both location based and chronologically based commentary on the castle. Highlights include the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish Crown Jewels) and the ancient St Margarets' Chapel.
- the Royal Yacht Britannia 8 (http://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk) - runner-up Best UK Attraction in 2004
- the Palace of Holyroodhouse 9 (http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page559.asp) - tel 0131 556 5100. fax 020 7930 9625. email email@example.com. The Palace is a royal residence, and hosts the Queen's Gallery containing a collection of art from the Royal Collection. The Palace is best known as the home of Mary Queen of Scots and as the site of the murder of Mary's secretary Rizzio by her husband Lord Darnley. The Palace opens at 9:30am and closes at 6:00pm April to October and 4:30pm during the rest of the year. Palace admission is £8 adults, £6.50 concessions, and £4.00 children. Separate admission to the gallery is £5 adults, £4 concession and £3 children. Joint admission to the gallery and the palace is £11 adults, £9 concessions and £5.50 children.
View from the North Bridge up to Calton Hill
- Admire the panoramic views from the North Bridge.
- the Scott Monument, East Princes Street Gardens, open April - September Mo-Sa 9-6, Su 10-6; October - March Mo-Sa 9-3, Su 10-3, tel 0131 529 4068, admission £3.00 - built in 1846 to commemorate the life of Sir Walter Scott after his death in 1832, the Gothic spire monument allows you to climb 200 ft above the city centre to enjoy fantastic views and get a closer look at sculpted statuettes of characters from Scott's works.
- St Giles' Cathedral 10 (http://www.stgilescathedral.org.uk/), the Royal Mile, between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse - the historic City Church of Edinburgh is also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh and takes its name from the city's patron saint. St Giles' is Presbyterianism's Mother Church and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland's chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen). The building bears a distinctive crowned spire and was first officially dedicated in 1243, although a church probably existed on the site since before the 9th century.
- Mary King's Close 11 (http://www.realmarykingsclose.com/), Warriston's Close (opposite St Giles' Cathedral), open daily except Christmas Day - a slice of Edinburgh's medieval history, preserved since being closed over in the 18th century - watch out for the haunting....
- Gladstone's Land 12 (http://www.nts.org.uk/web/site/home/visit/places/Property.asp?PropID=10028&NavPage=10028&NavId=5115), in the Lawnmarket at the top of the Royal Mile. It is a 17th century Old Town tenement (known as a 'Land') decorated with period furniture. It has an impressive painted ceiling.
- Greyfriars Kirkyard is a very old graveyard in Old Town off the Southwest corner of George IV Bridge. It contains some impressive, ancient gravemarkers and fantastic views of the surrounding Old Town.
- Old Calton Burial Ground just east of Princes Street and Southwest of Calton Hill in New Town contains a range of graves, memorials, and funerary ornaments. Notable memorials include those dedicated to the philosopher David Hume and the Scots who died in the American Civil War
- Visit Edinburgh Zoo 13 (http://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/), entry £8.50 Adults, £5.50 children. Watch the world famous Penguin Parade.
- The Scottish Parliament 14 (http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/visitingHolyrood/), eastern end of the Royal Mile, opposite the Palace of Holyrood House - a unique building with a £431 million price tag which is much higher than the original back-of-an-envelope estimate. Highly controversial among Scots, who consider it either a daring showpiece of postmodern architecture or a national embarrassment. Free access to an exhibition, and the Debating Chamber on non-business days. It is necessary to get (free) tickets to watch the Parliament in session from the Public Gallery.
Looking down the top of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, thronged with Edinburgh Festival visitors
- Royal Botanic Garden 15 (http://www.rbge.org.uk/rbge/web/visiting/ebg.jsp), Inverleith Row (East Gate) / Arboretum Place (West Gate). Very impressive gardens with a collection of interesting plants. Great place to wander around on a sunny day, or to sit and have a picnic. Free entry to the gardens, entry to the glasshouses costs £3.50 adults, £3 concessions, £1 children.
