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Steeped in history and home to a variety of historical and cultural attractions, the capital of Scotland is the second most popular destination in the United Kingdom after London.
From its enchanting medieval heart to the elegance of New Town, Edinburgh is without a doubt a unique city filled with contrasts and surprises. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure and take a look at Culture Trip’s guide to the Scottish capital.
Deep beneath the Royal Mile, the city’s darkest secret is buried. The Real Mary King’s Close is a warren of underground hidden streets frozen in time and shrouded in mystery. As you wander through the rooms, each will offer you a better insight of how life was in the 17th century. Book your tickets and travel back in time through some fascinating tales of plague, murder, intrigue, ghosts and unexplained happenings.
In the heart of the city, between the Old and New Towns, you will find the Princes Street Gardens. Before starting your shopping day at the nearby street, sit by the Ross Fountain to enjoy the sunshine, have a picnic or take a stroll to see the floral clock and the numerous statues around. Although the best time to go is during spring and autumn, winter carousels and Christmas stalls offering delicious mulled cider will not disappoint either.
The wildest attraction in the country is only a short bus ride from the city centre. Recognised as one of the leading zoos worldwide, Edinburgh Zoo is home to over 1,000 rare animals from all over the world. Learn about some of them through a series of daily talks, see the UK’s only giant pandas and koalas and spend some delightful time on animal-based adventures.
The nightlife in Edinburgh has plenty to offer, but the Jazz Bar, which is nestled just a short walk from the train station, is worthy of special mention. It’s the longest standing independent jazz bar in the city, and has played host to jazz luminaries from all over the world. Head down on a Saturday to catch the World Premier Quintet – a newly hand-picked fivesome of artists who have never played together before and are often meeting each other for the first time with no setlist or rehearsal. You never know what you might get, and you might be lucky enough to witness the birth of a brand-new group.
Additional reporting by Callum Davies.