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Edinburgh city breaks: Book your next Edinburgh holiday

Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful destinations for a city break in all of the UK, Edinburgh is a top choice for your next staycation. Known for its incredibly long history, Harry Potter connections, colourful festivals and rich array of attractions, one thing's for sure - you could never be bored in Edinburgh.

Wander through the narrow and atmospheric streets of Edinburgh's Old Town, get your adrenaline pumping by climbing Arthurs Seat, duck into pubs that have been around for centuries or time your stay to coincide with renowned festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe.

No matter what sort of trip you're after, whether that's a romantic getaway, a fun-filled group holiday or a family adventure, Edinburgh truly has something for everyone. Check out our guide for the best Edinburgh city break deals.

When is the best time to visit Edinburgh?

We won't sugarcoat it: UK weather is notoriously unpredictable, with rain and clouds being a regular feature even during our summers! But, if you're going to Edinburgh for the weather alone, then there are better months to plan a visit.

But, if you're happy to work with the weather and make the most of your city break regardless of what's going on outside, then you'll be delighted to hear that Edinburgh has a full roster of events and festivals across the entire year. That means that there's no bad time to visit Edinburgh - it all depends on what you want to do while you're there!

Here's our breakdown to Edinburgh's seasons and what you can expect when you visit.

🌸 Spring: There may still be a bit of a chill in the air, but spring is a beautiful time to be in the city. Flowers will be blooming and the daily sunshine hours will steadily increase as the season progresses. Head to the Royal Botanic Garden to see the city's most vibrant blooms and check out events like the Edinburgh Children's Festival.

☀️ Summer: The most popular time to be in Edinburgh, summer is when temperatures hit their peak, sunshine hours are longest and the big summer festivals, like Edinburgh Fringe, will be in full swing. Book early as this is when flight and hotel prices will be at their highest.

🍁 Autumn: With Edinburgh's foliage taking on hues of red, gold and orange and the weather still being fairly mild, autumn is a gorgeous time to be in the city. Climb Arthurs Seat to get the best views of the autumn colours and don't miss out on Bonfire Night - a real highlight of November.

❄️ Winter: Christmas, Hogmanay and Burns Night - Edinburgh's winter is far from boring! While the weather may be cold, this is another popular time to be in Edinburgh. Bundle yourself up in a coat and venture into the city for some quintessentially Scottish events.

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Where to stay in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a large city, so it can be a little daunting when choosing a place to stay. Fortunately, many of Edinburgh's main sights are concentrated in the city centre - many within walking distance of each other - and public transport links are excellent.

That means no matter where you may base yourself in the city, it'll still be easy to get to where you need to go. Whether it's your first time in the city or you're looking for great food or nightlife, some areas will be better suited to you than others. Here are our top picks.

Edinburgh for first-time visitors

If you're fortunate enough to be visiting Edinburgh for the very first time, your best plan of attack is to stay central. This means that you'll want to check out accommodation in two specific areas: Old Town and New Town.

Meeting at Princes Street, Old Town and New Town contain almost all of Edinburgh's most renowned sights. That includes Edinburgh Castle, National Galleries of Scotland, Camera Obscura, the Royal Mile and Calton Hill, to mention but a few. So, if sightseeing is your main goal, central is where you need to stay.

Thankfully, these areas feature a huge range of accommodation types, some more budget friendly than others. From hostels and apartments to boutique hotels and luxury five-star hotels, you'll have the freedom of choosing the accommodation that makes the most sense for your holiday budget. But be warned - staying central is the most popular option so you'll want to book ahead, especially during festivals and summer.

Edinburgh for foodies

You can find great food and drink across Edinburgh, but Leith is a bit of a hidden gem; this is where you'll find an impressive concentration of the city's finest restaurants, bars and cafes. Among these are Michelin-starred restaurants and a range of eateries that seem to encompass just about every type of international cuisine. If you're short on time, make sure that you visit the Kitchin, Fishers and Borough at a minimum!

