How to Spend a Weekend in Edinburgh

If you’re looking for an exciting weekend break, Edinburgh is one of the best cities in Europe for a short getaway. The Scottish capital is a hotbed of culture, history and natural beauty, serving up a perfect blend for a memorable UK city break.

If you’re planning to visit Edinburgh in August, it’s something you should be aware of, whether you want to get involved in the festival or avoid the crowds.

1. Visit Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh’s iconic castle dominates the skyline, an imposing testament to the city’s rich history. Alongside stunning views from its vantage point on Castle Rock, there are fascinating exhibitions inside to take you through the castle’s heritage. Visitors can see the oldest crown jewels in Britain, as well as the impressive Stone of Scone - also known as the Stone of Destiny. See the Royal Palace and the Great Hall, and cover your ears for the firing of the One O’Clock Gun!

If you’re looking for hotels near Edinburgh castle, you’ll probably want to book one with a view of the mighty monument, and some of the rooms in our Novotel Edinburgh Centre Hotel offer just that the hotel is less than half a mile’s walk up to the castle, making it an excellent base for any trip to Edinburgh. As well as benefiting from the hotel's convenient central location, guests can relax in the modern wellbeing centre, which that includes a jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath, and use the heated swimming pool and gym. 
2. Climb Arthur’s Seat
If you want to get even higher than the castle, don’t miss the spectacular Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano that rises 250 metres above Edinburgh’s streets. To experience the landmark on-foot, begin at Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch, and can set off on the popular circular walk. It’s also possible to drive up towards the summit and make a much shorter climb to the top, so there’s no reason to miss out! Once at the peak, the views back down over the city are truly breathtaking. 

3. Take a ghost tour
Ghost tours are hugely popular in Edinburgh, whether you plunge the depths in the Blair Street Underground Vaults, or hop aboard The Ghost Bus to discover the mysteries of the city’s haunted history, don’t miss this memorable experience during your weekend break.

4. Shop on Princes Street
For a shopping experience with a difference, head to Princes Street, where you can dip in and out of favourite high-street and designer shops in the shadow of the city’s iconic castle. Depending on when you visit, you might be able to catch a seasonal market at Princes Street Gardens, or check out the nearby Castle Terrace for the farmers’ market every Saturday between 9am and 2pm. 

5. Immerse yourself at the Fringe
One of Edinburgh’s biggest cultural draws is the Fringe, the world’s largest annual arts festival. It takes place in August and brings with tens of thousands of performers to the city. From theatre to dance, comedy, children’s shows, music and spoken word, the Fringe Festival is for everyone. 

If you’re planning to visit Edinburgh in August, it’s something you should be aware of, whether you want to get involved in the festival or avoid the crowds.

We recommend

Edinburgh Castle: Why it’s a must-visit in the Scottish capital
Unmissable festivals Edinburgh
The best cultural activities in Edinburgh

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