Four Seasons in One Day

Summer in the City
Page 5 of 5   |  
Edinburgh looking east to Calton Hill and the Firth of Forth (Corel)
Trail Tips
• The return trip is mostly uphill. Plan on taking a bus (numbers 8, 19, 23, or 27 will get you home).
• To round out your day, try the Mussel Inn on Rose Street (61-65 Rose Street; +44.131.225.5979, www.mussel-inn.com), a great choice for casual and hearty seafood.
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Few things beat the spectacle of seeing the Scottish plumage displayed at the first flush of summer—strappy crop-tops, garish surfer shorts, and brilliant ivory skin unused to the kiss of sunshine (and painfully sunburned the following day). This solar demonstration makes Edinburgh's main thoroughfare, Princes Street, unbearably busy at the height of summer, especially when the International Festival and Fringe—celebrations of art, music, and culture—hit town in August each year.

Head due north from Princes Street along either Hanover or Frederick Streets, cross George Street, and crest the central spine of the city, the proverbial divide between Edinburgh's Old and New Towns. A steep descent brings you into the ordered world of Georgian town houses, private gardens, and crescents—a shining example of city planning lest you forget that New Town came about to separate the upper echelons of Edinburgh society from the pervasive squalor and disease of the Old. Hardly a ringing endorsement for mixed-use urban development.

Passing through Stockbridge, with the sun hopefully still shining, indulge in liquid replenishment at one of the many cafés and pubs (a particular favorite is the Wally Dug: 32 Northumberland Street; +44.131.556.3271). But the final goal should be the Royal Botanic Gardens (Inverleith Row; +44.131.552.7171, www.rbge.org.uk), a well-kept, peaceful place where you'll enjoy strolling through the Chinese Garden, Orchid House, and the native Scottish Heath Garden. The view back toward the city center is spectacular, a vista crowned by the castle and its gray-haunched walls. In fact, the Inverleith area is a great spot to take in any one Edinburgh's spectacular firework displays, either to mark the end of Edinburgh's month-long summer festival or the city's famed New Year's—aka Hogmanay—festivities, without the same bursting crowds that fill the main streets in the center of town. Such occasions also offer the rare chance to crack open a bottle of bubbly before the rain returns and dampens the spectacle that is Edinburgh.


Published: 13 May 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Edinburgh

$103-$381
Average/night*
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#1
The Scotsman Hotel
$148-$172
Average/night*
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#2
The Knight Residence
$201-$352
Average/night*
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#3
The Howard
$223
Average/night*
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#4
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh

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