A port district, Leith feels very different compared to Old Town/New Town, although it's got great connections to the centre. Leith is an ideal choice for visitors who want to discover a different side to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh for families

For families wanting options away from the city centre, Stockbridge is a firm favourite. Close to the Royal Botanic Garden and Inverleith Park, this area has a village-like feel to it that appeals to families looking for a peaceful city break.

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The top things to do in Edinburgh

As Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh is a large city and home to a huge range of things to do. It would take many trips here to do it all, so a better approach would be to pick the activities that suit your interests - and the interests of those you're travelling with!

If you're travelling with kids, there are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Edinburgh, including Harry Potter-themed venues and activities! Then there are walking tours to suit every theme, historical places, art galleries, outdoor spots, day trips and much, much more - it's impossible to run out of things to do in and around this city.

If you're feeling stuck for ideas, here are some fantastic things to do in Edinburgh.

  1. Spend the afternoon at Edinburgh Castle

  2. Wake up early and climb Arthurs Seat for unbeatable views

  3. See the blooms at the Royal Botanic Garden

  4. Marvel at the atmospheric ruins of Holyrood Abbey

  5. Have some family-friendly fun at Edinburgh Zoo

  6. Go underground to explore Edinburgh Vaults

  7. Take a trip to postcard-perfect Dean Village

  8. Embrace your inner child with a stop at Camera Obscura

  9. Book ahead on a Harry Potter walking tour

  10. Enjoy the view from Calton Hill

Discover even more things to do in Edinburgh


Edinburgh's best events throughout the year

Given the fact that Edinburgh hosts world-renowned events all year long, it's highly likely that your holiday coincides with one of these, especially during summer or towards the end of the year.

And that's only a good thing; Scottish hospitality is second to none and some of the capital's biggest events have snuck their way onto many people's bucket lists. If this is you - or if you're simply looking to have a particularly memorable time in Edinburgh - then these are some of the biggest and best events going on throughout the year.

  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Known for being one of the world's biggest - and best - performing arts festival, the Fringe takes over numerous venues across the city every August.

  • Hogmanay: The Scottish name for the last day of the year, Hogmanay is Scotland's version of New Year's Eve. Edinburgh hosts the biggest celebrations, with parties, fireworks and food and drink.

  • Christmas: Although a tad cold, Christmas in Edinburgh is a lovely time of year, with a number of large Christmas markets on the go (open from mid-November until mid-January).

  • International Children's Festival: Taking place at the end of May, this festival celebrates the best in children's theatre and dance, with plenty of free performances and pop-up events.

  • Burns Night: Hosted on or around 25 January, Burns Night events usually consist of a traditional dinner that celebrates the life of Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Expect bagpipes, haggis and, of course, poetry.

Top tips for visiting Edinburgh

If it's your first time visiting Edinburgh (or even your tenth), we've gathered up some top tips that'll help you get the most out of your time in the city. Here are some things to keep in mind as you explore Edinburgh:

  • Book your accommodation and flights/trains in advance. Edinburgh is a popular holiday destination so, if you have your heart set on staying in the centre or on attending one of the big festivals, secure your bookings well ahead of time!

  • Pack the right gear. Just like much of the UK, Edinburgh's weather can be unpredictable, so make sure you pack plenty of layers and any waterproof outerwear you may need. If you'd like to do some hiking, check out our hiking trip packing list.

  • Get your walking shoes on. Although Edinburgh's public transport network is top notch, many of Edinburgh's central attractions are within walking distance of one another. Yes, it may be hilly at times, but exploring on foot is one of the best ways to get acquainted with Edinburgh.

  • Set aside enough time. If your goal is to do plenty of sightseeing as well as a day trip or two, make sure that you've allocated an adequate number of days for your holiday in Edinburgh. Some of the city's attractions can take a full day on their own, so make sure that you don't run out of time!

  • Save money on public transport. If you're planning to make use of the city's public transport, consider getting a daily or weekly ticket. This allows unlimited use of Lothian buses and Edinburgh's trams for that time duration - but for a much cheaper price compared to individual journey tickets.