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Welcome to Edinburgh


City Breaks to Edinburgh

Inspirational Capital city encircled with breath-taking landscapes, beautiful historical architecture and a world renowned sense of humour.

Information & Facts

Things to do 
City Breaks to Edinburg from Dublin are ideal visiting local landmarks. Wander around the Royal Yacht Britannia exploring the glossy wooden floors on this floating palace. Rosslyn Chapel was cast into the minds of many by Dan Browns Dan Vinci Code. Cheap weekend breaks to Edinburg from Ireland are perfect for exploring the High lochs and taking a hike through the vast countryside. An indulgent yet taste way to experience Edinburg is by sampling a renowned restaurant such as Tower where you can star gaze over unsuspecting celebrity’s and enjoy local cuisine. For those brave enough to try the national dish of Haggis one place in which to sample this delicacy is at The Royal McGregor.  
With Abbey Travels unforgettable last minute city breaks & short breaks to Edinburg there is no excuse not to explore all that Edinburg has to offer.

Edinburgh has very unpredictable weather, sunny summer days sometimes rapidly changing into damp, showery conditions or vice versa. Summers are generally fine though, with mild temperatures and bright sunshine, although days might start out misty. Winters are long and damp with many frosty days. December, January and February are the rainiest months, but snow in winter is infrequent. The best time to travel to Edinburgh is during spring when parks are a riot of colour and the weather pleasant.


Eating Out

Restaurants in Edinburgh suit all tastes and pockets. Traditional Scottish fare such as Haggis, salmon and Aberdeen Angus beef is widely enjoyed, while international cuisine including French, Italian, Oriental and Indian is also readily available in Edinburgh. When eating out in Edinburgh, the best local cuisine, including good old fish and chips, can be found in and around the Royal Mile or the historic port of Leith. For French, Italian and Indian cuisine diners should try Castle Terrace, Ocean Drive (also in Leith), George Street and Lothian Road. Most Edinburgh restaurants are open daily and reservations are recommended. A 10% tip is customarily given to the waiter.

Getting Around

A good network of buses cover the city; this is the main form of public transport. Buses are given exclusive use of certain lanes within the city, and as a result, the services are fairly free-flowing. Exact change is required, so buying a One-Ticket pass is a convenient option. This allows unlimited travel in and around the city. Different bus companies provide services along similar routes, and tickets are not interchangeable. Night buses come into operation after midnight; they offer an economical way of getting home after a night out. There are no internal rail services. Black taxis are easily hailed in the street and there are numerous taxi ranks, but rates are a bit expensive. Rental cars can be useful for touring the country, but driving around Edinburgh's one-way, narrow streets can be confusing, and parking is difficult. Edinburgh is compact, and its pretty views and large number of parks make walking a lovely way to see the city. Keep in mind, though, that Edinburgh has a fair share of steep hills, which can also make cycling challenging.

Kids Attractions

The historic city of Edinburgh is brimming with old castles and fascinating sights and children can have a great time exploring this fantastic city too. The kids will love a visit to the Royal Yacht Brittania, or on a sunny day, visit the cute animals at the Edinburgh Zoo, or pack a picnic and the Frisbee and head to the Royal Botanic Garden for day in the fresh air and sunshine - fair weather days are rare so make the most of them! For an educational excursion, visit the Museum of Edinburgh and be mystified by the history of this famous city, while Our Dynamic Earth will astound the little ones and get them thinking about their place in the planet. When skies are grey and outdoors attractions are not an option, take the water soaked kids to discover some other aquatic animals at Deep Sea World Aquarium, or make use of indoor playgrounds such as the one in Edinburgh Park or the Happy Castle Play Centre.


English is the official language, though visitors will be astonished by the variety of regional accents.


The currency is the pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks. Travellers cheques are accepted in all areas frequented by tourists; they are best taken in Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.


Edinburgh's nightlife comes alive during its many festivals but the rest of the year a more subdued, trendy night scene fills in the empty spaces. There is no central nightlife district in Edinburgh and instead a few different neighbourhoods offer slightly different night atmospheres. Despite Old Town's name, the district has new and trendy areas such as Cowgate and Grassmarket. Both of these are popular bar-hopping destinations. Great live bands and folk music is best heard in both these areas and surrounding small alleys and walkways. The seafront area of Leith shares a trendy and upmarket feel although, like many areas, it competes with traditional bars and old pubs. After work watering holes dot the Edinburgh streets of most neighbourhoods as they have done for centuries. These are still popular local haunts, a great place to begin an evening or end a day. Edinburgh enjoys a relaxed nightlife atmosphere which is shared in lax rules and drinking hours. Most bars stay open until one to three in the morning, and much later for festivals.


