All eyes will be on Edinburgh this August as the Scottish capital hosts the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the renowned annual arts festival – from 5-29 August 2016.
However, while the world’s largest arts festival will dominate the headlines in August, there’s plenty of other things that the beautiful city has on offer. Here’s The Sybarite’s low-down on the 10 essential Edinburgh experiences. How many can you tick off?
The Scottish capital’s pride and joy, the magnificent Edinburgh Castle sits on top of a rock of a volcanic rock and is visible for miles in any and every direction. Once inside, explore some of the oldest and most important buildings of the city: take a bow the Half Moon Battery, St Margaret’s Chapel and The National War Memorial.
Hollyrood Park is home to one of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks: say hello to the 251m high foothill and extinct volcano that is Arthur’s Seat. Hike, bike or hop in the car and make your way to the top for unrivalled vistas of the city skyline. For an unforgettable Edinburgh experience, watch the sun rise from from Arthur’s Seat.
Built on the site of a former brewery, The Scottish parliament building was officially opened by HM the Queen in October 2005. Take a moment to moment admire its modern architecture (the brainchild of Catalan architect Enric Miralles) or, time permitting, enjoy a complimentary guided tour.
Situated in the heart of Princes Street,the Scott Monument was constructed in 1846 to commemorate Sir Walter Scott – the Edinburgh born writer renowned for his historical novels. Trust The Sybarite when we say that the views from its summit overlooking the capital and surrounding countryside, are well worth the climb.
Stay at The Scotsman
Built in 1905, The Scotsman Hotel – as its name suggests – resides in the former baronial offices of The Scotsman Newspaper. The first word in luxury, the last and most of those in between, The Scotsman is the only hotel in Edinburgh that can boast views over Edinburgh Castle, The Firth of Forth, Leith, Princes Street and Calton Hill.
St Giles’ Cathedral
Named after the patron saint of cripples and beggars, this gorgeous, grey, crown-spired cathedral on the High Street contains memorials to around 200 distinguished Scots, as well as some incredible stained glass windows. Even better? Entry is absolutely free.
The chefs at Cranstons – a beautiful Scottish restaurant situated on the world renowned Princes Street in the iconic Old Waverley Hotel – pride themselves on creating dishes with a wide choice of fresh produce sourced locally from Oban and local organic firms. Go on: splash out.
When night falls, head to George Street – home to some of Edinburgh’s buzziest bars and restaurants. Quaff cocktails in the Tempus Bar at the George Hotel, Tigerlily, Le Monde, The Dome or Harvey Nichols Forth Floor Bar to name but a few. Boredom is not an option.
National Museum of Scotland
Featuring a diverse range of art and design exhibits and interactive displays, a visit to the National Museum of Scotland never disappoints. Don’t miss their latest exhibition – The Silversmith’s Art – which celebrates major works by renowned artist silversmiths and the inspirations behind their dazzling designs.
No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without sampling the Scottish capital’s most famous export: whisky. The city is packed with wonderful whisky bars in which to enjoy a wee dram but Amber Restaurant and Whisky Bar is arguably the best. Friendly staff are usually on hand to help drinkers find the perfect whisky.