Edinburgh always had a lot to offer, but today this city is more famous for its art festivals, creative culture and student life than it’s rich long history.


A labyrinth of cobbled streets busting with tourists and locals day and night. Haggis with your breakfast, a warm tweed scarf around your neck, and a flask of whiskey is all you’ll need to start your discovery.

Edinburgh was built around an extinct volcano giving it a hilly skyline with narrow Gothic buildings rising higher and higher over each hill. Edinburgh castle dominates the sky, its high brick walls edging close to the rock edge appearing as it it’s growing out of the mountain itself, it’s absolutely spectacular.

Photo by Kim Traynor

A labyrinth of cobbled streets busting with tourists and locals day and night. Haggis with your breakfast, a warm tweed scarf around your neck, and a flask of whiskey is all you’ll need to start your discovery.

Edinburgh was built around an extinct volcano giving it a hilly skyline with narrow Gothic buildings rising higher and higher over each hill. Edinburgh castle dominates the sky, its high brick walls edging close to the rock edge appearing as it it’s growing out of the mountain itself, it’s absolutely spectacular.

Photo by Christopher Lyons

When visiting any city I aim to have my own unique experience by avoiding tourist traps at all costs, but this time, I had to make an exception. I arrived on a late sunny afternoon, awed at my new surroundings my boyfriend suggested we take the open bus tour. The bus offers a higher view and you can see much further than you would on street level, the speedy tour gives you a good idea of the size of the city and which areas you might want to revisit.

We checked in to our 18th century AirBnB room and met our local host Igor, a film and music video producer. He offered his local knowledge and invited us to one of his film screenings where a few local bands were playing also. The event was at the beautiful Warburton Gallery, housed in a superb space on Victoria street, with a circular atrium three floors high. The spectators spread across each floor surrounding the performance space from all angles, it’s an intimate space that encapsulates everyone into the heart of the performance. We were treated to some great music and film and felt momentarily amerced in the local creative social pocket.

Photo by Christopher Lyons

The Royal Mile is one of the more beaten paths, but it’s one which length is worth walking many times over. The mile-long street is on a gradual incline, running though the Old Town, starting from the controversial new parliament building leading up to the ancient castle. This cobbled street offers much more than just souvenir stores, Scottish pubs and cafes, in the summer it hosts the notable Edinburgh Festival when it’s flooded with performers from all over the world.

The Royal Mile has 76 side lanes called closes (or enclosures). These narrow side streets are named after a past resident and in the early days they used to lead to private properties. Today they are opened to public, each arch you pass through leaves you curious to discover what might be on the other end. Some closes lead steeply downhill to other open streets, others have stairs leading up to an upper lever sheet or a courtyard. Each close, so different from the other leaving you wanting to explore all of them.

The New Town was built in the 18th century, the elegant Georgian buildings housed many of the cities upper class. These streets are filled with high end market stalls and sophisticated design boutiques offering a contrast to the windy narrow streets of the Old Town.

Photo by Christopher Lyons

Edinburgh is as great at preserving it’s rich history as it is proud of it’s unique scotch whisky, haggis and real tweed hats. No trip is complete without trying a couple of the spirits Edinburgh has to offer.

There is no lack of places to taste and learn about whisky, many pubs and bars will have a variety available for you to taste and the waiter will happily give you recommendations. The Scotch Whisky Experience is one of the more obvious attractions, however if you like to travel like a local, then you will find that most local bar or pub will offer whisky tasting. The whisky Rooms run whisky tasting sessions daily, they will tell you about the history, process and tasting notes without the barrel ride around the factory. Alternatively, seating by the bar and asking the weather for two of his favourite whisks is as good an experience in my books.

Edinburgh landscape is filled with green hills and rocky peaks. Holyrood Park is a short walk from the Royal Mile, situated in the centre of the city and within it is Arthurs Seat, the highest point in the park, rising 251m above sea level. Ascending the peak is not an easy task but absolutely worth the reward. It offers a spectacular view of the entire city to the edges of the surrounding sea.

Photo by Fkwiatkowski

Edinburgh is small enough that you could walk almost anywhere, you’ll bump into the same people you know, and a place where the local coffee shop barristers will know your name. At the same time it’s a city big enough to offer a great deal of variety, streets you wouldn’t mind getting lost in and a culture offering an unlimited amount of creative events and places to see.

Photo by Christopher Lyons

During the summer the streets are buzzing with performers, musicians and spectators visiting from all corners of the globe. In the winter the city is cool, the streets atmospheric, and the air frosty, but the city calendar is as busy as ever, each day packed with events, to see everything will be close to impossible. The annual Hogmanay outdoor party brings everyone together to celebrate the new year, the city is magically lit unlike any another time of the year, the atmosphere is joyous and people come out on to the streets for music, fireworks, friendships and they bring their Scottish spirit along for a big celebration.