Now is the time to visit Edinburgh with festival season in full swing and lovely weather to boot
The PlaceÂ Edinburgh, Scotland
The RouteÂ Flying in from London or another European hub is the fastest option,Â but for those with time on their hands, the four-and-half-hour train trip with East Coast (eastcoast.co.uk; one-way first-class tickets from US$73) provides a scenic prelude, particularly along the seaside stretch of track north of Newcastle. ForÂ the best views, be sure to get a seat on the right-hand side of the carriage.
The Draw Described as â€śa dream in masonry and living rockâ€ť by native son Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish capital is one of Europeâ€™s most beguiling cities. History buffs will want to explore the Royal Mile, the medieval road connecting EdinburghÂ Castle with the 16th-century Palace of Holyroodhouse, where Mary, Queen of Scots once lived. A hike up Arthurâ€™s Seat is also well worthwhile for its views across the cityâ€™s spire-studded skyline to the Firth of Forth.
Why Now? Edinburghâ€™s cultural calendar reaches its crescendo in August, with dozens of festivals and events held across the city. Among the highlights are the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest and arguably most rambunctious of its kind in the world. For dates and details, visit edinburghfestivals.co.uk.
Where to Stay With just four enormous suites set in an 18th-century town house, The Atholl (theatholl.com; doubles from US$1,533) is as exclusiveâ€”and expensiveâ€”a hotel as youâ€™ll find in Edinburgh; each suite comes with its own kitchen and the services of an Albert Rouxâ€“trained chef. For something homier, Festival Beds (festivalbeds.co.uk) can arrange stays at a host of reasonably priced downtown B&Bsâ€”a good alternative should hotel rooms prove elusive in August, when the city swells to bursting point with festivalgoers.
Originally appeared in theÂ Aug/Sept 2013 print issueÂ of DestinAsian magazine (â€śNext Stop: Edinburghâ€ť)