Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh becomes a hive of cultural activity in August when the city plays host to the Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the biggest arts festival in the world.

Hundreds of thousands of revellers are expected to flock to the city for three fun-filled weeks of comedy, music, drama and dance. Another good time to visit Edinburgh is at New Year’s Eve for Hogmanay – a massive street party takes place.

Haunted South Bridge

The dead have haunted Edinburgh’s cobbled streets and buildings since medieval times, and what better way to get spooked than to go on a ghost walk. Visit the vaults beneath the South Bridge and discover the story behind the city’s body snatchers.

Eat some haggis (it’s delish, honest!)

Nip into a cosy pub on the Royal Mile or Grassmarket and sit down to a steaming plate of Scotland’s most famous dish – haggis (sheep’s intestine combined with onion, oatmeal, spices and salt). It is traditionally boiled in the sheep’s stomach but today many other casings are used. While it sounds horrible, it tastes incredible when served with ‘neeps and tatties’ (otherwise known as turnips and potatoes).

A dram of whiskey (no hard sell needed)

As a nation of whisky drinkers, Scotland’s national drop is always at hand. But be warned, the locals wouldn’t dream of contaminating their aged whisky with any perceived impurities such as a mixer.

The Scots love a drink so there are plenty of pubs from which to choose in Edinburgh. One of the best is The Last Drop where, legend has it, convicted criminals were taken for their final meal and a glass of whisky before being walked across the road to be hung in the market square. Things aren’t that grim any more, but the pub retains an old charm that makes it a wonderful place to spend a few hours.

Edinburgh castle

Perched at the top of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle dominates the city from every angle. It’s a great place to learn about Scotland’s history and take in views of the Scottish capital. It’s also worth heading up to Arthur’s Seat, a little bump on a range of hills in Holyrood Park, which provides a stunning bird’s eye view of Edinburgh’s gothic architecture.

Essential information on visiting Edinburgh

WHEN TO GO: Edinburgh International Festival  and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival both take place during August every year.
GETTING THERE: Fly to Edinburgh and then catch the Airlink 100, which departs every 10 minutes, into the city centre. Virgin’s train service from London takes about five hours and drops you in the city centre. 
GETTING AROUND: It is easy to explore Edinburgh on foot, but there is a fairly extensive bus service if you want to go further than the city centre.

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