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.
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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.
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.
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.
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).