A medieval bastion with a dazzling Georgian elegance, Edinburgh, Scotland is a treasure trove of picturesque architecture and charming beauty, earning itself the nickname of the “Athens of the North.” Steeped in illustrious history, the regal city has retained its royal grandeur along with a modern vibe. This guide will help you discover the Edinburgh off the beaten path as a worldwide local and locate its wonderful hidden gems.
Within the hustle and bustle of a major city is a neighborhood that offers a village-like atmosphere, seemingly untouched by time. Stockbridge, set along the banks of the Water of Leith is a scenic bastion of Edinburgh hotels and restaurants. Walk through the rustic neighborhood and mingle with the locals. Visit open-air markets that sell fresh produce, then enjoy a pint in a cozy pub. Shop for some local handmade crafts and grab a bargain at the charity shops on the High Street. Don’t forget to keep your camera ready as you stumble upon Circus Lane--it’s beautiful from every angle.
Worldwide Local Tip: Take an intimate walk by the delightful Water of Leith. A stretch of narrow pathways along the main river that flows through the city, it is perfect for a peaceful stroll in the brisk Edinburgh weather, with stunning views of pretty watermills and quaint waterfalls.
While Edinburgh is filled with elegant beige colored buildings, the city is also blessed with verdant open spaces, where the locals gather to enjoy the greenery. Just across the baroque Holyrood Palace is an extinct volcano that you can scale to see magnificent views of the bustling city and the rolling green fields on the horizon. This visage is a famous one, as you can see the volcano towering over the city as you approach, whether flying into Edinburgh airport or riding in on the London to Edinburgh train. The volcano is named Arthur’s Seat (supposedly derived from the legendary story of King Arthur), allowing you to become a part of the fabled tales of the great King as you rest upon his seat.
Worldwide Local Tip: Not many visitors know about the eerie underground dwelling of Gilmerton Cove, even though it’s one of the most unique things to do in Edinburgh. It’s a network of crevices and tight caverns under the busy avenues, along Drum Street, just on the outskirts of the city. A place shrouded in mystery, it’s a fascinating place to discover under the radar (literally!).
Edinburgh is famous for its history of shaping the country of Scotland, but you can also see what the future holds for the country at the Scottish Parliament. A huge contrast to its English counterpart in London, it has intriguing interior and exterior designs that would not look out of place at a contemporary art museum. As part of a guided tour, you can see art galleries and local exhibits items as a tribute to the rich Scottish history.
Worldwide Local Tip: Portobello Beach is a local favorite for a place to pass the time in Edinburgh, relaxing or taking a dip in the water. Walk along its gorgeous promenade lined with some of the best restaurants and bars, or feel the fine golden sand between your toes as you stroll down the beach.
Edinburgh is more than just ramparts of the Edinburgh Castle or the cobblestone streets of the Old Town. It has the charisma of a community that is proud of its remarkable past and enthusiastic about its future. Uncover the city’s inner beauty as a worldwide local and witness the treasure of Edinburgh beyond its popular spots.