Great Escapes: the quaint city where old meets new - Edinburgh, Scotland

Great Escapes: the quaint city where old meets new - Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a multi-faceted city with a rich history, varied culture, and beautiful landscapes


A panoramic view from the summit of Arthur's Seat combining Edinburgh's vibrant city centre (left) and the peaceful seaside (right)
Photo: YP cadet Malcolm McNicol

When it comes to cities to cross off your bucket list, Edinburgh has got to be up there. As this year’s Fringe Festival (the world’s largest arts festival) is currently underway, it would be a disservice not to talk about all the other aspects that the fascinating Scottish capital provides.

Where do we begin - the beautiful landscapes of both rural and urban areas? The historic stories that are told through the city’s buildings? Or shall we talk about Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and Arthur’s Seat? Though the city is fairly small, it is blessed with an interesting variety of attractions that are even more amazing when you see them with your own eyes.

The most underrated element of the city is the ease and convenience of travelling – it is not difficult to get around by foot, but if that doesn’t interest you then the bus services are extremely quick. From the abundant greenery to the impressive architecture etched throughout the capital, it’s almost impossible to keep your eyes focused on one thing - as there will often be another attraction just as fascinating right next to it.

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When you think of Edinburgh, you picture the likes of the Castle and other impressive historical monuments, but the city has much more to offer than just ‘cool’ museums and architecture.

Edinburgh is quickly becoming one of the more sophisticated and cultured cities in the UK. Along with a vibrant night-life, the café/indie culture is becoming increasingly popular, especially due to the large diversification of students studying in the area.

Top photo spot

The beginning trail of a short hike towards the top of Arthur's Seat, one of Edinburgh's top attractions
Photo: YP cadet Malcolm McNicol

For those interested in photography, Edinburgh is filled with Instagram gems – whether you want to look at the intricate details of the old-fashioned buildings, or the grand landscapes viewed from Edinburgh Castle, you’ll certainly need to free up the memory on your phone before your trip.

But the one spot that beats them all has got to be at the summit of Arthur’s Seat – where a short hike to the peak of a group of hills located on the East of the city centre provides an immense panoramic view of the entire city. Look to your left and you see the whole city centre, from the Castle to Prince’s street; and juxtaposed on your right is the mellow seaside, where you can catch a glimpse of the calming waves hitting Portobello Beach.

How to get there and getting around

The city’s airport is flooded with tourists from all around Europe. Budget airlines and convenient trains make Edinburgh very easy to get to. From there, all you have to do is explore – take a tram or bus to Prince’s Street, choose a direction, and start your journey. Even if you have a set itinerary or plan, you’ll almost certainly be stopping multiple times throughout your trip to simply have a look around.

A day ticket of £4.00 (HK$40) gives you unlimited rides on Edinburgh’s bus services, taking you anywhere you need to go within the city.

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Today’s specialty

The variety of restaurants spread throughout the city is immense. If you’re looking for a quick bite to take away then you can check our Byron, Gourmet Burger Kitchen or BRGR. If you want a classy date spot and fine dining, why not check out The Balmoral or try Chaophraya – where you can eat classy Thai food whilst feasting your eyes on the view of Edinburgh Castle.

As students, how could we not talk about Meal Deals – the £3.00 (HK$30) iconic British delicacy consisting of a sandwich, bag of crisps and drink (and if you don’t choose Irn Bru, are you even in Scotland?).  

But what’s really special is the amount of cafes that provide local lunches in rustic spaces. The likes of Black Medicine Coffee and The Elephant House are perfect places to take a break and open up a book while you enjoy a coffee and some homemade pastries. The ambience within these cafés truly embodies the pleasantness of Edinburgh as a city.


A snap taken from Prince's Gardens, showing the grand Edinburgh Castle overlooking the entire city
Photo: YP cadet Malcolm McNicol

Edinburgh Castle

How could you not? It’s at the centre of everyone’s attention once arriving at the city, standing tall above Old Town and towering over Prince’s Street. It comes with an interesting history and is certainly the number one sight to visit.

Royal Botanic Garden

Another popular attraction, one that will fill your afternoon with colour. The gardens are full of beautiful landscapes and the serene fields make for a nice stroll.

Fringe Festival

What we all associate Edinburgh with, the largest arts festival in the world. Over the month of August, performing arts fans flood the city to participate in shows ranging from dance to comedy.


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