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The Best of Edinburgh: A Hidden Scotland Guide (EU)

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Welcome to Hidden Scotland’s guide to Edinburgh, a city unlike any other. Scotland’s capital fits all manner of descriptions – time capsule, trendsetter, visitor magnet, festival heartland – but above all it simply is what it is: a place apart. Topped by a fortress and stuffed with big sights and mazy stories, it successfully straddles the last millennium and a half by somehow being both locked in the past and fixated on the future.

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Our First Ever Guide Book

Introducing Hidden Scotland’s guide to Edinburgh, a city unlike any other. Scotland’s capital fits all manner of descriptions – time capsule, trendsetter, visitor magnet, festival heartland – but above all it simply is what it is: a place apart. Topped by a fortress and stuffed with big sights and mazy stories, it successfully straddles the last millennium and a half by somehow being both locked in the past and fixated on the future.

Half a million souls call the city home year-round, but many times that number descend on its streets at different points in the calendar. From the rainbow-feathered cornucopia of the summer Fringe to the massed merry-making of Hogmanay – not to mention a whole galaxy of other concerts, exhibitions, parades and parties – this is somewhere that routinely feels like the place to be.

In this guide, you’ll find a hand-picked assortment of different diversions to explore. The range is broad, encompassing monuments, cafés, theatres, galleries, walking routes, gift-buying tips, guided tours, and whisky tastings, along with restaurants, picture houses, pubs, and bookshops. Some attractions are well known, while others are hidden gems. It’s our hope that you enjoy discovering them.

Edinburgh is nothing without context, of course, so there’s ample space for historical tales, cultural highlights, suggested itineraries, and the quirkier elements that give the city its special reputation. Also included are a fantastic range of hotels and out-of-town excursions.

Time spent here is generally time to relish, and this guide is designed to help you make the most of all Edinburgh has to offer.

What to Expect

Includes a Pull Out Old Town Walking Map

The pull-out map in our guide offers an immersive exploration of Edinburgh's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in history. Follow our meticulously curated route, designed by a knowledgeable local tour guide. Whether you begin at point 1 or midway through, this comprehensive map guides you through streets with a thousand years of royal history, rebellion, and significant historical moments. It's a voyage through remarkable architecture within a natural amphitheater, providing a tangible link to the city's dynamic history and its unique urban landscape. This map is an indispensable resource for discovering the legendary stories and landmarks of the Old Town.

Stories from Edinburgh's Past

Within the pages of this Edinburgh guide, readers will find a series of engaging stories that bring the city's rich history to life. Each tale adds a layer of depth and intrigue to Scotland's enigmatic capital. You can also enjoy an audio reading by scanning the QR code, so why not put on your headphones on and enjoy the story while walking the streets of Edinburgh.

Filled with Locals Tips

Explore Edinburgh like a local with added insight from some of our favourite residents of Edinburgh. They share places where they often frequent that may not have been on your radar, but should be. Uncover unique shops, exceptional eateries, and quiet city corners. With some top tips included!

The Best Walks, Wildlife & Nature

They had their heads screwed on, those early civic planners. Edinburgh might be a compact city, but it packs in plenty of greenery, gardens and open spaces, helped by the presence of its famous seven hills.

Unusual & Interesting Places to Visit

A city this multifarious is always going to have its quirks – and Edinburgh boasts peculiarities by the barrel-load. From “murder dolls” to a stuffed sheep, its oddities are as fascinating as they are diverse.

Museums and Historic Must Sees

Edinburgh can often feel like a city where the past is visible at every turn, so delving into its chief historical attractions is a major part of understanding what makes it tick.

The Best Activities in the City

A city as visitor-friendly as Edinburgh has no shortage of different activities with which to occupy your time. Here are some of the best of them.

Arts & Culture

Creativity runs through Edinburgh’s veins, meaning arts and culture aplenty – this is, after all, a city that was named the top "cultural and creative city" of its size in Europe. The hard part for visitors is fitting it all in.

Restaurants Guide

Eating out is one of the great joys of an Edinburgh trip, whether you’re in search of high-quality Scottish dining or tastebudblasting international dishes. Pull up a chair and tuck in.

Our Favourite Bars

Edinburgh has more pubs and bars per capita than almost anywhere else in the world (only Las Vegas, Prague and Orlando have more) – so the only sensible thing to do is to raise a glass.

The Best Cafes in the City

You’re never far from a caffeine fix in the Scottish capital. Edinburgh has more than its share of artisan roasters and third wave coffee outlets. You can even take a barista course.

Find the Best Shops

From bottles of vintage whisky and local art prints to traditional tweeds and elegant homewares, this is a city that gives you any number of good reasons to part with your cash.

Bookshops Guide

As you might expect from somewhere that was named the first ever UNESCO City of Literature in 2004, Edinburgh knows plenty about the pleasures of a good bookshop.

Our Accommodation Selection

The popularity of Edinburgh as a visitor destination means you’ll find accommodation to suit all tastes. Big-brand hotels share the map with boutique properties and luxury boltholes and laid-back B&Bs. One tip: book well ahead of time if you can.

Day trips from the City

One of Edinburgh’s biggest assets is the wealth of different destinations and activities on its outskirts – here are the best of them.

Your Guide's Digital Companion

Our Edinburgh guide includes QR codes, providing a digital dimension to your exploration. Scan these codes to access detailed information about any listed place, enhancing your knowledge and experience. Additionally, for a truly immersive experience, scan the QR codes accompanying our stories to hear them narrated by the writer, Graeme Johncock, bringing the tales and the city's history to life in his own voice.

Previous Issues

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