I found an ATM in the Edinburgh airport (look for the Travelex exchange) and was able to use my card at the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Clydesdale Bank machine did not look like it would take my card. The ATM at the airport dispensed English pounds, the one in the center dispensed Scottish pounds. I did take some of the Scottish pounds to London with me, and although the clerk at Woolworth's had to go get his boss to verify that it was indeed valid currency, I had no trouble using it in London.
On my most recent visit, I didn't have to use the ATM at all, I had some British pounds leftover and then used my credit card for restaurants having prebooked my Explorer pass and my tickets for the Fringe Festival and the Military Tattoo.
All of this may change if Scotland votes for independence in September 2014...
> Edinburgh was founded in the 7th century, but it was not until c. AD 950 that the city, referred to at this time in the Pictish Chronicle as "oppidum Eden", fell to the Scots and finally remained under their jurisdiction. During this period of Germanic influence the city's got its Germanic suffix 'burgh'.
> The city sprawls over a landscape which was caused by intense volcanic activity and glaciers.
> Edinburgh is affectionately known by Scots as "Auld Reekie" meaning "Old Smelly/Stinky"... because with its open sewers and refuse left to fester in the narrow closes & wynds, the city's *aroma* used to be pungent (understatement of the century...). It can also mean "Old Smokie". This nickname refers to the smoke from the chimneys of the tenements and closely packed houses, many of which are still stained in black soot to this day.
> Many forget (or don't even realize) that Edinburgh is actually a coastal town, lying on the East Coast of Scotland by the North Sea. The harbour area is in the district known as Leith.
> Edinburgh is located in Greenwich Mean Time Zone.
> The weather in Edinburgh is always unpredictable. Even in summer I would pack some warm clothes, a raincoat and umbrella. Comfortable walking shoes are always a good idea.
> Edinburgh's population is almost 450,000. But that figure swells to well over 1 million during its famous arts festivals in August, making it the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, after London.
> The buildings of the "New Town" are from the 18th century; they contrast with the 16th and 17th century tenement buildings of the High Street and Old Town.
> Currency: GBP (British Pound) and the Scottish Pound (equal value).
> Country telephone code: +44, city code: 0131.
> Emergency Telephone for Police, Medical, Fire & Coastguard: Dial 999.
> The electricity in the UK is 220-240V/50Hz; 13 amp plug with 3 rectangular pins.
Fondest memory: > Each year, Edinburgh hosts the biggest New Year street party in the world (Edinburgh's Hogmanay) and the biggest arts & culture festival in the world, The Edinburgh Festival or "The Fringe" (in August).
> Edinburgh University, one of the most famous universities in the world, was established in 1583.
> There are over 60 art galleries and museums in Edinburgh.
> Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city skyline, is the most popular visitor attraction in Scotland with over 1 million visitors each year.
> The Palace of Holyroodhouse is The Queen's official residence in Scotland.
> Edinburgh, along with Bath, Rome and Venice, has been designated a World Heritage Site.
> Useful website: www.edinburgh.org/
The main tourist office is on Princes Street next to Waverley train station and the Waverley Hotel -- lots of information available re accommodation, tours, sights, etc
Tel: 0845 22 55 121
3, Princes Street
BHS Store on Princes Street.
Great British Breakfast 10 items of YOUR choice such as 2 eggs, two sausages, beans would make five + bacon, 2 black pudding, tomato and mushrooms would make 10 + one slice of toast comes to £2.69. €3.97.
Its on Rose Street or go right through the BHS from Princes St to the back.
Oh and here's a tip offten if you buy something they give you a chit to use at the restaurant which will give you 20% off.
The drinks are dearer with a mug of chocolate or coffee it could come to €6.63 £4.49p.
For US travelers, Edinburgh is an expensive city but you can get by with virtually no transportation cost except the rather inexpensive airport bus (currently L5 round trip), all of the major museums have free admission, St. Giles and Parliament are both free to enter. Walking to the top of Calton Hill or Arthur's Seat won't cost you a dime (and will help you work off some of that full Scottish breakfast)
Hotels-Ibis has a hotel right near the Royal Mile and if you are really low on funds there is a youth hostel. Or you can try laterooms.com to see what kind of reduced rates are out there.
Food-lots of inexpensive options, pub fare, kebabs, fish and chips, all can be had for under L10
Seems like there are two REALLY busy times to go to Edinburgh, at New Year's for the Hogmany celebrations and in the summer when they have the Festival. I chose January, not because I thought it was a particularly good time to visit Edinburgh but because it fit in with my travel plans to visit London for the big VT meeting on January 21, 2006.
