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Scotland’s capital is one of the world’s most intriguing, upbeat, elegant and historic small cities. Here are a few places to eat, drink, hear music, catch a festival or even see a castle when you’re in town.

 

Where to drink

It’s mostly about the scotch, from sipping whisky in Edinburgh’s smallest pub, the Half–Way House, to choosing from over 300 single malts at WHISKI Bar. Or settle in at a stylish cocktail bar in the New Town area.

Where to eat

You can try the national dish – haggis – served with neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes) at the Last Drop Pub. Visit the weekly farmers’ market on Castle Terrace for local produce and a glimpse of everyday life. Or reserve a table at the Balmoral, which has held its Michelin star for ten years.

Where to hear music

There’s lot to see after dark, from traditional music at Sandy Bell’s pub to live rock, punk and indie bands at Bannerman’s club. The performance space at Summerhall hosts drama, dance and comedy, and the Voodoo Rooms above Café Royal runs the gamut from Motown to Vegas club nights.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Each August, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world flock to Edinburgh Castle to see the world’s best military bands, pipers, drummers, dancers and theatre groups. Each 90–minute show ends with a fireworks display.

Edinburgh festivals

Also in August, the International Festival takes over the city with opera, classical music and world–class theatre. The streets of Edinburgh come alive with buskers, street theatre and live entertainment, and the Fringe Festival, held concurrently, features off–the–wall comedy and performance.

The Royal Mile

Don’t miss the landmarks while you’re in town. Starting at the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, follow the cobbles to the Scotch Whisky Experience, St Giles’ Cathedral and the Scottish Parliament. If you’re visiting in May, you can even skip your spa treatments. Just climb Arthur’s Seat on May 1 and wash your face in the morning dew. Why? Legend has it, the dew guarantees eternal beauty.

Edinburgh Castle

Perched atop an extinct volcano at the peak of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is the city’s most popular tourist attraction. It became Scotland's chief royal castle in the Middle Ages and is now home to the Scottish Crown Jewels – and the National War Museum.

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