Scotland’s capital city has more than its fair share of history, wonderful architecture and museums. Most people have heard of Edinburgh’s main attractions, such as the Castle and the Military Tattoo. But there are many other interesting attractions, some not so well known, as well as facts about the city that can come as a surprise.
Visitors who want to explore the lesser known side of Edinburgh will find there is a great selection of Edinburgh hotels to suit all tastes and budgets. From the comfort of a hotel, the city and surrounding areas can be explored with a car or by using the city’s excellent public transport.
One of Edinburgh’s often overlooked but fascinating attractions is the Camera Obscura. For the uninitiated, a camera obscura can be a hole in a room or a box, although in Edinburgh’s case it is in a roof. Light passes through the hole, projecting the external view on to an inside surface where delighted visitors can enjoy breathtaking views in a 360-degree angle right round the city. Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura is situated in a Victorian tower next to the castle.
Everyone has heard of Edinburgh Castle. But did you know that Edinburgh has a second medieval castle? Craigmillar Castle, with its association to Mary Queen of Scots, was built between the 14th and 16th centuries. A short bus ride takes visitors to the castle, which has gardens, a courtyard, tearooms and one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses. There are many nooks and crannies to explore which reveal the engrossing, dark history of Craigmillar.
Did you know that there’s a rather interesting island just a short bus ride from Edinburgh city centre? Take the Lothian bus and you will come to Cramond Island, which lies at the end of the route. There is a paved walkway connecting the mainland to the island, which is actually a tidal island so this should not be attempted at high tide. In fact, it is very important to know the tide times when visiting Cramond as people have been stranded on many occasions. Cramond Island is interesting as it is unspoilt and has many fortifications remaining from the Second World War.
How many people are aware that one of Edinburgh’s seven hills is known as Arthur’s Seat and that it is an extinct volcano? From Arthur’s Seat superb views can be enjoyed overlooking the Old Town, the New Town and Edinburgh Castle. When the weather is good you may even spot the Ochil Hills, which lie some distance from the Forth Bridge. A popular spot for hill walking, it is claimed that the Arthur’s Seat is named after the legends of King Arthur.
Many people are unaware of the sheer size of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In fact, this is the largest arts festival in the world and was initially set up as an alternative to the Edinburgh Festival. Acts from over 60 nations put on more than 2,500 shows in venues in and around the city. The Festival was established as long ago as the late 1940s and takes place every year in August, when thousands of visitors flock to the city. A showcase for the performing arts, especially comedy and theatre, the festival also hosts music and dance productions.