The second largest city in Scotland, Edinburgh is the capital and is the seat of Scottish Parliament. Famous for many things, amongst them the iconic Edinburgh Castle, Carlton Hill and elegant Prince's Street, the city is now probably best known for the Edinburgh Festival with its world class event, Edinburgh Fringe. The biggest and most successful performing arts festival in the world, Fringe attracts stars of international calibre and many more who simply want to make the big break. Further festivals like Hogmanay Street Party and Burns Night give you an idea that Edinburgh is a fun, party town.
The Old and New Georgian districts are now a UNESCO World Heritage site, so architecturally, the city is a true delight. The historic centre is virtually divided by the green oasis of Princes Street Gardens and stately Edinburgh Castle sits atop an extinct volcanic crag with the main artery, the Royal Mile, stretched ahead. The Old Town has a medieval plan and, in fact, has a huge underground network (which used to house immigrants at the time of the Industrial Revolution) where you can tour the immensity of this city below ground, Edinburgh Vaults. Tying in with this, the darker side of the city is well represented with ghostly tours and haunting tales, reminiscent of the notorious duo, Burke & Hare, murderers and grave robbers.
Part of the local lore and myth is that Robert Louis Stevenson's influence for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was the tale of Deacon Brodie, a staunch pillar of society by day and burglar by night. It certainly all adds to the atmosphere of the city! Edinburgh actually has many literary flags to fly, being home to Ian Rankin's "Inspector Rebus" series; and it was the birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), Muriel Spark (The Prime of Ms Jean Brodie), Sir Walter Scott (Rob Roy and Ivanhoe) and is now home to J.K. Rowling, author of the blockbuster Harry Potter series. Alexander Graham Bell also hailed from Edinburgh. Whist today Prince's Street may be renowned for great shopping, Murrayfield Stadium is a hit with sporting fans being home to Scotland's National Rugby Union team.
Golfers can also enjoy the proximity to Gullane, the Open Championship Course at Muirfield and the Open Qualifying Course at Dunbar - world-class links and parkland courses within easy access. To exit this stunning city of narrow, winding streets, elegant terraces and picturesque alleyways, drive just 10 miles south to MidLothian and visit Rosslyn Chapel, a medieval stone building on a rocky promontory with gorgeous Gothic carvings, immortalised in Dan Browne's Da Vinci Code. Set along the Firth of Forth, near the North Sea and the Pentland Hills, Edinburgh is a neoclassical gem, often referred to as the Athens of the North.
With something for everyone and a warm Scottish welcome, this is a city deserving of its great popularity.