Museum and Galleries
- Museum of Scotland 16 (http://www.nms.ac.uk/scotland/) and Royal Museum 17 (http://www.nms.ac.uk/royal/), Chambers Street, tel 0131 247 4422. fax 0131 220 4819. typetalk 18001 0131 247 4422. email firstname.lastname@example.org. The museum mixes innovative modern architecture with the best of Scotland's heritage. The Royal Museum has a magnificent airy Victorian atrium now with the Millennium Clock at one end - arrange to be there when it is chiming. Exhibits in the Museum of Scotland include Scottish pottery and weapons from the Roman era and the Renaissance. Opening hours are 10am - 5pm Monday to Saturday with extended opening to 8pm on Tuesdays; and 12pm - 5pm Sundays. Admission is free.
- the National Gallery of Scotland 18 (http://www.natgalscot.ac.uk/) holds much of Scotlands fine artwork and carries exhibitions that change seasonally. The new Western Link was opened in 2004 with an entrance from Prices Street Gardens. It joins The National Gallery with the neighbouring Scottish Academy gallery and gives Scotland it's first world class art space. The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL, tel. +44 (0)131 624 6200
- the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 19 (http://www.natgalscot.ac.uk/index.asp?centre=html/2-galleries/2-indGalleryFS.asp?gallery=4-a) contains a fine selection of modern art from Scotland and other countries. Belford Road, off the northwestern fringe of New Town.
- Climb up to Arthur's Seat 20 (http://www.scottishsport.co.uk/walking/arthurseat.htm), an extinct volcano. Wonderful view.
- Climb Calton Hill in the morning or evening hours to experience a great sunrise/sunset over Edinburgh.
- Walk along the Water of Leith, a small stream that meanders through Edinburgh, providing a peaceful haven from the busy city.
- If you like country dancing, go to a ceilidh at the Caledonian brewery 21 (http://www.caledonian-brewery.co.uk/events/ceilidhs.htm). Tickets £3-£6.
- Walk around Holyrood Park which is just East of Old Town. Created by King James the VI in the 16th century, it is like a Scottish landscape in miniature, containing Arthur's Seat, three lochs, and the stunning Salisbury Crags.
- Walk through Princes Street Gardens, a small, beautiful park that lies in the small valley between Castle Hill and Princes Street.
- Walk down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Royal Mile is the backbone of the sixteenth century Old Town and most of the buildings date from this period.
- Edinburgh has an excellent theatre and concert life. Europe's largest theatre, the 3000-seat Edinburgh Playhouse (top of Leith Walk) hosts major West End shows. The Festival Theatre frequently hosts opera and ballet, and the Usher Hall (Lothian Road) has weekly orchestral concerts all year round with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The Queen's Hall (South Clark Street) is home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
- Follow a ghost walk around the back street surrounding The Royal Mile and learn about the sinister goings on of Edinburgh's past.
- Don't miss The Real Mary King's Close, a glimpse of life in the medieval Old Town.
- Be sure to go to a chippy and have a deep-fried pizza with brown sauce.
Edinburgh in the summer becomes "festival city" when a huge number of major national and international arts festivals are hosted by the city. These cater for a wide variety of interests and include:
- The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival 22 (http://www.edinburghjazzfestival.co.uk/)
- The Edinburgh Military Tattoo 23 (http://www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk/) - one of the iconic images of Edinburgh for millions worldwide is the yearly Tattoo, kilted pipers skirling below the battlements of Edinburgh Castle...
- The T on the Fringe Festival 24 (http://www.tonthefringe.com/) - A music festival
- The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 25 (http://www.edfringe.com/) - as the name might suggest, this Festival developed on the "Fringe" of the main International Festival and offers more alternative performances, with an emphasis on comedy and avant-garde
- The Edinburgh International Book Festival 26 (http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/)
- The Edinburgh International Festival 27 (http://www.eif.co.uk/) - the largest arts festival in the world
- The Edinburgh International Film Festival 28 (http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/)
- The Edinburgh International Television Festival 29 (http://www.mgeitf.co.uk/)
- The Edinburgh Mela 30 (http://www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk/)
One important thing to decide when planning a trip to Edinburgh is whether you wish to go at festival time, which runsfrom early August through to mid-September. Hotel rooms in and around the city are noticeably much more expensive then, and you will need to book well (at least six months!) in advance.
