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Things To Do In Edinburgh
Edinburgh, one of the crown jewels of Scotland, is a city that is equal parts historic and contemporary. From its ancient streets and castles and palaces to modern museums, cinemas and theatres, from pagan festivals like Hogmanay and All Saints’ to music concerts and plays, there is just so much to do and enjoy here in Edinburgh. You can stroll down iconic streets, enjoy some fried Mars bars, check out hilly monuments or just pick a nice park (most of them are royal) and just chill under the noon sun!
Hike up Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat is a high ground over the city of Edinburgh, from where you will get probably some of the best views. It is also the largest portion of the extinct volcano and houses the Castle Rock and Calton Hill on its surface. The best way to reach Arthur’s seat is via a half-hour hike, that takes you up the winding ways. Do carry a rain-proof jacket or coat to battle the wind, rain or storm as none are predictable.
Stroll through Old Town
Edinburgh’s Old Town is an old, medieval area, no surprises there. It is a complete contrast from the New Town or the George Street area, and caters to locals and tourists alike with its Victorian houses, cobblestone streets, wide sidewalks and small garage shops and boutiques. The Victoria Street, Royal Mile and Grassmarket are all a part of Old Town. Visit the Witchery for some traditional Scottish food, walk across the George IV Bridge, take photos near the Greyfriars Bobby statue and enjoy Edinburgh like you belong to the 17th Century.
Explore Edinburgh Castle
The Edinburgh Castle is another Scottish monument on a hilltop. It is a lucrative tourist attraction and tops most lists for things to do in this city. The castle sits atop an extinct volcano too, and is a legendary structure in itself. Every afternoon at 1 o’clock a cannon is fired from here to honour a 19th Century marine tradition. Do plan a visit accordingly to hear this phenomenon.
Visit Holyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace is the Queen’s official residence when in Scotland. She is said to have had many a Christmases and social parties at this place. It is located near the Parliament and hence a visit to Holyrood can be clubbed with other sightseeing prospects. The palace in itself is a grand tale of royalty and ancient old blood history. You must ensure that you do not miss the chambers of Mary Queen of Scots, a very celebrated and controversial historical figure in Scottish and French history.
Go Watch the Scottish Ballet
Aside from Scottish castles and lochs and monsters, the Ballet is also renowned around here. Visit the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in the city to experience ballet and opera the Scottish style, performed in this 19th century monstrosity of a theatre. A word of trivia: the theatre is apparently haunted, but don’t worry, the ghouls or ghosts don’t disrupt performances.
Enjoy the views from Camera Obscura
Camera Obscura is one of Edinburgh’s oldest attractions, opened back in 1835. It is a visual feast of illusions, tricks and hands-on activities dealing with light and optics. There is a mirror maze where you will enjoy getting lost, and an Ames Room to shrink everybody so small that you can’t help but shout ‘Honey I shrunk the kids!” At the end of all this craziness, don’t forget to climb to the top of the building and see the city of Edinburgh stretch out around you, cool, quiet, but larger than life itself.
Taste a Drop or Two of Whisky
Scotch is the wrong word. If you are in Scotland, its whisk’e’y, the smooth, sharp, strong whiskey. The Scots have been known for making the best malts in the world, not since yesterday but since centuries. So what better activity to pursue in Edinburgh than a whiskey tasting tour? There are many guided walking tours, as well as special bars that offer these tastings. They also take you through the making process for each, talk about the history of whiskey and offer you other souvenirs too. Some good places to go taste whiskey yourself include Devil's Advocate, Amber Bar, Scotch Whisky Experience at Castlehill and Bow Bar in Victoria Street.
Watch a Film at Cameo Cinema
Yes, it’s called a film and not a movie in this part of the world. The Cameo Cinema of Edinburgh has been around for more than a century and is apparently Quentin Tarantino’s favourite cinema theatre. Since its refurbishment recently, the cinema has modern comfy plush seats and all the ideal snacks to go with it. Special screenings here include curated seasons of a particular director or genre marathons, as well as European classics. In case watching a film is too long a time duration to spend for you, you can chill for a while at their in-house bar.