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The Essential Guide to Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh is history incarnate. The Old Town features well-preserved medieval architecture and design, while across a deep valley, the New Town—misleadingly named considering it dates to the 19th century—is a marvel of Georgian buildings and public squares. Other city highlights include Edinburgh Castle, the National Galleries of Scotland, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
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Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK
Perched on a great rock above Edinburgh’s New Town, this impressive castle dominates the city. Iron Age warriors understood the site’s military potential and built a fort here in the late first century C.E. It changed hands several...
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477B Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2NT, UK
One of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile, Gladstone’s Land stands as a tribute to tenement life in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It was once owned by merchant Thomas Gladstone, who extended and remodeled it to include opulently decorated...
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Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, UK
History buffs shouldn’t miss this sprawling museum housed in adjacent modern sandstone and classic Victorian buildings—the latter of which features a magnificent atrium with soaring pillars and high windows. The diverse collections...
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Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, UK
The Palace of Holyroodhouse remains the official residence of Queen Elizabeth when she visits Scotland, and guided tours here include her public reception rooms in the main part of the pile. History buffs, however, will want to see the palace’s...
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Edinburgh EH3 5JY, UK
A distant relative of London’s more famous Kew Gardens, Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens—founded in 1670 to grow medicinal flora—is no less impressive, with everything from an arboretum and rock garden to a Chinese...
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Edinburgh EH99 1SP, UK
It’s hard to imagine that the Scottish Parliament building—an innovative mix of steel, oak, and granite across the road from the Palace of Holyroodhouse—was once the site of a brewery. In 1999, famed Catalan architect Enric...
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34 Thistle St N W Ln, Edinburgh EH2 1EA, UK
An accomplished food journalist in print and on the radio, chef Neil Forbes has also been associated with some of Edinburgh’s best cooking for the past 20 years. At Cafe St Honoré, he works with local, seasonal ingredients from...
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78 Commercial St, Edinburgh EH6 6LX, UK
While The Kitchin is among Edinburgh’s best restaurants—it was awarded a Michelin star in 2007—it’s far from stuffy or pretentious. Housed in a renovated warehouse on the Port of Leith, it revolves around chef Tom...
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267 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8BQ, UK
With this Old Town restaurant, Paul and Lisa Wedgwood aimed to create their “Perfect Night Out.” Here, guests can enjoy fine dining without the pretention, lingering at tables as long as they wish. The menu is inspired by Paul’s...