Enjoy a more refined class of holiday in Edinburgh, a global capital of culture with a chocolate-box setting

Scotland's longstanding capital city, Edinburgh is second only to London as a UK holiday destination. That's no surprise, given the vast array of sights in this city of 490,000 inhabitants. Regular Air France flights from Cape Town or Johannesburg to Edinburgh mean you can sample the delights of the city at any time of the year. As part of the UK, the local currency in Edinburgh is the pound sterling. The UK is not part of the Schengen Area, so special travel and customs formalities will apply.

Like the rest of the UK, Edinburgh has a temperate, maritime climate. The city is relatively dry, but the wind is never far away. However, the best time to stay in Edinburgh will depend more on your particular interests rather than the weather, as fine (or poor) weather can be had at any time of the year.

Edinburgh's long history means that it boasts castles, cathedrals, palaces and grand town-houses galore. Edinburgh castle is instantly recognizable upon its vantage point above the main thoroughfare, Princes Street. Princes Street roughly divides the New Town from the Old Town. These two quite distinct districts each have their own charm. Excellent shopping is available on George Street in the New Town, which is a late 18th century addition to the city, characterized by imposing mansions and small squares and gardens (mostly private). The Old Town developed organically, resulting in a fascinating jumble of narrow streets, stone staircase shortcuts, closes and 'wynds' (narrow lanes between houses).

Many of Edinburgh's most famous sights lie on or just off the Royal Mile, so called because it runs between the Castle and the royal palace of Holyroodhouse - a distance of one Scots Mile. Favourite attractions include St Giles' Cathedral, Greyfriars churchyard, the Scottish Parliament, Mary King's Close and the Camera Obscura. St Columba's Free Church at the top end of the Royal Mile also boasts beautiful interiors.

Edinburgh - travel to the festival capital of the world!

Edinburgh is known worldwide for 'the Festival', but in truth, there is no single programme of events, rather a collection of multiple festivals which run mostly in August and September. The various festivals include:
  • Edinburgh International Festival (theatre, dance, music, visual arts)
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe (best known for comedy)
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • Edinburgh Military Tatoo
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
Visitors should note that accommodation can be very hard to find during these months in Edinburgh, so you are advised to book well in advance. Airplane ticket prices may also be higher during the festival and Edinburgh's other major annual event, Hogmanay.
If you feel the need to escape from the hubbub of the city centre, there are plenty of options on offer. Leith, Edinburgh's port, dates back to at least the 12th century and contains many historical buildings. The area has been revitalized over the past 15 years and is an excellent place for fine dining, boasting two Michelin-starred restaurants. Also based in Leith is the Royal Yacht Britannia. Its last journey was to a berth alongside Ocean Terminal, a Sir Terence Conran-designed shopping and entertainment complex. Access to the ship is through the shopping centre.
Edinburgh is noted for being a very green city. You can hardly fail to notice Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano located right in the centre of Edinburgh. The views from the top are breathtaking, in all senses of the word! For less keen walkers, the Botanical Gardens are a haven of peace and quiet, while the beautiful Pentland Hills just outside the city can be reached by public transport.
Also outside the city limits, a little way past Edinburgh airport lies the pretty village of South Queensferry in the shadow of the world-famous Forth Rail bridge. This iconic structure, which once held the world record for the longest single cantilever bridge span, is worth the journey in itself.

Festival fan or otherwise, these websites will help ensure your Edinburgh holiday is a roaring success…

The following internet sites contain all you need to know to plan your upcoming trip to Edinburgh