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Tourist information about Edinburgh

The ‘festival city’ of Edinburgh is particularly popular during August when art, music and comedy lovers arrive in huge numbers for the month-long Edinburgh Festival.

The New Year, or ‘Hogmanay’ party is also one of Europe’s most popular events. But for the rest of the year, the atmospheric streets of the old city with its brooding castle, and the Georgian elegance of the New Town, make this one of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities.

Edinburgh is enjoying media interest with the completion of the Scottish Parliament building - although its architecture and cost may attract comment, - its financial services industry and its four universities.

Magnificent setting

The city is one of the longest continuously inhabited locations in northern Europe, which is hardly surprising given its setting, now with the Royal Mile running from the Castle past St Giles’ Cathedral down to the Parliament building and the Palace of Holyrood. Behind the palace rises Arthur’s Seat, a dramatic mini-mountain providing fine walking and panoramic views of the city and nearby coast.

To the north of the famous Princes Street, the main shopping thoroughfare, is the New Town, built to a Georgian plan and featuring fine house, crescents and squares. It now houses many of the city’s best hotels and restaurants. Below, on the Firth of Forth, is the old port of Leith, where the Royal Yacht Britannia is moored and is open to the public.

Pleasant excursions

To the south are the Pentland Hills – here, and elsewhere within easy reach, there’s a wide range of top-quality golf courses for Scotland is the home of golf. South Queensferry is a pleasant excursion with fabulous views of the Forth rail and road bridges.

The city houses many art galleries and museums, notably the National Gallery of Scotland; the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh Castle sits on the core of an extinct volcano and is home to the Edinburgh Tattoo, a popular military display in the summer.

Edinburgh Airport is 8 miles west and well served by budget airline carriers. There are regular train services from London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. This is a good job, as the city has limited parking and street parking is very expensive.