With its cultural heritage literally towering over the capital, winding paths just waiting to be explored, and generous portions of food and drink in every restaurant and pub, it’s easy to see how Edinburgh attracts so many visitors, including many on business trips.
Despite its status as one of Europe’s top capitals to visit, many of the city’s tourist sites shut by 5 pm, particularly during the winter season. To help business visitors make the most of their limited stay in the capital, here’s a few tips for making the most of Edinburgh, when you’re short on time and big on excitement!
- Get up early…. Rise and shine and head for a run up Carlton Hill, one of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and nicknamed ‘The Athens of the North’. With its amalgamation of columns, towers and follies, the nickname quickly becomes apparent. For those that want a challenge, strap on your shoes and head for a circular run around Arthur’s Seat, the site of what was once an active volcano!
- …Or stay up late. Scotland is known for producing an impressive quality of drinks, particularly whiskies, gins and beers, and where better to sample some of the city’s finest drams that a late night in one of Edinburgh’s many drinking holes?
- Walk with the city’s ghosts. When it came to public executions, witch trials, plagues, you name it, Edinburgh was on top of its game. As a result ghosts and spirits are said to haunt quite a few areas of the capital. Depending on your time availability, the City of the Dead Tours offers multiple options depending on how much you want to see and how much time you have. Most of the ghost tours meet on the Royal Mile and will take visitors to the spots most commonly associated with paranormal activity, such as the vaults and Greyfriars cemetery. Just make sure you rub Greyfriar Bobby’s nose for good luck at the end of the tour – you might need it if a poltergeist has taken a dislike to you!
- Go souvenir shopping and enjoy a whisky tasting session at the same time. Many of the whisky shops on the Royal Mile stay open late and offer samples of whisky before you buy. Not only that, the staff are a fountain of knowledge and can offer a variety of suggestions depending on your taste preferences and budget. Forty pounds will buy you a good bottle of whisky, which is perfect for reminiscing over your trip at the end of a long day.
- Not all who wander are lost….in Edinburgh. In fact, it’s particularly difficult to get lost in Edinburgh, what with all those enormous landmarks towering over you for reference. Regardless, Edinburgh was made for wandering and getting lost on mini-adventures. Its steep staircases, winding roads and nooks and crannies are bursting with unique sites, shops and bars, just waiting to be discovered. The city also retains a large amount of its heritage, meaning the quirky road names, symbols and plaques offer a history lesson all on their own. Here you can discover where Alexander Graham Bell was born, learn about the development of Scottish Parliament, and even stroll past the cafe where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel, to name a few!
Have YOU got any tips for seeing Edinburgh outside of office hours? List them below!