2014 is the year of Homecoming Scotland, a year of events designed to “showcase all that’s great about Scotland”. In that spirit we thought it was time we took a look at what the country’s capital city has to offer in the coming year.
Climb Arthur’s seat
No other city has an extinct volcano in its limits. Towering over the city at a height of 823ft, Arthur’s Seat offers stunning views over the city and its surrounding landscape. Located in the middle of Holyrood Park, this attraction is easy to get to and a must see for any visit to the city.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Spread over 70 acres, the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens offer an excellent year round attraction. With its roots in the 17th century, the botanic gardens are a well established hotspot for tourists, especially during those cold winter days.
Edinburgh’s most famous attraction, Edinburgh Castle has a rich history of famous occupiers and different uses from an ancient stronghold to an army headquarters. The castle is home to oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles. The scepter was presented to James IV by Pope Alexander VI in 1494, and first worn by James V for the coronation of his wife, Queen Mary of Guise in 1540.
The best time to visit would be 1pm daily (except Sundays), as a field gun lets rip with a burst of shellfire. This tradition began in 1861 to help ships in the nearby Firth of Forth to set their maritime clocks, today the tradition remains as one of the city’s most unique tourist attractions.
The world’s largest art festival with over 40,000 performances packed into 250 venues across the city, the Fringe Festival is a definite must see for any visit to the city. Taking place over the month of August every year, the Fringe Festival offers shows catering to a number of different tastes, from big name talents to unknown artists looking to build their reputations. The festival includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, cabaret shows, musicals, operas, music, spoken word and exhibitions.
National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland has recently re-opened after a three year, £47m refurbishment. Visitors get the chance to explore the diversity of the natural world, along with world cultures, art and design and science and technology all under one roof. This stunning museum houses 16 new galleries with over 8000 objects. Just a few of these new attractions include Dolly the sheep, a 12m cast of a T-Rex skeleton and the jawbone of a sperm whale.
The Writer’s Museum celebrates the work of three greats of the literary world: Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott. Located just off the Royal Mile, visitors can see portraits, rare books and personal objects including Burn’s writing desk, Scott’s printing press on which he produced the Waverley Novels and Scott’s own dining table and rocking horse. With free tours running on Thursdays and Saturdays, there has never been a better time to see of these rare artifacts.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art houses the country’s best collection of modern and contemporary art. Split between two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, the museum is home to work by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi along with a large collection of Dada and Surrealist art. With an ever changing schedule of new events, and free admission, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a must see venue for visitors.
Where to Stay
The Balmoral Hotel
Located in the centre of the city, the Balmoral Hotel is a good option for those wanting to see all the city has to offer and relax in style. Boasting great views over the city, the Balmoral Hotel also offers a range of 400 whiskies in their Scotch bar.
The Best Western Kings Manor Hotel is the best option for those looking for a tranquil location whilst also having easy access to Edinburgh’s city centre.
Easy Hotel Edinburgh
For a more central location, the Easy Hotel Edinburgh is a good option for those wanting to see the most of the city’s great attractions.