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Edinburgh guide
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Last updated : Nov 2009
Edinburgh Travel Guide
Edinburgh Travel Guide and Edinburgh Travel Information -
‘Heart of the ancient celtic kingdom’

The setting of Scotland’s capital city could not be more striking. Located in the Lothians, Edinburgh is perched on a number of extinct volcano cones and rocky crags and has a beauty unequalled anywhere in Britain.

The origin of the name ‘Edinburgh’ is uncertain but the city’s original name, mentioned in a poem composed around 600 AD. What is certain is that Edinburgh has been inhabited since 1500 BC, making it one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in northern Europe. The city grew in importance and, by the end of the 15th century, was established as Scotland’s capital. Scotland’s connection with England became closer after 1603, when James VI of Scotland became James I of England, effectively uniting the two crowns. In 1707, the Act of Union (uniting the Scottish and English parliaments) Scotland retained its own Church and separate legal and educational systems. With the re-introduction of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, Edinburgh has become a centre of political power again.

The city has successfully established itself as a leading international centre for finance, business and education. Industry in Edinburgh continues to boom. After London, it is the most important financial centre in Britain.

The city has four universities. The oldest is the University of Edinburgh and was established in 1583. The city is a World Heritage Site, thanks to its medieval Old Town, 12th-century castle and 18th-century Georgian New Town. A large proportion of the city is composed of green areas and parkland. The only dull note is its chilly and damp climate, best summed up by the Scottish word ‘dreich’ that translates as ‘damp, grey and drizzly’.

For this reason, most tourists visit Edinburgh in summer (between July and September) and particularly in August, for the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival. There is also a lively Fringe Festival, Military Tattoo and the Book, Film and Jazz Festivals running concurrently. It is also very crowded at this time, with accommodation booked up months in advance. Another influx of visitors occurs over the New Years, when the popular Hogmanay Festival takes place. The quietest time to visit is either in the spring or late autumn, when the attractions are less overrun with tourists and some hotels offer discounts.
Useful travel links
Official website for Scottish Tourism