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Welcome to Edinburgh, capital of “bonny” (pretty) Scotland, and one of Europe’s historic and cultural hubs. Medieval castles and palaces share the winding streets with magnificent museums and galleries, while more modern architecture looks on.
Book a flight to Edinburgh with Qatar Airways and take a “wee” stroll around the birthplace of telephone-inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who was a significant inspiration to Albert Einstein.
The city was also home to pioneering economist Adam Smith, James Bond actor Sean Connery, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the great detective Sherlock Holmes.
So where do you begin when trying to do justice to one of Europe’s cultural centres? Edinburgh Castle should be at the top of your list, and try also to make room for the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.
For a more sedate experience, try the Grassmarket area of Old Town, which has numerous quaint cafés, restaurants and shops. Nearby, on the corner of Nicolson and Drummond Street, is the former site of Nicolson's Café, where author JK Rowling reportedly penned the first Harry Potter novel. A memorial plaque now hangs in honour of the boy-wizard’s origins.
On your trip to Edinburgh you can get an unusual panoramic view of the city from the Camera Obscura on Castle Hill in Old Town. The apparatus focuses light into a dark room and gives a 360-degree view of the city outside.
Edinburgh has some outstanding concert halls and theatres. The Edinburgh Playhouse and Festival Theatre are two of the best. The Bedlam Theatre specialises in small, atmospheric productions. On your trip to Edinburgh you should also try to take in a visit to Arthur’s Seat, which is an extinct volcano just east of the city.
There are festivals in Edinburgh throughout the year, the most famous being the Edinburgh International Festival. There’s also the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Fringe Festival to enjoy, if you visit in August, when they are traditionally held.
Edinburgh has a fabulous selection of eateries, spread across the city, with something to suit all tastes. As well as the central area, there are superb restaurants and cafés in the West End and Leith areas. The area around the castle is good for Michelin-starred grandeur, but casual snacks are available from several smaller venues.
Edinburgh has some of the best fish and chip outlets in the UK. The Scottish twist comes in offering salt and sauce, rather than the English tradition of salt and vinegar, as accompaniments.
The city’s mile-long Princes Street is its main shopping thoroughfare and a must visit when you travel to EdinburghHere, tourist shops are intermingled with department and chain stores, but if you are in search of tourist trinkets and souvenirs, The Royal Mile in Old Town is ideal. You can also try George Street for designer items.
Essential facts about Edinburgh
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip