Visit Edinburgh for a Summer Vacation
Edinburgh Scotland's Royal Capital
For anyone visiting the United Kingdom, a visit to Edinburgh, Scotland's capital City is a must. Built on the rocky heart of a long extinct volcano Edinburgh has a spectacular and rugged setting. Much of the architecture dates back to Georgian and Medieval times, with over 4500 listed buildings in the city centre. Edinburgh is a compact city, an ideal size for exploring on foot.
Edinburgh is one of most beautiful cities in Europe with its cobbled streets and intriguing history. A visit to Edinburgh in summer is particularly rewarding, as Edinburgh is a rare and authentic destination which makes the most of the short summer months. Edinburgh vacation on a budget?
For the whole month of August, Edinburgh becomes home to the world's largest arts festival. During the four weeks there are over 2000 shows in 250 venues throughout the city.
The Edinburgh International Festival runs alongside many other festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe which was established as an alternative festival but by now is the biggest of the many that run simultaneously, including:
- International Film Festival
- Edinburgh Military Tattoo
- Jazz and Blues Festival
- International Book Festival
- Edinburgh Art Festival
- Edinburgh Television Festival
- Festival of Politics
These are to name but a few. Theatres, church and community halls all over the city are commandeered by thousands of performers. The cobbled streets of Edinburgh's Royal Mile in the Old town provide a focus of as the the performers jostle for position as dancers, artists acrobats, musicians and magicians entertain the crowds. The atmosphere is carnival like,very cosmopolitan and a truly memorable way to spend a summer afternoon. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the highlights of the Festival, set on Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, a feast of evening entertainment is played out, with massed bagpipers, fireworks, marching bands and dancing from Scotland with performers from around the globe.
At the bottom of the Royal Mile, sits Holyrood Palace, the official residence on Queen Elizabeth II.
The palace is surrounded by Holyrood park, a wild piece of highland landscape in the centre of the city. Holyrood park is a royal park, once the private hunting grounds of the Royal Huntsmen, providing game for the kitchens. Arthur's Seat dominates the park, a hill rising to 832 feet, the highest point in Edinburgh. The views from the top are breathtaking, the whole of the city mapped out below, and views to Edinburgh Castle , the Forth Bridges and the sea beyond. Like the rocky outcrop that Edinburgh Castle is built upon, Arthur's Seat is a remnant of a volcano which raged 350 million years ago. It was here that James Hutton, naturalist and father of modern geology, did much of his investigations in the 18th Century. There are three lochs within Holyrood park, which provide breeding grounds for birds, near St Margarets loch rises the ruins of St Anthony's chapel which was built in the 15th Century.
Pandas At Edinburgh Zoo
Pandas at Edinburgh
Edinburgh is now home to two Giant Pandas, Sweetie and Sunshine who have taken up residence at Edinburgh Zoo. Zoo staff are hopeful that the pair will mate and produce offspring, despite early unsuccessful attempts.
Panda Webcam at Edinburgh Zoo live
- Edinburgh Zoo Giant Panda Cam
The Edinburgh Zoo Giant Panda Webcam
Sheep Heid's Inn Scotland's Oldest Pub
If you leave Holyrood park by the eastern gate you find yourself in the tiny Duddingston village, home of the Sheep's Heid Inn, the oldest pub in Scotland, established in 1360. Used by Mary Queen of Scots and her retainers this traditional watering point still upholds traditional values. An ancient and curious pub, a superb spot to sample some of Scotland's traditional cuisine, including haggis.
Princes Street Gardens
The two main thoroughfares in Edinburgh are The Royal Mile to the South, in the Old town, and Princes Street in the New Town. Running parallell to each other they are bisected by Princes Street Gardens, a beautiful open public park park lying at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. The gardens lie in a depression caused by glaciation, and originally was a loch or lake, it was drained and the park created. During the witch trials in the 16th Century over 300 suspected witches were drowned in the loch.
Now home the magnificent buildings, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery the park is an ideal place to rest or have a picnic after a hard afternoon of sightseeing. Princes Street Gardens also houses The Scott Monument; a Victorian Gothic Spire, built in 1840 as a memorial to Sir Walter Scott. The tower is over 200 feet high, and is open to the public who want to brave the 287 steps to be rewarded by spectacular views over the city.
Weather in Edinburgh
Because of Edinburgh's proximity to the sea, temperatures are moderate, average daytime temperatures are around 19 degrees in summer, with occasional highs up to 30 degrees. Evenings are cool, 14 degrees in summer will mean a jacket. Rain is usual throughout the whole year so come prepared. Edinburgh does benefit from long daylight hours, sunset is close to 11pm at the height of summer, so plenty time to explore!
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