From the winding medieval closes of the Old Town, to the grandiose Georgian crescents of the New, Edinburgh is a city that never fails to enchant. Packed with history, mystery and an astonishing collection of world-class attractions, there is plenty to see and do in the beautiful Scottish capital – a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stroll the length of the picturesque Royal Mile, and pay a visit to imposing Edinburgh Castle, one of the top tourist attractions in Scotland. Follow in the footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots with a tour of Holyrood Palace, or imagine yourself setting sail on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, now docked in the port of Leith. Feeling brave? Head out on a spooky ghost tour after dark, or descend into the underground world of Mary King's Close, an abandoned street buried beneath the modern city, to hear tales of its former residents. The newly renovated National Museum of Scotland, meanwhile, is a treasure trove of diverse exhibits, with great interactive sections for kids. Families will also enjoy exploring Our Dynamic Earth, an exciting science museum delving into the geology of the region, and paying a visit to the creatures large and small at the Edinburgh Zoo – home to the UK's only pandas.
Art lovers can peruse at their leisure the rich collections in the Scottish National Gallery, or admire more contemporary works at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Also worth a visit is the Scottish Portrait Gallery, where you can come face-to-face with characters out of Scottish history. Edinburgh also boasts a number of theatres, concert venues and several comedy clubs, so you'll never be short of cultural entertainment.
Of course, if you're visiting during the summer months, and particularly August, you can take in all the action at the world-famous Edinburgh festivals – from the high culture on show at the International Festival, to the kaleidoscopic diversity of the Fringe. There's also a Book Festival, Science Festival, Jazz Festival and more – Edinburgh is a true festival city. New Year's Eve is also a brilliant time to visit, when you can take part in the massive Hogmanay street party and witness a stunning display of fireworks over the castle.
If you're feeling tired after all this sightseeing (and negotiating Edinburgh's many hills and cobbled streets), pause to rest in the lovely Princes Street Gardens, or take a wander along the Water of Leith. Nature lovers may wish to spend an afternoon in the Royal Botanic Gardens, or even muster the energy to climb Arthur's Seat – an extinct volcano on the city's edge, with spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. Edinburgh is also known for its vibrant selection of places to eat and drink, which range from cosy pubs and bistros to stylish cocktail bars and no less than five Michelin-starred restaurants – so there are plenty of appealing options for refreshments at the day's end.
Ready to explore the fascinating Scottish capital? Book your stay in Edinburgh with Marriott and you'll be wandering its ancient streets in no time.