Shopping in Edinburgh is not something for the feint hearted and visitors will be in danger of shopping till they drop! Princess Street is by far the most well-known and popular strip to do a spot of shopping. Here most people fight their way through the bustling crowds to get to some of the major UK chain stores, as well as a few independent shops. The slightly calmer and more exclusive George Street runs parallel to Princes Street but is somewhat pricier. At the east end of the street, Princess Mall contains plenty of specialist shops and high-end boutiques, while the Royal Mile is a slightly more off-beat shopping destination with loads of quirky independent stores. Popular buys in Edinburgh include tartan scarves and kilts, whisky, Edinburgh Crystal and tweeds. Shops in Edinburgh are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.30pm, with late-night shopping on Thursday until roughly 8pm. Some larger stores open on Sundays. Many shops (especially those frequented by tourists) are part of the Tax-Free scheme and shoppers are advised to keep their receipts and fill out a claim form to have the 17.5% VAT refunded.


Sightseeing in Edinburgh reveals a score of attractions, highlighting this ancient city's historical, cultural and visual charm. Most Edinburgh attractions are quite centrally located and best enjoyed during the summer, when the days are both longer and warmer. Located on the mound of an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle hosts structures from as early as the 12th century, and the National Gallery has displayed fine works of art to the public since 1859. For Scottish opera and ballet performances, visit the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, while the Museum of Edinburgh is another great attraction. The Scotch Whisky Experience shows visitors the art of brewing Scotland's celebrated whiskies, locally referred to as 'the water of life'. Speaking of water, the Royal Yacht Brittania is docked in the port of Leith and has hosted the likes of Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela. A well-known Edinburgh attraction is the Royal Botanic Garden, and the Royal Mile in Old Town is another must.


Local time in the United Kingdom is GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

The tallest of the seven hills that form Holyrood Park at 822 feet (250m), Arthur's Seat is actually an extinct volcano that overlooks the city of Edinburgh. There are the remains of an Iron Age hillfort, with several grassy plateaus that make for pleasant stopping points on the way up. Arthur's Seat is popular for hikes, and the view from the top, of Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside, is worth the climb. There are many ideas of how the hill got its name, among them the famous legend of King Arthur and his half-sister Morgan Le Fay.

Located just 20 minutes from Edinburgh, Scotland's national aquarium Deep Sea World is the perfect place for a fun-filled family outing on a rainy day. Children can view marine life such as sharks, eels and rays from one of the world's longest underwater tunnels, watch seal pups play, and even get to watch a shark-feeding session. There is a series of shallow touch pools for younger tots to touch and handle some of the sea life, such as starfish and sea urchins.

The imposing castle that stands on the craggy mound of an extinct volcano in the heart of Edinburgh is the city's top attraction, a proud symbol of the Scots nation. The castle rock has been inhabited since 800 BC, but today most of the remaining structures date from around the 16th century (except for St Margaret's chapel, Edinburgh's oldest building, dating from the early 12th century). Of all the things to see and experience at the castle (including the spectacular view of the city) the favourite for visitors is the Crown Room, which contains the Scottish crown jewels and regalia of state. Also on view here is the legendary 'Stone of Scone' upon which all the monarchs of Scotland have been crowned. The castle also still functions as a military headquarters, and is the site of the spectacular military tattoo, which is world-renowned and held each August. At 1pm each day, except Sunday, the one o'clock gun is fired, traditionally to allow ships in the Firth of Forth to check their chronometers. The gun is also fired at New Year to mark midnight during the Hogmanay celebrations. Tickets should be pre-bought online to avoid queuing on arrival.

Like the London and York Dungeons, the Edinburgh Dungeon gives a graphic yet spine-chilling look into Edinburgh's history. The dungeon relies on every trick to scare the life out of its visitors, and it does a pretty good job. But behind the scary masks and gruesome make up, it offers an educational and interesting look at history - a fun way for children of all ages to learn.

The Edinburgh Festival Theatre is used primarily for musical events and touring groups and it is one of the main venues for the annual summer Edinburgh International Festival, as well as being the year-round venue for the Scottish Opera and the Scottish Ballet. This historic location is Edinburgh's oldest continuous theatre site; there has been a theatre there as far back as 1830. For nearly thirty years after 1963 the theatre became a bingo hall, but was still occasionally serving as a festival venue. It re-opened in June 1994 with a glass-fronted structure as the new entrance and a dramatic mix of art nouveau, beaux-arts and neo-classicism and now has adequate acoustics, serving all the artistic requirements of the community.

Featuring a wonderful variety of cute and exotic animals, children will be absolutely thrilled with a visit to the Edinburgh Zoo. It also offers younger visitors a Kids Zone where they can do puzzles, meet new additions to the zoo, find out about wildlife in their own back garden and more. A must-see if the penguin parade, held each day at 2:15pm.

Get to grips with the mystery and magic of the ancient city of Edinburgh at the museum dedicated to its history, from prehistoric times to the present day. The Museum of Edinburgh contains important collections all relevant to the city's history, from pottery to documents, shop signs to silverware. The building in which the museum is housed is also of interest, dating from the 16th century with a chequered history of ownership and tenancy by a variety of people from aristocrats to common workers. There is a gift shop on the ground floor, and although there is no food or drink allowed, there are a number of pubs and restaurants nearby.

