Edinburgh skyline, Scotland

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Explore beautiful and historic Edinburgh this summer

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Panoramic view of Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a stunningly beautiful city, spread over a series of rocky hills and overlooking the sea. Considered one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, here the buildings and monuments sit perched on rocky crags overlooking the view.

The Old Town is a picturesque collection of narrow streets, with medieval tenements lining the Royal Mile. Meanwhile, the New Town is a neoclassical experience. In fact, UNESCO has stated that both the old and new towns offer outstanding universal value. Throughout the city, art, literature, science and philosophy are celebrated. On top of this, Edinburgh also hosts the biggest arts festival each year, drawing many thousands of visitors. All year round, visitors and locals alike enjoy the pubs, restaurants and night life of the city.

When visiting Edinburgh, travelers are faced with an excellent choice of hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation. However, to get a true feeling of this historic city, a stay in a true Scottish manor house outside of the city is the ideal option.

It would be impossible to describe all of Edinburgh’s attractions in one article, so we have picked out three of the best highlights of this great Scottish city.

Royal Botanic Gardens, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh was founded in 1670 as a “physic garden,” created to grow medicinal plants. In fact, the garden is the second oldest botanic garden in Britain after Oxford. Nowadays, it has become one of the largest botanic institutions, with a herbarium housing around 3 million living specimens and preserved plants. The botanic garden also has a huge core collection, representing at least 50 percent of the world’s flora species.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland
Photo by Graham Robson/Geograph

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh was founded in 1670 as a “physic garden,” created to grow medicinal plants. In fact, the garden is the second oldest botanic garden in Britain after Oxford. Nowadays, it has become one of the largest botanic institutions, with a herbarium housing around 3 million living specimens and preserved plants. The botanic garden also has a huge core collection, representing at least 50 percent of the world’s flora species.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland
Photo by Robin Webster/Geograph

The garden is spread over 72 acres and features unusual scenery and landscapes. It is a mixture of leisure gardens and gardens used for scientific and educational purposes. Visitors can enjoy the rock garden, the orchids and cryptogrammic plants, as well as the Victorian glasshouses and a Chinese hillside featuring pagodas, a pond and pretty waterfalls.

Gilmerton Cove, 16 Drum Street, Edinburgh

At one time, the Edinburgh suburb of Gilmerton was a thriving mining community. However, a series of passages and caves run beneath the villages that were dug for a mysterious purpose that didn’t involve mining ore.

The series of seven chambers and several passages is known collectively as Gilmerton Cove and has baffled historians since their discovery. It is said that the entrance to the underground site was originally beneath a local blacksmith’s residence. However, a number of theories have arisen. One of the most popular theories is that the caves were a place for the gentry to drink discreetly. This is due to the seating area carved out of the sheer rock. It was also theorized that the space was a hiding place for religious refugees, or alternatively, a smuggler’s lair.

piGilmerton Cove, Edinburgh
Photo by John Dale/Flickr

In 2003, the hand-hewn caves were opened as a tourist attraction where visitors can decide for themselves the original reason for Gilmerton Cove. It certainly makes for an intriguing visit.

Rooftop Terrace at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

While the city of Edinburgh has a number of viewing locations, the rooftop terrace at the National Museum of Scotland really stands out. In fact, it is one of the few places in the Old Town where a panoramic view of the city can be enjoyed.

Rooftop Terrace at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Photo by Karen Bryan/Flickr

The National Museum of Scotland opened in the late 1800s and it has become one of the most popular attractions in the country. However, many visitors miss this hidden gem. When visiting the museum, take the elevator up to the 7th floor. You will exit onto the rooftop terrace with its wonderful panoramic view. This is one of the best places to enjoy a view of the Old Town’s rooftops and the busy streets below. However, you can also appreciate views over to the New Town, Edinburgh Castle, the Firth of Forth and the Braid Hills.

Experience Edinburgh at its best on your next visit to the city, taking in all the best sites and attractions this historic city has to offer.

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Latest update: March 18, 2021