From history to Scottish cuisine – hit the streets of Edinburgh & experience the ‘world’s best city’


VISIT the place recently named ‘the best city in the world’, for a hit of history and vibrant culture, says Acting Lifestyle Editor Emma Ledger.

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Edinburgh Castle from Princess Street GardensCredit: Getty Images

Get a history lesson

One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Edinburgh’s medieval and classic architecture, narrow streets, passageways and winding stairs mean it’s best explored on foot.

Perched atop everything is Edinburgh Castle, giving fantastic views across the city, plus green hills and a hint of the blue sea beyond.

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Visit the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens East with the David Livingstone statue at its base

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Visit the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens East with the David Livingstone statue at its base

The castle complex is a live history lesson that doesn’t disappoint.

You could spend all day here – don’t miss St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest part, built around 1130, and the daily 1pm gun salute.

Entry costs £18 for adults, £11 for children under 15 and under-fives go free (Edinburghcastle.scot).

Refuel with a cuppa and perfect buttery bacon bap, £5.75, from nearby sister cafes Edinburgh Larder and Little Larder – the latter operating on a walk-in basis only (Edinburghlarder.co.uk).

Take tea on a yacht 

Give your feet a break by hopping on a sightseeing bus – tickets are valid for 24 hours and cost £16 (Edinburghtour.com/majestic-tour).

The route takes you all the way down to the coastal area of Leith, where The Royal Yacht Britannia is moored.

Take tea at the Royal Deck Tea Room on the Royal Yacht Britannia

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Take tea at the Royal Deck Tea Room on the Royal Yacht Britannia

During her 44-year-long career, the yacht travelled more than a million nautical miles and the Queen hosted celebs and world leaders, from Nelson Mandela to Winston Churchill, on board.

Check out the royal bedroom and gleaming engine room, before swinging by the Royal Deck Tea Room for a giant slice of carrot cake, £2.50.

Tickets cost £18 for adults, £9 for kids under 17 and under-fives go free (Royalyachtbritannia.co.uk)

Hit snooze

In a city that’s famously not shy of a party, finding a central-yet-sound-proofed hotel is a must.

The Novotel Edinburgh Centre is a stone’s throw from pub-filled Royal Mile and Princes Street, but offers a sanctuary of calm, complete with an indoor pool and spa to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

The Novotel Edinburgh Centre is a stone’s throw from pub-filled Royal Mile and Princes Street

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The Novotel Edinburgh Centre is a stone’s throw from pub-filled Royal Mile and Princes StreetCredit: Jo Hanley

Breakfast is a piled-high fresh buffet, and don’t leave without visiting the restaurant for its legendary haggis croquette with mashed potato and Drambuie sauce, £7.

A double room costs from £90 per night, including breakfast (Novotel.accor.com). 

Eat like a scot

The Dunstane Houses is a grand boutique hotel, set over two Victorian townhouses across the road from each other and serving up the best of Scottish cuisine.

Feast on Orkney scallops to start, crispy pork belly for main and finish up with local cheeses served with traditional oatcakes and chutneys, £35 for three courses.

Feast on Orkney scallops at The Dunstane Houses

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Feast on Orkney scallops at The Dunstane Houses

Wash it all down with an obligatory wee dram (or two) of whisky in refined and relaxed surroundings.

Make the most of any fine weather – Edinburgh often experiences all four seasons in one day –with a nightcap in the gardens.

A double room costs from £194 per night, including breakfast (Thedunstane.com). 

Head up high

An extravaganza of plants from around the world, the Royal Botanical Garden has a richly diverse collection dating back to the 17th century.

Set in over 70 acres, the Botanics – as it’s known to locals – has superb views of the city and makes a tranquil break from cobbled streets.

The Temperate Palm House at the Royal Botanic Garden

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The Temperate Palm House at the Royal Botanic Garden
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Entry is free (Rbge.org.uk). Feeling more adventurous?

Arthur’s Seat, a grassy volcanic hill rising up from the urban sprawl of Edinburgh, offers the best view of the city – if you can face the two-hour climb! 

FYI

A return train from London to Edinburgh takes just over 4½ hours and costs from £39.80 each way with Lumo (Lumo.co.uk).





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