In the spring there is the Children's International Theatre Festival (http://www.imaginate.org.uk/festival/) and the Edinburgh International Science Festival (http://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/).
Edinburgh in the winter Festive Season is also huge: whole sections of central Edinburgh are roped off and accessible only by ticket for the Scottish New Years' Celebrations known as Hogmanay 31 (http://www.edinburghshogmanay.org/), of which the Edinburgh Hogmanay is easily the largest in Scotland.
- Go to the cinema. Edinburgh has a number of cinema's covering mainstream, foreign language and arthouse films.
- Cameo Cinema, Home Street (0131 228 4141) - Mainstream & alternative films
- Filmhouse, Lothian Road (0131 228 2688) - Arthouse & foreign language films
- Odeon Cinema, Lothian Road (0870 50 50 007)
- Vue, Leith Street (08702 40 60 20)
Edinburgh is host to a number of higher and further education organisations including:
- The University of Edinburgh 32 (http://www.ed.ac.uk) - over 400 years old
- Heriot-Watt University 33 (http://www.hw.ac.uk/) - specialises in science
- Napier University 34 (http://www.napier.ac.uk/)
- Queen Margaret University College 35 (http://www.qmuc.ac.uk)
- Stevenson College 36 (http://www.stevenson.ac.uk)
- Princes Street, north of the castle, is the main shopping street in Edinburgh. It runs through the middle of the city from the train station to Lothian Road. It contains large chain stores such as HMV for music, Topshop and H&M for clothes, tourist oriented shops, and department stores.
- There are many more upmarket shops, restaurants and bars on George Street which runs parallel to Princes Street.
- Cockburn Street (pronounced "co-burn") in the Old Town has many small alternative shops selling novelty toys, underground clothing, body piercings and spiritual items.
- The Royal Mile, especially the higher end near the castle, has a many tourist-oriented shops selling Scottish souvenirs from postcards to whisky and kilts.
- Try and take home a bottle of Scotland's finest export - a single malt whisky.
Edinburgh is a great city for the food lover. There is a vast selection of eateries scattered throughout every part of the city, catering for all tastes, prices and styles.
As well as the centre of Edinburgh it is also worth checking out Leith and the West End when looking for a place to eat.
Rose St, running parallel to Princes St. is a pedestrian precinct that has a huge number of pubs offering a variety of pub fare food.
Some people have found this independent restaurant guide37 (http://www.software-engin.com/Ian/EdinburghEating.html) to be useful. It doesn't just focus on places in the central tourist areas of Edinburgh.
- A Room in the West End38 (http://www.aroomin.co.uk/westend) 26 William Street, recommended.
Excellent French restaurants include:
- Cafe Marlayne 0131 226 2230
- Cafe St Honore 0131 226 2211
- Le Sept39 (http://www.eloc.demon.co.uk/) 5 Hunter Square, 0131 225 5428
- Petit Paris 0131 226 2442.
Vegetarians are catered for with:
- David Bann's Vegetarian Restaurant40 (http://www.davidbann.co.uk) 56-58 St Mary's Street (0131 556 5888), Imaginative and tasty vegetarian food, some courses are suitable for vegans. Main courses cost about £10.
- Black Bo's41 (http://www.blackbos.co.uk) 57-61 Blackfriars St, 0131 557 6136, just off the Royal Mile.
Edinburgh also has a number of fine seafood restaurants; ones to try include:
- Fishers Bistro 0131 554 5666,
- The Mussel Inn42 (http://www.mussel-inn.com) 61-65 Rose Street, 0131 225 5979
- Maxi's 0131 343 3007.
Edinburgh hosts a number of excellent Indian restaurants including:
- Suruchi43 (http://www.suruchirestaurant.co.uk) 14a Nicholson Street, 0131 556 6583
- Namaste 41 West Preston Street, 0131 225 2000
- Britannia Spice44 (http://www.britanniaspice.co.uk) 150 Commercial Street, Leith, 0131 555 2255
- The Bombay Bicycle Club 0131 229 3839
- The Far Pavilions45 (http://www.thefarpavilions.co.uk) 10-12 Craigleith Road, 0131 332 3362.
