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A Wonderful Weekend in Edinburgh
A city whose calendar is brimming with festivals, Edinburgh promises a colorful weekend that combines city and country.
The well-deserved reputation it has earned for its enchanting historic atmosphere, famed golf courses and close to 100,000 students it is home to are just a few valid reasons for spending a long time in Edinburgh. But for those whose time is limited, never fear, it is eminently possible to savor this city in just a couple of days. With its bustling urban life, coastal strip and tranquil greenery, Edinburgh offers a magnificent blend of history, culture and entertainment.
DAY 1: IN THE CITY
If it’s your first visit, the open-top tour buses are a great way to start the day with an overview of the city. Choose a tour that will take you to both the Old Town and the New Town and tell you a thing or two about the city’s history.
Continue with a stroll down the Royal Mile at noon. If you are traveling with your children, be sure to stop at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, where you will find panoramic views of the city as well as optical illusions. Then rest your weary bones over a Scottish pie in one of the area’s historic restaurants.
Before the day is over, indulge in a little shopping on Princess Street, or visit the National Museum of Scotland, which houses, as well as historical artifacts, such unusual items as the stuffed body of Dolly the Sheep and some of Elton John’s more interesting outfits.
You can top off this full day with a leisurely conversation in the congenial atmosphere of Old Town’s restaurants and bistros.
DAY 2: EXPLORATION
Edinburgh is a city of hills, so you have a chance to survey it from above. Start the day with the incredible view from Calton Hill, or take a little more trouble and go up to Arthur Seat, an iconic extinct volcano at Holyrood Park.
There’s no going to Edinburgh without seeing its spectacular castle. One of the main bastions of the Kingdom of Scotland since the 12th century, Edinburgh Castle has borne witness to many an historic event. Today it is the city’s number one tourist attraction.
Royal Salutes are fired from the castle every day at 1 p.m. except Sundays and some holidays. The cannon was installed in 1861 to send signals to ships in the Firth of Forth and the tradition has continued ever since.
Stop by the Royal Botanic Garden at dusk and let your stress melt away amidst the colorful plants and dwarf trees. Afterwards you can recoup your strength with a cup of hot tea and one of the fruitcakes known as Black Buns.
The waterfront Leith district is one of the liveliest places after dark. If you’d like to end your day with a more rousing evening, Leith with its magnificent coast and historic restaurants is just the spot.
1 Calton Hill
2 A Scottish boy in local costume.
3 The National Museum
4 Edinburgh Castle
5 Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish.
6 Edinburgh’s golf courses are famous.
7 Arthur’s Seat