Edinburgh is one of the United Kingdom’s more classic cities, with a castle located near the center and a characteristic old town. While on holiday in Edinburgh I visited many different places, learning much about the Scottish capital. In fact, the city recently won a Destination Award for 2013 from the travel and review portal HolidayCheck. Although Scotland typically doesn’t have the finest weather, Edinburgh is conquerable with the cover of a rain coat, although the sun does shine frequently. To help you plan your trip, here are some suggestions on how to get around and things to do in Edinburgh.
Things To Do
Edinburgh castle is one of the most spectacular castles that I have visited, set on a hilltop overlooking the city and providing panoramic views. Back when it was created in the 12th century the castle was a cleverly planned fortress, as the cliffside made the structure hard to lay siege to. Ticket prices for entry to the castle vary depending on age, although in my case I paid £16 (about $26 USD) because I bought my ticket online (complimentary tour included) and used the fast track ticket pick up.
The ramparts were certainly one of the most spectacular parts of the site, as you can walk around the outside of the castle and get an all-round view of Edinburgh. The castle may have even been inhabited during the Bronze Age, as some evidence has been found of old homes being built on the rock. Travel Tip: Because the castle is built at the top of the old town of Edinburgh it’s recommended to explore both attractions in one day to make the most of your time.
Edinburgh Zoo — which holds 100 years of history — is unique compared to many other zoos in the United Kingdom simply because of some of their animal offerings. For example, Edinburgh Zoo is the only U.K. zoo with koala bears, and is the first to breed penguins in-house. This interesting attraction is also in the news a lot because of the Giant Panda’s they are keeping there, as they’re currently trying to breed them. Tickets for this attraction are £16.00 (about $26 USD) for adults, £11.50 (about $11.50 USD) for children 3-15 years, free for children under 3 and £13.50 (about $22 USD) for concession. Discounts are available for families and groups.
Edinburgh is the only city in the world with an extinct volcano within its boundaries. Adventurous travelers can head to Holyrood Park to see Arthur’s Seat, the tallest of Edinburgh’s seven hills at 250.5 meters (822 feet) high. Visitors can hike to the top as well as visit the Our Dymanic Earth science center for a fun and educational experience. Interestingly, the natural attraction is located 1.6 kilometers (about 1 mile) east of Edinburgh Castle.
Getting around Edinburgh is easy, as you can easily get around by bike, on foot or with public transport. If you want to explore the old town, the best way of getting around is definitely on foot, as you can then simply stroll into the castle at the top of the old town without having to mess about locking bikes up. Most of the attractions are either in the new or old town, and are about a 15-minute walk from one another. Cycling is not always the best way of getting around due to the hilliness of the city and the cobblestone roads. If you don’t feel like walking, buses are around £1.50 (about $2.40 USD) per ride. Keep in mind buses typically get held up in rush hour traffic, so if you want to get somewhere during rush hour walking or cycling is recommended.
Penguins at the Edinburgh Zoo. Photo courtesy of Daveybot. Arthur’s Seat. Photo courtesy of jcookfisher.