Other good restaurants include:
- Jacques46 (http://www.jacquesbistro.co.uk) 8 Gillespie Place 0131 229 6080
- Maison Bleue 0131 226 1900
- First Coast47 (http://www.first-coast.co.uk) 99-101 Dalry Road 0131 313 4404
- Izzi48 (http://www.izzi-restaurant.co.uk) 119 Lothian Road 0131 466 9888
- Tijuana Yacht Club 0131 220 1208
- Relish49 (http://www.relishrestaurants.co.uk/) 217 High Street 0131 225 8770 for great burgers,
- The Outsider (0131 226 3131).
- Ducks Restaurant 50 (http://www.ducks.co.uk) Eyre Place, 0131 558 1608 is good for intimate dinners and fantastic food.
- Rincón de España (0131 313 3334), near Haymarket station does good Spanish food.
- Snax West Register St is a small independent fast food joint. The food is cheap and edible, perfect for tourists on a budget. Also has a decent selection of vegetarian options.
- Restaurant Martin Wishart 51 (http://www.martin-wishart.co.uk/) 54 The Shore, Leith, 0131 553 3557. Edinburgh's first Michelin-starred restaurant on . Highly recommended, but maybe not for every night of the week!
The Scots really like their drink and Edinburgh's pub and night life reflect this it is reputed to have the highest number of pubs/clubs per capita. There are establishments to suit all tastes scattered throughout every pocket of the city. Be careful, some of the more local pubs can be a little rough around the edges, especially in Leith.
For a non-alcoholic beverage give Scotland's second national drink a try - Irn-Bru 52 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irn-bru). It's a great cure for hangover.
As for Scotland's first drink, you will find The Whisky Museum at the top of The Royal Mile. This is the best place to go if you want to sample whisky, as they have a very large selection (200+?) at reasonable rates. Older whiskies tend to cost more. The atmosphere is less pub-like than some might like - it tends to be fairly quiet. The food is reasonably priced and fairly good.
- Lots of traditional pubs all around the city. The Burgh on South St Andrews Street is a prime example. Delightful.
- Many famous traditional pubs on the Grassmarket These pubs are tourist traps and tend to be very popular with visiting stag and hen parties real Edinburghers tend to keep clear most of the time.
- Lots of modern clubs around Cowgate and Lothian road including Subway, Gig and Diva.
- Yellow Card at The Tron (at Hunter Square) cost you only £1 but will gives you discount on almost every drink in the pub. The same card can be use with many other pubs around the country with a Yellow Card sign
- George Street in the centre of town hosts many of Edinburghs more trendy bars including The Opal Lounge 53 (http://www.opallounge.co.uk/) one of Edinburgh's most trendy nightspots,The Candy Bar, Tonic, Fingers, Bar38 and All Bar One. These tend to be popular with the besuited after work crowd on a Friday. Not "traditional" Edinburgh bars but probably more typical of modern Edinburgh
- Also on George Street is the cavernous Standing Order a converted bank building. It is part of the J D Wetherspoon chain and always has a wide range of drinks at quite cheap prices. They also serve typical pub food and again some of the special offers make the food very reasonable.
- In the old town around George IV bridge you will find another selection of lounges including The Beluga Bar, Frankensteins and Bar Kohl.
- Other night clubs around the city include Ego, Faith and The Liquid Room.
- The Bongo Club (http://www.thebongoclub.co.uk) (0131 558 7604) is also well worth a mention for travellers. Although a little further outside the city towards the new Scottish Parliament this is a great cafe style bar cum live music venue.
- Doctors and Sandy Bells in Old Town offer good ales and pub food in a relaxed atmosphere. Sandy Bells also has live folk music every night.
- The Pear Tree offers a great beer garden for summer months, and a mix of university students and residents all year round. Or check out The Blind Poet next door.
