Places To See Edinburgh



Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland and the seventh-most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council is one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a 30-square-mile (78 km2) rural area.

Located in the south-east of Scotland, Edinburgh lies on the east coast of the Central Belt, along the Firth of Forth, near the North Sea. Owing to its spectacular, rugged setting and vast collection of Medieval and Georgian architecture, including numerous stone tenements, it was considered by Sir John Betjeman one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city was one of the major centres of the Enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, earning it the nickname Athens of the North. The Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city. In May 2010, it had a total of 40 conservation areas covering 23% of the building stock and 23% of the population, the highest such ratios of any major city in the UK. In the 2009 mid year population estimates, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 477,660.

The city is well-known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, a collection of official and independent festivals held annually over about four weeks from early August. The number of visitors attracted to Edinburgh for the Festival is roughly equal to the settled population of the city. The most famous of these events are the Edinburgh Fringe (the largest performing arts festival in the world), the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Other events include the Hogmanay street party, Burns Night and the Beltane Fire Festival. Edinburgh attracts 1 million overseas visitors a year, making it the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, after London.

1.) Old Town

With a fascinating history that’s impossible to ignore, every one of the tightly packed buildings in the Old Town has earned its place in history. The Royal Mile makes up the main spine of the area, running from Edinburgh Castle at the top to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Scottish Parliament at its foot, surrounded by steeply sloping streets and mysterious wynds. By the 18th Century the cramped conditions of the High Street had prompted the need for expansion, and saw plans for a New Town come together.

2.) New Town
In 1766 a competition for the best architectural scheme for the proposed New Town was held. Six plans were considered, and James Craig's scheme was chosen. The elegant Georgian architecture this involved now provides the backdrop to a number of equally stylish shops, bars and restaurants. Although nowadays Princes Street is commonly regarded as the main street of this scheme, George Street was the backbone of the plan; it was built, at 100 feet wide, 20 feet wider than either Princes Street or Queen Street.

3.) West End
Perfect for boutique shopping and plenty of eating and drinking options, the cobbled streets of the West End are only a few minutes walk from Princes Street. Two of the best for retail indulgence are William Street and Stafford Street with a number of independent stores offering everything from interiors to exclusive designer clothes, quirky jewellery and vintage eveningwear.

4.) Grassmarket
Once a medieval market place and site for public executions, the area is now known for eating, drinking and independent shops all in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. Executions ceased in the Grassmarket in 1784 but names of some of the area's pubs reflect its bloody history, such as The Last Drop and Maggie Dickson's. Now its cobbled streets, traditional buildings and quirky shops, pubs and restaurants make the Grassmarket a magnet for visitors.

5.) Leith
Edinburgh’s city quarter by the sea is a great place for eating, drinking and shopping. It is also home to The Royal Yacht Britannia. Only ten minutes from Edinburgh's city centre, historical Leith is full of cultural influence and historical architecture yet calm with waterfront serenity. The area bustles with restaurants, bars, bistros and boutiques and includes the stylish Ocean Terminal shopping complex. Browse the shops, take a walking tour, search for your favourite Scotch whisky or indulge your passion for fashion.

Make the most of your visit to Edinburgh with these top 5 city views:

1.) Calton Hill
Climb the steps from Waterloo Place at the east end of Princes Street to this monument-covered hill for panoramic views of the city and beyond. Among the cluster of monuments, the twelve columns of Edinburgh's disgrace - so called because of controversy over its completion - makes up part of Ediburgh's unique city skyline.

2.) Arthur's Seat
The city's highest climb (250m) is in fact an extinct volcano. Follow any paths from Holyrood Park to take you to the top in around 30 minutes for stunning panoramas or take a gentle stroll or cycle around the one way road for a number of different views of the city. Parking is available near the Palace of Holyroodhouse and at all lochsides.

3.) George & Hanover Street
Take some time out from shopping at this crossroads in the New Town to admire the view over the Firth of Forth to the Kingdom of Fife.

4.) The Shore, Leith
For a different perspective, take a stroll along The Shore in Leith, a unique blend of old and new in Edinburgh's city quarter by the sea.

5.) Dean Bridge
In the west end of the city, the 100ft tall Dean Bridge provides great views across the Water of Leith and Dean Village below. From the west end of Princes Street, take a stroll along Queensferry Street for great views from either side of the bridge.


Royal Yacht BritanniaScottish Parliament


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