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Cheap flights to Edinburgh

Looking more like a film set than a city, Edinburgh is a picture postcard of Gothic and medieval streets that will impress even the most experienced traveller. Nicknamed the Athens of the North, Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful and atmospheric cities in Europe. It is certainly one of the most visited, seeing over a million tourists trampling its streets each year. They come for its snaking, medieval streets, Georgian architecture, popular festivals and the majestic Edinburgh Castle that has overlooked the city for centuries. 

As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is full of things to see and do, from its scary age-old dungeons and submerged and forgotten medieval streets to art-filled galleries and royal palaces.


Derren Brown, the master of psychological illusion, says that performing live on stage gives him the greatest pleasure. His 2015 tour hits the Edinburgh Playhouse for a week with new show Miracle on 18-24 May (22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA, playhousetheatre.com).

Notorious for his sense of the macabre, DC Jackson's dark gangster comedy "Kill Johnny Glendenning" is the unlikely choice at the Royal Lyceum this month, running 17 September - 11 October (Grindlay Street, EH3 9AX, lyceum.org.uk).

There's a strong German element to this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival on 18-29 June in cinemas around the city. The blockbusters are hosted in the Festival Theatre, but check Neu! Reekie!'s fringe event at Summerhall. edfilmfest.org.uk


Scottish Ballet recreates founder Peter Darrell's version of The Nutcracker, danced to Tchaikovsky's original score, with designer Lez Brotherston adding sumptuous layers of plush Victoriana to the original 1973 production (13 December - 3 January, Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson Street, EH8 9FT, edtheatres.com/sbnutcracker).

Something Wicked to Edinburgh comes... The smash-hit musical that re-imagines the Wizard of Oz flies into town on 19 November and stays until 10 January (Edinburgh Playhouse, 18-22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA, atgtickets.com).

Rare oil works, memorabilia and even vintage railway posters feature in the Art of Golf exhibition, charting the rise of "Scotland's national sport" at the Mound galleries until 26 October (£8, Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, EH2 2EL, nationalgalleries.org).

Sitting Ducks, the first exhibition dedicated to "Renaissance Man" John Byrne, gathers a varied selection of the artist's drawings, paintings and multimedia works from across his career in the Portrait Gallery. nationalgalleries.org

Key Areas

The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, 30 minutes' east of Edinburgh by train or car, has live video links to nesting birds on the islands in the firth of Forth. The town has a pretty harbour, grassy knoll to climb, sandy beach and several cosy cafes and pubs. seabird.org

For an added zing of style at that Christmas party, Armstrongs vintage Old Town clothing emporium has more classy frocks and groovy outfits than you can shake a cravat at (81-83 The Grassmarket, EH1 2HJ, armstrongsvintage.co.uk).

Day Trips

The Pentland Hills, south past the city bypass, are good for a day's gentle walking. It might feel remote, but you can get there by bus and back to the city before dark. Lothian buses No.10, to Torphin, and No.15, to Hillend, are good starts.

A trip to St Andrews along the coastal road round Fife makes a great day out. The university town is the spiritual home of golf and the Royal and Ancient is still the governing body on the rules of the game. randa.org

The Water of Leith walkway winds through Edinburgh, but is at its best in the deep-cut riverbank path between Stockbridge and the Gallery of Modern Art.

The Kelpies, 30m-high monuments to Scotland's horse-powered heritage, tower over the Forth and Clyde Canal, a 40-minute drive west of Edinburgh along the M9. Visible from the motorway, they form the centrepiece of the surrounding Helix parklands. thehelix.co.uk

Dunbar, birthplace of conservation movement founder John Muir and start of the new cross-Scotland John Muir walkway, is a 40-minute train journey east of Edinburgh. Muir's birthplace houses a small museum (126 High Street, EH42 1JJ, jmbt.org.uk).

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