10 Things You Need To Know About Edinburgh

Find out what museums in Edinburgh are free, where is best to try haggis and more with Hostelworld.com's Colm Hanratty.

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  • Niall Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 2:57pm

    Great video for a great city. Well done!

  • Daniel Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, 2:09pm

    Good tips - thanks!

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Fact Sheet

What's in our video about Edinburghprint

1. Edinburgh is divided into the Old and New Towns
Edinburgh is divided into the Old and New Towns. The New Town south of Princes Street Gardens is where you’ll find the city’s best shopping and Georgian Crescents, while the Old Town is full of cobbled streets and small neighbourhoods such as Cowgate and the Grassmarket. It is also where you’ll find Scotland’s most famous street, The Royal Mile. This is broken up into four sections:
  • Castlehill: A small section of the mile up at Edinburgh Castle.
  • Lawnmarket: Here you’ll find lots of touristy shops.
  • High Street: This is the heart and soul of the Royal Mile and is partly pedestrianised. It’s also where you’ll find attractions such as St Giles Cathedral.
  • Canongate: The final part of the mile has some of the city’s free museums and ends with the Palace of Holyrood House, the official residence of the Queen of England when in Scotland.
  • 2. It’s home to Scotland’s number one tourist attraction
    Edinburgh is where you will find Edinburgh Castle which isn’t just the city’s number one tourist attraction but is also Scotland’s top tourist attraction. Highlights in the Castle include the the Great Hall where kings, queens and nobles came to feast, St Margaret’s Chapel which is the castle’s oldest surviving building, and the Scottish National War Memorial which pays tribute to those who have died in battle.
    3. It’s full of free museums and galleries
    Edinburgh is full of free museums and galleries. These include:
  • Writers’ Museum (Lady Stair's Close, off Royal Mile): This museum showcases the city’s famous writers.
  • Museum of Edinburgh (142 Canongate, Royal Mile): It tells the famous story of Greyfriar’s Bobby among other things.
  • National Gallery of Scotland (The Mound): Scotland’s most important art gallery.
  • National Museum of Scotland (Chambers Street): This fascinating museums has collections on everything from Scotland’s origins to famous Scots.
  • 4. You have to try ‘haggis’
    No trip to Edinburgh is complete without trying ‘haggis’ which is a mix of lamb, oatmeal and other things. There are many places in Edinburgh where you can try it but a good place is ‘The Tass’ (1 High St, Royal Mile) as they stock the award-winning MacSween’s Haggis.
    5. It’s overlooked by Arthur’s Seat
    Overlooking Edinburgh is Arthur’s Seat, a rocky peak that climbs 251m into the sky. While the climb to the top is a tough one, it is ultimately rewarding as the views from the top are unforgettable. But if you don’t have a head for heights or aren’t feeling very energetic but you’d still like a great view of the city head to Calton Hill on the east side of Princes Street in the New Town.
    6. You should visit the suburb Leith
    Located just three miles from Edinburgh city centre, Leith is an attractive waterfront suburb that is home to many bars and restaurants. The main attraction there is the Royal Yacht Britannia that was the official yacht to the British Royal Family from 1953 to 1997.
    7. There are lots of backpacker specials to be found
    Due to the number of hostels in Edinburgh, there are many bars and pubs that do backpacker specials where budget backpackers can get great deals on food and drink. Places in Edinburgh that do them include:
  • The Last Drop (74-78 Grassmarket): Prove to the staff that you’re staying in a hostel and you’ll get all mains on the menu that cost £7.25 or under for £3.95.
  • Maggie Dickson’s (92 Grassmarket): The do both food and drink specials for backpackers.
  • The Castle Arms (6 Johnston Terrace): Another bar in the Old Town that does backpacker food specials.
  • 8. It’s the world’s number one festival destination
    Edinburgh is the world’s number one festival destination and over the course of a year, no fewer than 12 major festivals take place. The first to take place is the Science Festival in April and last is Hogmanay in December. But the best time to visit Edinburgh for its festivals is August when no fewer than seven festivals take place. These include the Edinburgh Book Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the largest arts festival in the world.
    9. Edinburgh is one of the most haunted cities in the world
    The Scottish capital is one of the most haunted cities in the world and the old town in particular, is full of narrow lanes and closes, each with a different story to tell. There are lots of haunted tours operating in Edinburgh, but some go to places that others don’t and they vary in price also – make sure to shop around before booking on to any of them.
    10. Here’s where is good for nightlife...
    There are certain bars and clubs to keep an eye out for in Edinburgh. Here are just a few...
  • Bar Salsa (3 Cowgatehead): Always busy thanks to drinks promos.
  • The Globe (15 Niddry St): Edinburgh’s #1 backpacker bar and one also with lots of promotions.
  • Whistle Binkies (4-6 South Bridge; another entrance on Niddry St beside The Globe): One of the best places for live music in Edinburgh.
  • The Dome (14 Georges St): A huge, imposing bar with breathtaking interior.
  • Opal Lounge (51a Georges St): Uber-cool cocktail bar/club in the New Town.
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