Rio De Janeiro? Sydney? You have to go a long way to find a city that can compete with Edinburgh ’s dramatic setting.
Dominated by Edinburgh Castle , from its regal position on top of Castle Rock’s volcanic crag, Edinburgh is a city whose pulse beats with festivity. During the Edinburgh Festival , the City’s population doubles as the city erupts with culture. The city’s two halves, Old Town and New Town, comprise a modern affluent city that retains a classic feel, resplendent in authentic Georgian and Medieval architecture.
Old Town is a UNESCO Word Heritage Site; granted such status for its unique reformation-era buildings, and preservation of medieval buildings. It’s sloping streets, flanked by tenement housing become the focus of the city’s Fringe Festival celebrations in August – the largest performing arts festival in the world, and attract the footsteps of millions of visitors each year. Alive with bars, restaurants and a great number of specialist shops, Old Town harbours many of Edinburgh’s most important buildings.
At the foot of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse has welcomed Kings and Queens since the 15th century and is the official residence of the Queen when she is in Scotland. The Scottish Par-liament was built in Holyrood marking the area as the fulcrum of Scottish politics in post-devolution Scotland. St Gile’s Cathedral is on the Royal Mile, and spitting on the Heart Of Midlothian mosaic, embedded in the pavement outside, is said to be good luck.
The Edinburgh Festival is the most rigorous challenge yet to the idea that a day should be restricted to just 24 hours. Not one singular festival, but several. Including: the International Festival, showcasing opera, dance and theatre; Book Festival ; Film Festival ; Jazz Festival ; Edinburgh Mela , with intercultural music, dance and more; Fringe Festival and Military Tattoo . The latter takes place on the Castle’s esplanade and has become so popular that its display of drums, pipes and martial music, taking inspiration from a host of cultures, is broadcast globally.
Edinburgh also conducts Scotland’s, and arguably the world’s, New Year celebrations as Hogmanay gets under way with the Castle’s cannon sounding at midnight. Hogmanay has become such a popular event that it is now an all ticket affair as thousands upon thousands of revellers pack the streets to usher in the new year.
With so much going on at any given time, Edinburgh is a city worth visiting throughout the year. There’s great shopping to be had, with the shops on Princes Street offering good views of the Castle’s grandeur, which is accentuated when illuminated at night. The city’s nightlife is tireless; Edinburgh’s clubs , bars , restaurants will keep you fed and watered as the theatre , stand-up comedy and music keep you entertained. And for a moment of calm, Princes Street Gardens offer an annex of greenery, an antidote to the city centre’s bustle. While a climb to the summit of Arthur’s Seat offers an opportunity to fill the lungs full of fresh air and the eyes full with the magnificent panoramas of this unique and beautiful city.
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