What to see in Edinburgh

Just where do you start when you are visiting a city like Edinburgh? You are in safe hands. Let Capital Experience guide you through the cobbled streets…

Scotland’s capital city is unlike any other. History meshes seamlessly with a sense of excitement for the future. Edinburgh’s streets are lined with as many independent retailers and boutiques as they are the big names you’re familiar with, and a year-round line up of world-famous festivals are complemented by a steady stream of events for everyone.

Shopping in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s city centre is spread across its Old and New Towns, which together form the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Princes Street, running alongside an unbroken view of Edinburgh Castle, and accompanied along its length by Princes Street Gardens, is where you’ll find many of the best High Street names, while on George Street, running parallel to Princes Street, you’ll find some of the world’s most chic names in fashion, with bars and restaurants to match.

Grassmarket, Edinburgh

If you’re after a more boutique experience, make your way to the West End, home to independent tailoring, boutiques, florists and delicious food, or consider visiting the Grassmarket (left), where the mixture of eateries, bars and vintage and local designer shops mean you’ll want to spend hours exploring every nook and cranny.

For the destination shopping mall experience, take a bus or taxi to Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre or The Gyle. The revamped St James Centre in the town centre won’t be ready until 2020.

Get out and about in Edinburgh

A compact city, Edinburgh is easy to get around. The majority of its biggest and best attractions are within an easy walking distance of one another. Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline, connected to Holyrood Palace via the Royal Mile, which is lined with eateries, shops and bars.

The city’s parks and gardens offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets, no matter where you are. Holyrood Park is home to Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano from which you’re rewarded with 360 degree views across the city after an easy hike. For a different perspective, try Calton Hill, where you can also climb the Nelson Monument – or why not take a guided tour up the Scott Monument on Princes Street? For an easy and beautiful walk across the city, follow the Water of Leith as it winds its way from the Pentland Hills to the shores of Leith.

If you’re short of time, and don’t mind getting up early, you could try a running tour of the city. Run the Sights offer group tours set at a gentle pace before the city wakes up. Stopping at key landmarks, your guide will tell you the history behind it all. You just need your trainers!

National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s numerous museums and galleries are generally free to enter and offer a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and other activities. The National Gallery of Scotland (left) is accompanied by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to make Scotland’s capital an art-lover’s paradise, while the National Museum of Scotland, People’s Story, Museum of Edinburgh and City Art Centre are just a few of the places in the city where you can easily spend hours taking everything in.

What’s on in Edinburgh

A year-round programme of festivals – including the world’s biggest performing arts festival – means that no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find something to get involved in.

Keep up to date with This is Edinburgh’s Guide to What’s On in Edinburgh, a frequently-updated list of what not to miss around the city, from plays and musicals to exhibitions, special events, art installations and the festivals you might not have heard about.

The Edinburgh Festival Wheel in Princes Street Gardens is now running until 2 September, while 13-22 July sees the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival attract some of the best talent from around the world. July also sees Edinburgh’s celebrations of the women who campaigned for universal suffrage 100 years ago continue, and exhibitions aplenty turn the spotlight onto Scottish pop music, art, photography, literature and more.

August brings with it the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. See our feature with our pick of the fests. Celebrate Scottish grassroots youth football with the Edinburgh Cup, or head to the Commonwealth Pool to for the diving portion of the 2018 European Championships.

September sees the return of the Edinburgh Riding of the Marches, where hundreds of horses and their riders will make their way up the Royal Mile, a spectacle not to be missed. The Edinburgh Kiltwalk gives you the chance to raise money for a charity of your choice and get out and about in your tartan with thousands of others. Doors Open Days will give you access to locations throughout the city for free – many of which are never open to the public during the rest of the year.

For more details of all of the above, and for the latest news of what’s happening in Edinburgh, visit edinburgh.org/whats-on

Learn more about Edinburgh at This is Edinburgh – the official guide to Edinburgh.

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