Spend A Great December In Edinburgh
With the holiday season underway, there can be no better place in the British Isles to shop, sightsee and soak up the Christmas atmosphere than Scotland’s proud capital, Edinburgh. This city’s distinguished history has led to some impressive architecture which, when coupled with its spectacular natural surroundings, makes it a great place to live. This is a good time of year to enjoy the city from one of the plush and traditional Edinburgh hotels . Here follows ten great things to do in Edinburgh at this special time of year.
Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll across Salisbury Crags at Holyrood Park. This giant area of parkland houses Edinburgh’s most prominent natural landmarks. If you are reasonably fit climbing to the top of Arthur’s Seat affords wonderful panoramas of the city. Go in the morning when, due to Edinburgh’s topography and climate, the sky is often crisp and clear.
Continuing down onto Salisbury Crags, you will see still finer views, including the Forth Bridge over the Firth of Forth estuary and mountains in the background, walking underneath the sheer rock formations that inspired Hutton’s classification of volcanic and sedimentary rock.
One of Europes Finest Shopping Experiences
Visit Princess Street for big high street shops, including Scotland’s most famous department store, Jenners. On adjacent George Street, buy clothes at upmarket boutiques and eat and drink at reasonably priced establishments in the setting of a tastefully lit Neo-Classical surrounding, under monuments honouring past Scottish greats.
Go to Princess Street Gardens for the busy German market and outdoor ice rink. You may be lucky enough to hear carol singers or a lone bagpiper play under the imposing monument to Sir Walter Scott.
Art Culture and Ghost Tours
Here you will also find the Scottish National Gallery and Scottish National Portrait Gallery where you can see the Scottish masters, along with other exhibitions, free of charge. Making your way through New Town, visit the National Museum of Modern Art, including Dean Gallery. New Town is a sophisticated Georgian triumph and is home to some wonderful eateries and unique shops. It has a stately feel, more restrained than the rest of the city, as was intended by its architects.
The Royal Mile in Old Town contains museums, souvenir shops and street stalls. It defined, at one time, the benchmark distance for the old Scottish Mile, slightly shorter than the mile we use today.
The Royal Mile runs from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle, home to the Scottish crown jewels and voted one of Britain’s best tourist attractions. Both the castle and palace are open to the public, save on visits from the Royal Family.
Take one of the many ghost tours from the Royal Mile to learn more about the gruesome tales in Edinburgh’s past. The tour of Mary King’s Close will take you underground to medieval streets and houses, complete with stories of real people who lived there.
Go to the National Museum on Chambers Street. It’s free, and covers everything from natural history to the archaeology of Scotland. Around the corner, on George IV Bridge, you can go for a coffee and inspiration at the Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling famously wrote some of the Harry Potter books. Enjoy.