The Scottish capital will always have a special place in my heart, in essence because I associate so many fond innocent childhood memories of summer holidays with my now deceased grandparents. I have fond memories of climbing Arthurs Seat, the slot machines on Portobello beach and plentiful supplies of fish suppers (this reminded me my visit to Warsaw). As an adult I find the city, (indeed Scotland as a whole), no less alluring, if you have never visited take it from me it is well worth it.
I last visited and stayed with family during the 2011 Edinburgh festival, which runs annually from Late July to Early September. I should probably say that this is the best time to visit, as there is just that little bit more going on. Taken with the Edinburgh fringe, the Edinburgh festival is recognized as the most original, dynamic and unique festival of performing arts in Europe, some say the world. Either way such vacuous and unnecessary accolades do not concern me. Take the time to explore the innumerable avant-garde theatre performances by troupes from literally all over the world. Hard hitting, uncompromising yet bitingly satirical political theater and poetry, politicians of all persuasions could do very well and visit at this time, to find out what real people actually think of them. It is a cliché but unless you spend a good few weeks here you will never see it all. There is one word of warning accommodations can be expensive, please book in advance over the festival period.
Scotland has an unfounded reputation as a place where junk food is king; this is most definitely not the case. However, Scotland is home to some unique culinary curiosities and when in Rome as they say you must have the fish supper, the Scots pie, the haggis and of course the delightful macaroni cheese pie. All of these are best consumed after you have filled your belly with nips of the fine scotch whiskey and 80 shilling ale, be warned it has a kick. I have visited the city for the four day Hogmanay New Year celebrations a fine advert for the city, it really is a street party worthy of a global reputation, but a little to organized for my tastes, 100,000 people milling about from one venue to the next in the freezing cold, not really my scene, but as the saying in Scotland “on ye go” and don’t let me put you off. Similarly shopping is not my thing but a visit to Princess and George Street should satisfy your retail cravings.
In 1995, Edinburgh Old and New town were designated UNESCO world heritage sites; this is well deserved and the area is home to many of the city’s 4500 grade 1 and 2 listed buildings. From the Princes Street gardens themselves a great place to rest and you can clearly see Edinburgh destinations you must visit, the castle, allow a good few hours to take in the view and explore this pivotal representation of Scottish history. Well that’s it; I’m out of words before I even have the chance to mention the stunning museums and art galleries.