The National Gallery of Scotland is situated in the heart of Edinburgh and is home to Scotland's greatest collection of European paintings and sculpture from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism. The museum opened to the public in 1859 and includes works by Botticelli, Cézanne, Van Dyck, Pisarro, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, and Titian. The Gallery also boasts the most comprehensive collection of Scottish painting in the world. The Scottish Portrait Gallery can be found nearby at 1 Queen Street and includes great paintings of Scots rather than by Scots. The National Portrait Gallery is closed for renovations however, and will re-open in late 2011.

This science centre is a fabulous attraction for children of all ages and even adults alike and aims to educate and inspire visitors to think about our planet and its evolution. Featuring a number of changing exhibitions, there's always guaranteed to be something new to discover upon each visit to Our Dynamic Earth. Take a spin in the G-Force space ball, and explore the many wonders of the world in which we live.

The Palace of Holyrood was originally an abbey, built in the 12th century, and later the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, notorious for her turbulent reign and dramatic life. Today the palace is the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II, and is used by the Royal family for state ceremonies and entertaining, but much of the imposing baroque building is open to visitors. An audio guide steers visitors around the grand royal apartments, which reflect the changing tastes of a line of monarchs, as well as the Throne Room and the Great Gallery, culminating in the apartments of Mary Queen of Scots and her husband Lord Darnley, their bed-chambers linked by a secret staircase. A plaque on the floor marks the spot where Mary's Italian secretary David Rizzio was murdered in 1566. The rooms feature splendid plasterwork ceilings and magnificent furnishings and tapestries.

Made famous by the conclusion of the exciting novel (later turned movie) 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown, this 15th-century Gothic church has become a touristic place of pilgrimage, just six miles (10km) south of Edinburgh's city centre. Known among the clergy as the 'Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew', the church was founded in 1446 and features the famous apprentice pillar, and remains a working church with regular services on Sundays.

Not just any garden, the Edinburgh Botanic Garden is acknowledged as one of the finest in the world, featuring six percent of all the world's known plants, the most tender being cosseted in glasshouses. Visitors can admire vegetation from 10 climate zones from tropical palms to arctic tundra, and see some of the world's oldest plants in the orchid and cycad house. There are also several restaurants and cafes, and a gift shop. The garden was established in 1670 as a physic garden in Holyrood, was later moved to Leith and was firmly planted in Inverleith in 1820, where it has remained a top attraction ever since.

A 'must see' in Edinburgh is the Royal Mile, a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of Edinburgh's Old Town. Fittingly, the Royal Mile is approximately one Scottish mile long, running between two historic attractions; Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Castle Rock and Holyrood Abbey. This is Edinburgh Old Town's busiest tourist strip, rivalled only by Princes Street in the New Town. The streets that make up the Royal Mile include Castle Esplanade, Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Canongate and Abbey Strand. The Hub, at the top end of the mile, plays host to the Edinburgh International Festival, and holds integral information on all the Edinburgh festivals. Its gothic spire, which is the highest point in central Edinburgh, towers over the adjacent castle and surrounding buildings. During the Festival the Royal Mile coems alive with entertainers and visitors.

Pride of the Ocean Terminal in the port of Leith, Edinburgh's recently developed waterfront shopping and leisure area, is moored the famed Royal yacht, Britannia. Numerous illustrious passengers, including Sir Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, have trod her decks, not to mention the British Royal family themselves. Now visitors can board this vessel on a self-guided audio tour, cruising through the fabulous state apartments to the crew's quarters, and even the gleaming, polished engine room. Most of the accoutrements on board are original, and there are some surprises too: like the Queen's bedroom and one of her shiny Rolls Royces. At the Visitor Centre learn about celebrity life on this luxury ship, and browse in the souvenir shop. The Brittania will be closed in January 2012 for maintenance.

Alongside Edinburgh Castle visitors can enjoy a 'wee dram' and uncover the secrets of brewing Scotland's famed malt, grain and blended whiskies, known to the locals as 'the water of life'. The whisky tour includes a barrel ride through the history of whisky, a tutored tasting, and a chance to meet a resident ghost. The bar offers the chance to choose from 270 different whiskies, and a restaurant serves up traditional Scots cuisine. The interactive tour promises fun for all the family, although of course only adults are permitted to sample the wares.

The historic town of St Andrews is home to the most famous golf club in the world, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Often referred to as 'the home of golf', St Andrews and the British Golf Museum are must-visits for any enthusiasts of the sport. With 500 years of golfing history, and the home of the British Open, the museum will take visitors on an exciting journey through the sport's heritage and an introduction to the world's golfing legends.

One of the most impressive Scottish castles in the region, Stirling Castle has a famous history of clashes between British troops and Scottish revolutionaries. Its bridge is the site of one of William Wallace's major victories, and the field of Bannockburn was the venue for the triumph of Robert the Bruce. Stirling Castle was also the home of Mary Queen of Scots. The castle offers tours, and views of the surrounding countryside, including the famous Wallace Monument, are spectacular.

When travelling in Edinburgh with children, a trip to the Museum of Childhood is an absolute must and a favourite with adults and children alike. It contains wonderful displays featuring toys from the past and present, from all parts of the world, as well as displays about other aspects of childhood, including school and sports, health and holidays. While children enjoy playing with the toys, adults will enjoy the feelings of nostalgia at seeing their favourite playthings of yesteryear.

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