- The Premier Travel Inn chain of budget hotels are especially good for families on a budget. Clean, central, comfortable, efficient, and cheap by UK standards. Often a better choice than a hostel for a family, especially in larger towns and cities. There are a couple in the centre of Edinburgh.
- Edinburgh First at University 54 (http://www.edinburghfirst.com/) aka Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Road, tel 0800 028 7118, fax 0131 667 7271, overseas tel. +44 (0)131 651 2189 open June 18th to September 24th. Accommodation on the campus of the University of Edinburgh, near to the Royal Commonwealth Pool and Arthur's Seat. About half-hour walk to city center. Very nice Scottish breakfast in campus cafeteria: stuff up in the morning and skip lunch. Completely nonsmoking. Single room £27-£46, most expensive in August (Edinburgh Festival time).
- There are also cheap youth hostels available with prices from £10 and above. The private/independent hostels center around the Cowgate area, the lower Royal Mile and it´s side streets. The hostels of the HI affiliated Scottish Youth Hostel Association 55 (http://www.syha.org.uk) can be booked on-line and are an especially good deal during summer, when the SYHA rents student accommodation as summer hostels: Single rooms in the city center for a very modest price.
- Edinburgh Eglinton SYHA 56 (http://www.syha.org.uk/SYHA/Web/Site/Hostels/EdinburghEglinton.asp) 18 Eglinton Crescent, 0870 004 1116. Large Official hostel in attractive building near Haymarket station. Unusually for the SYHA, serves meals. However, can get booked out by groups
- Budget Backpackers Edinburgh 57 (http://www.budgetbackpackers.com/), 37-39 Cowgate
Bed and Breakfast
- 7 Gloucester Place 58 (http://www.aboutscotland.com/edin/gloucester.html), 7 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh New Town, rooms £30-£45 pppn - only 5 mins from Princes Street, includes wifi access
- Ceilidh-donia59 (http://www.hotelceilidh-donia.co.uk/) 14-16 Marchall Crescent, 0131 667 2743 £30-50pppn. Friendly, clean hotel with free internet and a really good breakfast. 15 minutes walk from the old town.
- The Caledonian Hilton 60 (http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=EDNCHHI), Princes Street, tel +44 (0)131 2228888 - the Caledonian Hilton is a five star hotel situated within the building of the Old Caledonian Railway Station. This century old hotel is centrally located and holds fantastic views of the Edinburgh Castle on one side. Three restaurants are situated within the hotel as well as two separate bars. Prices vary from £125 for a basic double to £400 for a luxurious suite (and they are luxurious).
- The Dunedin guest house, west of Old Town. Relatively expensive, but beautiful and friendly. Lots of other similar quality guest houses in the area, too.
Multiple internet cafés and hotspot venues exist in Edinburgh, in both the Old and New Towns (check out district articles for details).
In general Edinburgh can be considered a safe destination for visitors but like all major cities there are problems and areas best avoided.
- Try not to get too drunk - if you have had too much get a taxi home.
- Night buses are an affordable and safe alternative to taxis
- Dunfermline, previously the capital of Scotland, makes an excellent day trip. It is easily accessed by car via the Forth Road Bridge. There is a half hourly service by train from Waverley station (also stopping at Haymarket).
- Linlithgow is also a great little town for a day trip from Edinburgh. It is a short drive by car on the M9. There is also a frequent service by train from Waverley station (also stopping at Haymarket).
- North Berwick - another pretty town and harbour about 30 minutes east of Edinburgh, with webcams at the Scottish Seabird Centre giving live pictures of thousands of birds on the Bass Rock.
- South Queensferry - pretty town about 20 minutes outside Edinburgh, with great views of the Forth Rail and Road Bridges.
- St Andrews - ancient university town
- Museum of Flight (http://www.nms.ac.uk/flight/index.asp) in East Fortune is about 30 minutes drive along the A1. It also has British Airways Concorde G-BOAA. Remember to book in advance to see inside Concorde as these tickets are generally sold out on the day.
- Edinburgh.org (http://www.edinburgh.org/) - Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board website
- City of Edinburgh Council (http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/) - official website for the Edinburgh municipal authority