For the next 48 hours, Edinburgh is yours - could it, perhaps, be the best weekend you'll ever have?! We think so.
Your morning is all about seeing the best of the city from great vantage points, be that the top of a double-decker bus, a 60 m high monument or the summit of Arthur's Seat. Then it's time to slip below the surface to discover the secrets of Edinburgh's oldest streets!
Probably not many city getaways start with climbing an extinct volcano, but we think the more adventurous of you are going to love it, especially on a clear day! Head to Holyrood Park, located near the bottom of the Royal Mile, and take in the best views of the city from the top of Arthur's Seat. You'll get incredible panoramas over Edinburgh, and beyond to the majestic Kingdom of Fife.
Alternatively, another great way to get a feel for this exciting city is to take an open top Edinburgh Bus Tour. Departing from Waverley Bridge, the tour takes 1 hour in total. It's a hop on, hop off service which gives you the freedom to do a bit of exploring along the route, if that takes your fancy! You'll pass some awesome parts of the city such as the New Town, Old Town and Grassmarket, and see Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and much more besides.
Even if the idea of a shopping trip doesn't float your boat (and if it does, you are in luck - Edinburgh is awesome for shopping!), you'll probably agree that other city centre shopping districts are no match to the grandeur of Princes Street and George Street. The best place to appreciate this is from the top of the Scott Monument, a striking Gothic-style structure at the east end of Princes Street. Climb it and take in the sprawling views over Princes Street Gardens, the Scottish National Gallery and many other features of the city skyline.
What we love about Edinburgh most is its contrasts, particularly when it comes to admiring the juxtaposing architecture of the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. So, without further ado, head to the Royal Mile, taking Waverley Bridge and heading up pretty Cockburn Street. Walk up High Street and pop into St Giles' Cathedral, a historic place of worship founded in the 1120s. Now, it's time to go underground and into the lost street of the Real Mary King's Close to uncover the stories of the people who lived there over 400 years ago.
If you've been chilled by some of the strange and grizzly tales from Edinburgh's past, then why not warm up with a dram? Head toward the of the Royal Mile and join an early evening tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience where you can discover just what goes on in making the amber-coloured spirit, and identify which whiskies suit your palate. Get tips on how to taste and appreciate the national drink as you stand in the room with the world's largest collection of whisky. It's pretty impressive!
Royal Mile and Grassmarket
As night draws in, it's time to see what Edinburgh's nightlife is all about. Tuck into in one of the restaurants on George IV Bridge or on the Royal Mile, where you'll find a great variety of eateries. If you fancy something really special, why not make a reservation at one of the city's Michelin star restaurants? For a nightcap, head down charming Victoria Street to the warm and welcoming pubs of the Grassmarket.
Edinburgh's cultural treasures
Today you can enjoy a superb blend of history and culture as you see some of the city's most famous sights. Throw in a dash of green spaces, add some evening entertainment, plus a good meal, and we'd say you've got the recipe for a perfect day out!
If Edinburgh's iconic castle is a must for you, then we recommend heading there first to beat the crowds. Just walking up the esplanade on approach, you know you're about to step into one of Scotland's most special historic buildings. Take in the views across the city and learn about the dramatic events which have played out between these ancient walls as you explore great halls, royal chambers, monuments and dungeons.
Afterwards, head over to the National Museum of Scotland (if you go via George IV Bridge you can see the statue of the famous Greyfriars Bobby!). This world-class museum is the most visited attraction outside of London and is filled with incredible displays covering history, natural heritage, world cultures, design, innovation, technology and more. If you're a fan of the macabre, or have a passion for pathology and medical science, why not pay a visit to the Surgeons' Hall Museum, home to thousands of tissue specimens preserved in jars?
Fancy a breath of fresh air? Then take a stroll through the tree-lined avenues of the Meadows. Located near the university, it's one of the city's best-loved green spaces. Alternatively, if you're keen to cram a bit more culture in before the day is over, make your way back to Princes Street and wander round the Scottish National Gallery, or see what's on at the Fruitmarket Gallery or City Art Centre, both located on Market Street near Waverley Station.
If you're in the mood for some entertainment this evening, why not discover what's on at Edinburgh's theatres and concert halls? There are great opportunities to catch West End musicals, internationally-acclaimed artists, thought provoking drama and more. Or, uncover the city's connections to the written word on the Literary Pub Tour.
Dine out in the New Town tonight - did you know that many of Edinburgh's top eateries can be found on Thistle Street? Or perhaps you'll venture to Stockbridge, a pretty village-like area with a cool yet relaxed vibe, and choose from the great wine bars, restaurants and bistros.