It was a little chilly, especially at the top of Calton Hill and Edinburgh Castle and of course the gardens are not much to see but otherwise I found it a fine time to visit, nothing was particularly crowded, I got a better rate on accomodations and didn't need to book anything in advance.
Edinburgh seems to be obsessed with ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night
Almost every place we visited had at least one ghost, and night time ghost tours are very popular, Edinburgh is home to Scotlands most haunted pub `Nicol Edwards`, obviously a good place to visit if you like to drink spirits
lf you like the idea of being scared half witless then check out Auld Reekies tours on www.auldreekietours.co.uk
Fondest memory: here is VT member Suet with her new friend at the entrance to Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile, this is the starting for the scare-you-to-bits tours
Favorite thing: My favourite thing about my trip to Edinburgh was just walking around. Through Princes St gardens, up little alleys, down the Royal Mile, around Arthur's Seat. There are always things you will miss if you stay in a car or on a bus. I feel fulfilled after spending a day or two walking around and exploring a new city, exhausted, but fulfilled.
Stroll along the high street and soak up the atmosphere, try and catch a rugby match, visit the many drinking establishments and stock up on the calories in the decent curry houses and restaurants to be found. For reviews of over 200 pubs in the city, click HERE.
There are plenty things to do and see in Edinburgh, many more than can be covered in a weekend. Click HERE for more information.
See my 'Must see activities' for a few things we managed to squeeze in around the constant eating!
Fondest memory: The traffic wardens are extremely efficient. I parked my car in a controlled area where parking is free until 8am. I went to my car at 7.55am. Guess what, 2 traffic wardens were already there waiting to issue parking tickets. Never knew they are so efficient!
edinburgh is unique. it is the capital but with a small village feel. a little snobier than glasgow but yet so friendly.
if you love history and old stones, edinburgh is an open museum. the city centre is so beautiful and so compact you can walk through the entire city by foot.
if you feel tired just hop on a bus for 50p.
of course you hava to see the classics: castle, hoyrood palace, royal mile, scottish museum...and the festival if you're there in august is great if you like art and live evant.
but the best thing is to stay in a hostel or b&b and walk the city.it's a maze with all the closes linking the streets together.
outside the city go see leith and the docks. some parts can be rough i've heard but i've never had problems( i don't know of any rough neighborhood in edinburgh) the port is very nice and you can have dinner in a pub along the firth of forth (estuary). great shoppping on prince's street (expensive).
Fondest memory: as a football fan, my fondest memory was a biweekly ritual. going to see my beloved hibees play at easter road stadium on sat afternoon and later warm up in the pub with a good pint of'80'shillings' and talk 'a wee bit about fitba'. i just loved it. and chatting with a scottish lad in a pub after a 'few' pints is something!!!
anyway if you're not into sports you still must see an old firm game. period.
this is the oldest derby (rivalry) in the world
it happens in glasgow between celtic and rangers. this is a must. so ask anybody when you're in scotland how to get there or email me for tips
I was in Edinburgh on Sunday and Monday just past, and as usual, had a great time!
Edinburgh is a great place for meeting other travellers. Two of my friends (who are South Africans) and myself stepped out of a pub in Edinburgh and saw some people playing with a dog. One friend, who loves dogs, started to play with it also. As it turned out, they thought it was our dog, we thought it was their dog, and it wasn't actually either, the dog belonged to someone else entirely! Anyway, this got us all talking and as it turned out these people were australians, so we ended up going to another pub with them and had a great time! (I must admit, I felt a bit left out as I was the only person who came from Scotland - a tourist in my own country!!)
My fondest memories of Edinburgh involve visiting a friend who was at Uni there.
One trip involved taking her to hospital because she had burnt her leg on a hot water bottle. She had been out celebrating the resignation of Margaret Thatcher.
Whenever I went to visit something always seemed to happen. There was never a dull moment!
Visit the Castle... walk along princes street... just take in the sites! It is a gorgeous city. Just being there is an absolute must.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Edinburgh... is just walking around. Looking at the buildings... watching the people. The entire city was an experience- I loved it!
Favorite thing: The building on the left is the Royal Bank of Scotland. I have a certain Irish ex-boyfriend who does the sign of the cross every time he sees or hears of this bank....let's just say it's made him a large sum of money in a short amount of time.