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Holidays in Edinburgh in Scotland

Holiday Guide...

Why holiday in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh at Christmas With the festive season and New Year’s Eve coming up we thought it would be worth saying a few words about one of the nation’s favourite venues for fun and frivolity over the period.

“It is what Paris ought to be” – Robert Louis Stevenson
Scotland’s capital city has been called many different names over the centuries, not all of them flattering. Some know it as ‘Auld Reekie’ (Scots for Old Smoky) because the buildings were heated with coal and wood fires which sent columns of thick smoke into the atmosphere.  Kinder names include the ‘ Athens of the North’ and ‘Empress of the North’.  But perhaps the best description comes from writer, Robert Louis Stevenson who was born in the city and said:  “It is what Paris ought to be”.   If this is a creating a somewhat confusing impression then why not visit and find out yourself which description best fits the place.

Edinburgh is served by its own airport just half an hour outside the city as well as by fast train services from England, Glasgow and further north into the highlands.  It is in the eastern part of the Central Lowlands of Scotland, bounded by the Firth of Forth to the north and the Pentland Hills skirting the city to the south.  Its setting is unique and dramatic.  The city sits on top of a series of extinct volcanoes and rocky crags which rise from the mainly flat landscape of the Lothians and its skyline is dominated by the imposing sight of Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s Crown Jewels.  Standing on its ramparts you can view sweeping terraces of Edinburgh’s Georgian villas as well as medieval lanes and cobbled streets, the famed Royal Mile and Princes Street.   

Edinburgh Festival Modern-day Edinburgh is a buzzing place welcoming over 1 million visitors a year.  This dynamic capital has something to appeal to everyone.  It holds the world-famous Edinburgh Festival, the largest arts festival in the world which literally takes over the city and offers every conceivable type of artistic feast for the senses including theatre, opera, ballet, classical music, rock, jazz, fringe theatre, street theatre and much more.   Its dates for 2011 are August 5 – 29 and it’s advisable to book accommodation early whether you want to stay in a peaceful log cabin or Scottish holiday lodge on the outskirts of the city and commute in or a city centre hotel.   Visit Edinburgh at a quieter time and you’ll still be able to enjoy fantastic theatre attracting some of the world's leading performers as well as galleries displaying cutting-edge art, great bars, restaurants and clubs all with a lively, cosmopolitan feel, but with an appealing Scottish edge.  Edinburgh also has some of the finest shopping, both for traditional Scottish merchandise like shortbread, clootie dumplings, more whiskies than there are days in a year and tartan as well as the latest designer labels in all the best shops including Harvey Nichols and Jenners which one of Scotland’s oldest department stores.

Fringe dates for 2011 are August 5 – 29 and it’s advisable to book accommodation early
After all the shopping and sophistication, don’t miss Edinburgh’s other many attractions.  There are two other castles within the city limits that chart Scotland’s turbulent history; the castle of Craigmillar is one of the most perfectly preserved and retains the character of a medieval stronghold. First built in the early 15th century, over the next two and a half centuries the castle became a comfortable residence surrounded by fine gardens and pastureland. Craigmillar Castle has an important part in the story of Mary Queen of Scots.  She fled there after the murder of Rizzio and it was here that the plot was hatched to murder Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley.  Today it is a handsome ruin with many private rooms linked to the hall of the old tower.  Less well know is Lauriston Castle, built much more recently – in Edwardian times – and housing a fine collection of decorative arts.

Just outside the City Centre is Leith and it is here on the edge of Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh’s waterfront with over 70 shops and a cinema, that The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed following 40 years of service to the Royal Family.  On a stroll around the decks of this magnificent ship you’ll discover how famous guests including Sir Winston Churchill, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were entertained on board.

It’s open 365 days a year and is home to over 1,000 animals
Edinburgh ZooThe children will love to spend the day at Edinburgh Zoo.  It’s open 365 days a year and is home to over 1,000 animals.  It has links with conservation projects in Uganda and at the zoo itself, helping to save endangered wildlife.  Exhibits at the zoo include ‘rainbow landings’, an area of free-flying birds, the Budongo Trail, penguin parade and hilltop safari.

uralists won’t want to miss a visit to Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden.  It is a world renowned centre for plant research, conservation and education in the most glorious setting just outside the City.  Divided into four gardens, more than 15,000 plant species are grown here making this a plant collection to rival Kew Gardens in West London.  The four gardens at the Royal Botanic Garden are:  

  • ‘Windows on the World’ at the heart of which is a magnificent Victorian Palm House housing steamy rainforest plans through to those that like desert conditions
  • The Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden – a tribute to a much-loved member of the Royal family drawing on Celtic imagery with ornamental plantings from Asia, North America, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere
  • A Garden For All Seasons – this has a world famous rock garden, a Chinese hillside and, in summer, the most fragrant herbaceous border
  • The John Hope Gateway – this new garden is the most instructive of the four offering visitors the chance to discover the science behind plants through interactive experiences and a biodiversity garden.

Edinburgh is a beautiful and inspiring place.  Make sure it’s on your itinerary when next you travel to Scotland.

If you are looking for something totally unique in terms of short break accommodation in Edinburgh, why not have a look at Drum mohr. Offering Scotland holiday lodges near Edinburgh, in fact no more than a short bus ride away, it allows you to enjoy a truly rural setting for your break, in  well appointed lodge accommodation, with your own hot tub. Our customer reports have been fabulous. The concept of a country holiday lodge break with a hot tub within a stone’s through of the city centre is a real winner! The bus stops at the end of the road if you fancy a car free visit in to the city.