Four Seasons in One Day
|Edinburgh looking east to Calton Hill and the Firth of Forth (Corel)|
Few things beat the spectacle of seeing the Scottish plumage displayed at the first flush of summerstrappy 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 Fringecelebrations of art, music, and culturehit 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 crescentsa 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'saka Hogmanayfestivities, 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.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Best Hotels in Edinburgh