Europe, Scotland, Travel and Tea

Edinburgh Offers More than Just a Festival

If you decide to see more of the UK instead of travelling abroad then there are some terrific cities for you to explore. One of the finest places in the country for a number of reasons is the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. As well as the top Festival, this place also offers a spectacular castle and a stunning New Years party among other things.

The Festival

One of the main reasons why people visit Edinburgh is to enjoy the famous Festival which takes places here every year. This isn’t the only reason for coming here but it is a fantastic occasion. During the month of August this elegant city gets taken over by comedians, writers, fire eaters, poets and all sorts of other performers. The hotels tends to get booked out at this time of year, but if you enjoy a bit of culture then it is well worth making the effort to come here. Staying out of town is a good bet, with a good rail system linking the capital to many other towns in the region. Be sure to book tickets in advance for any of the shows you plan to go to, as these can sell out very quickly once word spreads about them.

The Castle

One of the first things you will see when you arrive to Edinburgh is the castle. This is one of the most imposingly situated castles in the world, overlooking Princes Street imperiously from on top of a dormant volcano. The interior of the castle is probably a little bit disappointing for most people. Certainly if you have seen some of the country’s best castles you will be left a little underwhelmed by this one. However, it is worth taking the time to walk up here, as it offers an outstanding view of Edinburgh. This is the best place to go to in order to get familiarised with the layout of the city and to plan your day of sightseeing. The castle also marks the start of the Royal Mile, which is a fantastic stretch of the city which covers some of the top sights. The Royal Mile leads you down to Holyrood Palace and is where you are most likely to see bagpipers and tartan clothing for sale. This is also where many of the street performers head to during the Festival.

The New Year Party

Another huge event in this city is the party they celebrate on New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay in Scotland). This is a massive event, with thousands of revellers and several music stages on Princes Street. It can be freezing cold at this time of year, so you will need to be sure to turn up well wrapped up if you are going to hang around until midnight. It is also a surprisingly cosmopolitan event in which you might struggle to hear many Scottish accents. A lot of Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans travel to Edinburgh to study or to work and many of them head out to enjoy a traditional Scottish hogmanay during the street party.

Photo by brostad on Flickr

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