Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Festival Season Is Coming To Edinburgh
A range of hotels in Edinburgh city centre offer easy access to its popular summer music, theatre, comedy, art and film festivals, but also the Scottish capital's year-round attractions.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland's top tourist attraction, sits on volcanic rock at the top of what's known as the Royal Mile — where you can stop at a variety of pubs and restaurants as you make your way up or down. The site houses the Scottish Crown Jewels and the "Stone of Destiny" (where Scottish monarchs were crowned) among its historic buildings, and also offers a great vantage point from which to view the rest of the city.

The Royal Mile links Edinburgh Castle to the Palace Of Holyroodhouse, which acts as Queen Elizabeth's official Scottish residence. But even commoners can tour Holyrood's royal apartments, throne room and portrait galleries when Liz isn't in town — and she usually isn't.

Sticking with the monarchy theme, the decommissioned Royal Yacht Britannia is permanently berthed at the Ocean Terminal leisure and retail complex in the city's charming northern neighbourhood of Leith. The five-deck yacht can be toured with an audio headset that's available in 17 languages.

Edinburgh is a pretty walkable city, but tours are also available via bicycle, bus and even chauffeur-driven motor trikes. But no matter your means of transportation, it's not hard to soak in the elegance and history of Scotland's second largest city (after Glasgow) and the second most visited tourist destination in the U.K. (after London).

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