The local festival may only last for a couple of weeks every August, but all year round the Scottish capital will put a spring in your step and a naughty glint in your eye.
Robert Louis Stevenson described the town of his birth as ‘this dream in masonry and rock’. Crammed between a volcano and the ocean, Edinburgh is just as gorgeous a century or so on. From the atmospheric passageways of the medieval Old Town - to the elegant Georgian streets of the New Town, Scotland’s capital wears its history on its sleeve. With more than a hundred public parks, and more trees per person than any city in the UK, there’s plenty of breathing space too. And, in spite of the infamously bad weather, locals congregate outside to drink beer, kick a ball around, or practice their circus skills.
For Edinburgh is a city of performers, raconteurs and extroverts. Thanks to the huge popularity of the annual arts festival – and its more raucous cousin, the Fringe – the city draws comedians, clowns, and actors from all over the world, and boasts some of the best live music and cabaret venues on the planet.
As befits a student town, you’re more likely to start the night off in a higgledy-piggledy boozer than in a fancy wine bar. After-hours the scene moves (literally) underground. Dance to electro-trance in the subterranean depths of the Liquid Room or connect with your inner freak in the caves of Cabaret Voltaire. Come morning, a bracing walk up Arthur’s Seat is the best way to counteract the after-effects of a ‘wee dram’ or two. Just beware of that other local speciality: the deepfried Mars bar. Even William Wallace would think twice before taking one of those bad boys on!
With looks, wit, and wicked charm to spare, it’s no wonder that Edinburgh is a city that visitors and locals alike fall hard for. Just don’t come looking for a detox!