8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Edinburgh ASAP | Love Travel
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
The Scottish capital is no secret place, it's not a hidden gem or somewhere you've never heard of. It IS however severely underrated, and the complete opposite of what you would most likely associate with the words 'Capital City'.
I fell in love with Edinburgh back in 2017 when I realized I'd never ventured those few miles up to Scotland, or explored much of my home here in the UK at all really. I definitely think sometimes I focus far too much on the next exotic, far away or culturally different destinations I want to visit, and disregard the beautiful areas closer to home more than I should. Most of us are guilty of this, but just because something is close by doesn't mean it's any less special. Edinburgh showed me that this fact is true, and I fell totally head over heels in love with it.
I've visited again in 2019 since that first trip, and I already want to go back and visit again. Rather than just list the things you can see/do here and sound like a basic Google search, I'm going to tell you why the place itself is so bloody lovely, so here goes:
The view from Camera Obscura/ Inside the light tunnel
1. Let's be honest the place is gorgeous
The Classical style architecture, the green spaces, the towering monuments, the warm glow of the local pubs, Edinburgh's old town is one of the most stunning and historical areas of the UK I have ever seen. The buildings all have that old-timey stone look to them, there's cobbled streets and little alleyways, castles, palaces, and all laid out across a magnificent display of hills due to it's history as a fortress town. Day or night this place is beautiful and you HAVE to see it.
2. The people are the most friendly, possibly ever
What is it about Edinburgh? Everyone is so nice! The people in the shops, the hotels, the street performers. Every tour guide and attraction operator has been lovely too. The whole place just gives off a friendly and welcoming vibe and I'm so here for it. My mum even visited a few years ago in the height of winter, and got caught in a storm up by the castle while wearing a huge rain poncho. Being only 5 ft 2 (bless her) she basically nearly blew away, until a random man stopped, let her grab his arm and walked her down Castle Hill acting as an anchor for her. The pub she then went in to dry off also gave her a free hot chocolate because she looked so traumatized. How nice is that?! Why WOULDN'T you want to visit a place that stops small women becoming kites?!
Nelson Monument on Calton Hill / An actual Van Gogh
3. There's SO MUCH to do
Edinburgh's City Centre doesn't feel THAT big especially if you're used to places like London, and yet there are SO many amazing things you can do. Why not try to find some quiet on Calton Hill, see some history in Edinburgh Castle, take in some art at one of their National Galleries, experience past life at The Real Mary King's Close, visit the market, explore the palace, go on a pub crawl, try some illusions at Camera Obscura, or some of the many many other things you can get up to. If you're more outdoorsy? Try hiking up Arthur's Seat for incredible views of the city, or head out to Gilmerton Cove and explore the underground passageways there. There is genuinely something for everyone. Find out more about what Edinburgh has to offer here.
4. It's perfect to visit in all seasons
I've been in March and May, but I'd love to go in the height of Summer or near Christmas for the markets. I have a few friends who went in August for Fringe, as well as some that went during Winter and can confirm the place is glorious no matter what the weather. Edinburgh seems to experience the seasons much more than other areas in the UK, with the colours and temperature changing every few months and making the place look beautifully different every time you visit. With plenty to do both indoors and out, you can have a great time exploring the city no matter what mother nature throws at you.
Civerino's Pizza/ Paradise Palms
5. The food options are fab
Fried mars bars and haggis are definitely a thing, but Edinburgh has SO MUCH good food on offer and for a great price too. If you're vegan/ vegetarian you HAVE to try Paradise Palms, it's some of the best veggie food I've ever tried, the staff were the friendliest people ever and the decor is beautiful. I've recommended it to a few friends who are now recommending it to others, which I think is the best review possible. If you want pizza, Civerino's is the place for you (go to the proper restaurant off the royal mile rather than the 'Slice' branch), go to Boozy Cow for the best burgers/fries/pub grub, and Ting Thai Caravan is a great time but not the best for veggies. You'll find the best breakfast hands down at City Cafe; Oh and if you want a good pub for live music, cheap drinks, great atmosphere and a bit of bar grub, you need to head over to George IV Bar, it's one of my favourite places in the whole of Edinburgh. Second oh- try the pub crawl!
6. Everything is within walking distance
I love it when you know a city so well that you feel like a local. Edinburgh's old town and surrounding areas are all packed in tightly next to each other meaning that you can walk around the city with ease, and get your bearings within just a few hours. This as well as the friendliness of the people make the whole city feel instantly homey and familiar, which I think makes the place all that more special. This also makes the place so much more appealing for anyone wanting to try out solo travel- I went there on my first ever lone trip and had the BEST time, I met so many wonderful people and didn't need to use maps after day 1 (and that made me feel like a badass).
Little old me on my first solo trip ever- to Edinburgh!
7. It's the perfect base for visiting surrounding regions
The adventures you can go on while based in this city are yet another reason everyone should come here at least once. You can explore the loveliness of Edinburgh itself while also taking time out to see a huge array of Scottish and Northern English beauty too. You could stay close by nipping to Dean Village (voted one of the UK's most scenic spots), or venture further out to Glasgow, Lochness or Stirling. I however would mostly recommend basing yourself here to be picked up for a tour of the Scottish Highlands, a few people I know have done this and said it was incredible- you can do day trips to certain areas or see lots of areas with a multiple day tour. Personal recommendation- Try and find one that includes Skye if you can!
No matter what your plans are, Edinburgh is a great access point and a fab way to start any exploration. Some companies even offer day trips down to York or the Lake District! It's the perfect way to add a scenic day out in to your itinerary.
8. Edinburgh Fringe, of course!
Probably the most famous thing in Edinburgh is it's beloved Fringe festival. The world's biggest arts fest happens here every August, so if you love anything music/ dance/ comedy/ theatre related the you really need to get yourself up there and give it a go. This year's festival is from 7th- 31st August and is set to be the best year yet. If you fancy it, get yourself booked asap as accommodation during this time books up FAST- I can personally recommend the Baxter Hostel which is still one of my favourite ever hostels I've stayed in to date, and is right in the heart of the city too. Have a cheeky look at this years line up or find out more information here.
And that's it folks! The many reasons I'm so obsessed with this glorious place and am so desperate to visit for a third time (I don't think I've ever done that before?), and why you all need to head up there and try it. Trains head straight into the city centre and they have a fab international airport too, so you have no excuse not to!
Let me know if you do end up visiting and if you get as entranced by it as me! Oh and as always, send photos! Meg x