Fun Up North in Edinburgh
It's hardly a surprise that Great Britain and its capital city London get far more coverage in the mainstream media, but up north is a whole country and culture that people often overlook. Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh is just as metropolitan and cosmopolitan as any part of London—and definitely worth a visit.
Going to Edinburgh
Most tourists can catch a flight to Edinburgh International Airport or take any number of trains from London to Waverley Railway Station. For actual in-city transportation, the city has 2 bus lines (Lothian and First), along with a service of Black Cabs that can carry up to 5 passengers at a time. Of course, the city is also built in such a way that all the major landmarks are never more than a 15-minute walk away from each other.
Here are just some of the places you can visit while you're in Edinburgh.
This impressive fortress in Old Town has been standing and open for a thousand years.
As the seat of politics in Scotland, this creatively-designed building was the brainchild of Spanish architect Enric Miralles.
Built in the year 1846 to commemorate the death of Sir Walter Scott, the Scott Monument is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city. Visitors can climb this Gothic spire and get a view of the whole city from 200 feet in the air.
Where once horses and cattle were sold, this historic center of commerce now offers a multitude of shops, vendor stalls, and restaurants on par with what a Londoner could find near Piccadilly Circus.
Museum of Scotland
Admission to this cultural institution is free and well worth a trip. Here you'll find an impressive collection of weapons and artifacts from Scotland's long history, dating all the way back to the age of Ancient Rome (who had settled in Britain for a time). Nearby is the Royal Museum, which has Victorian-era artworks and architecture.
Things to Do in Edinburgh
Whether you're in Edinburgh for a few days, a week, or even longer, here are some things you won't want to miss.
The national dish of Scotland is the haggis (which is more appetizing than it sounds), but the city has a whole smorgasbord of dishes to choose from. There are plenty of fish and chip shops around and several good pubs on the Shore area of Leith, where you can find anything from gourmet burgers to pizza and more.
Festival season in Edinburgh begins around the summertime, with the biggest arts festival known as “The Fringe” scheduled through the beginning of August.
For the best dancing and musical experience, the hottest place to be is Cabaret Voltaire. For local music acts and some classic rock, you can try Whistle Binkies, a club within earshot of the Royal Mile.
New Year's Eve
If you happen to visit during winter, you should stick around for Hogmanay, the biggest New Year's celebration in all of Scotland. The grand finale of this citywide event is a massive fireworks display set off from the top of Edinburgh Castle.