Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a fine city containing many historic sites and a host of tourist attractions. It well deserves its UNESCO World Heritage status. Whether you are visiting for the weekend or spending a longer time here, you'll find plenty to see and do. It is always a good idea when visiting somewhere new, to familiarise yourself with the most noteworthy sights and to note their position in relation to one other. A popular way to achieve this is to take a tourist bus which allows you to hop on and hop off at any stop. An informative and entertaining commentary is given by the driver. Most of these buses can be boarded by the Scott monument on the Waverley Bridge.
Edinburgh is a mix of medieval streets and edifaces, Georgian splendour and modern architecture. The Royal Mile is, with the exception of Princes Street, the busiest tourist area. It runs through the old town from Edinburgh Castle to the Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the queen when visiting the city. This historic thoroughfare has several notable buildings including the seventeenth century merchant's townhouse, Gladstone's Land; the Parliament House in Parliament Square; St. Giles Cathedral; the Canongate Tollbooth and the Gatehouse to Holyrood Palace. Although you can enjoy good views over the city from the castle, for an even more impressive panarama, take yourself on a pleasant walk to the top of Arthur's Hill. At a height of over eight hundred feet, it is the main peak of the hills to the east of the castle. With a plethora of galleries, museums and concert halls, you'll find a cultural activity wherever you turn. For those seeking lighter entertainment, try the Edinburgh Dungeon, the Botanic Gardens or even the zoo. Edinburgh Zoo has the only giant pandas in the UK and is a very popular attraction. The 12, 26 and 31 buses will take you there from the city centre.
Princes Street is the main road through Edinburgh and, for the most part has buildings on only one side, giving an open aspect to the castle and the old town. Do take a look at the floral clock, the first of its kind in the world. First constructed in 1902, it is planted each year with tens of thousands of plants that flower in July and August. Although this is the 'new town', construction was begun as early as the late eighteenth century. Princes Street has the main department stores and there are many delightful independent shops in the Greater Grassmarket. Restaurants provide a huge variety of cuisine, capable of satisfying all tastes and budgets.
Edinburgh is a lively city with a great number of evening venues including pubs, clubs and discos. It is host to several festivals throughout the year incuding the Arts Festival, the Fringe Comedy Festival and the Military Tattoo. It is no surprise that Edinburgh welcomes huge numbers of visitors from across the world.
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