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Edinburgh: Wild kayaking in the Firth of Forth

The sea that skirts the north of Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth, is a pleasant place to try sea kayaking for the first time. Travel into the city centre from the airport by bus of taxi. You can then easily get down to the coast in Leith by the number 22 bus from Prince's Street. Guided trips and kayak rental are available (www.duneideannseakayaking.com) for your kayak outing. The nature of the equipment (and safety considerations) means that this isn't really a plan you can just turn up and do yourself.

As you explore the varied coastline you may even sea dolphins or seals. You'll certainly enjoy great views of the iconic Forth Road Bridge and, to the south, the city of Edinburgh with its castle and Arthur's Seat rising up above the skyline.

Level of Difficulty: Medium.

What to pack: Warm clothes (check the weather forecast!), woolly hat, raingear, food and water.

Best time to go:  early summer.

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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.

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easyJet holidays to Edinburgh

Your easyJet experience doesn’t need to end once you set off the plane in Edinburgh. easyJet holidays offers great value package holidays, so you can explore the city of Beltane with confidence that you won’t be missing out on any must-see nook or cranny. From exploring the majesty of Edinburgh Castle to a tour around the creaky ancient dungeons, the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Festival to one of the in-depth whiskey tasting tours. We can help make your Edinburgh city break perfect. As well as getting you there for a great deal, we can offer you the perfect package to explore the so-called Athens of the North.

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Shopping


Edinburgh's Christmas There is so much for kids and adults in Edinburgh's Christmas, it's no wonder the event lasts over six weeks. Take to the sky for some cracking views from the Big Wheel, lose yourself for a while in the Christmas tree maze, explore Edinburgh's iconic buildings in 24 days of advent, do a spot (or a lot) of Christmas shopping at the market, glide gracefully across the ice at the skating rink in St Andrew Square, or just relax with a spiced hot chocolate and watch the world go by surrounded by fairy lights. www.edinburghschristmas.com


Run in the Dark, Wed 16 Nov 2016, 8pm, Holyrood Park www.runinthedark.org/edinburgh As darkness falls in Edinburgh on Wednesday 16 November, thousands of people will pull on their running shoes and red flashing armbands and head for Holyrood Park. They'll be taking part in Run in the Dark, a living light show, flowing through the capital's streets like lava. One of a series of pop-up events led by volunteers in over 50 cities worldwide, these 5 km and 10 km runs will raise money to help fast-track a cure for paralysis.


When the autumn nights start drawing in, it's time to look for cosy indoor activities. So why not head to Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside, for something a little different. One of only three Turkish baths still in operation in Scotland, the idea is to work your way through chambers of various temperatures on a repeat cycle as many times as you like before taking a bracing dip in the Frigidarium. (www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/activities/spa/turkish-baths)


Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, taking place every August for three weeks in Scotland's capital city. It's a massive celebration of theatre, comedy, music and the arts in general, covering everything from edgy stand-up comedy at 1am to midday organ recitals - and just about anything you could imagine in between.

Sightseeing


Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival This summer sees the return of one of the top ten jazz festivals in Europe. Between 14th and 23rd July, over 170 concerts will take place, paying homage to favourite classics as well as providing a platform for innovative new artists. The Carnival on Sunday 16th July is not to be missed, centred around Princes Street, over 800 performers will showcase music, dance, costumes, acrobats and puppetry from across the world.


Beyond Caravaggio. This exhibition was a hit in London last Winter. It now travels to the Scottish National Gallery, offering the opportunity to see masterpieces by Caravaggio and his followers without the crowds. https://www.nationalgalleries.org/exhibition/beyond-caravaggio


Left decaying and derelict for nearly 30 years, 2017's multi-arts Hidden Door Festival takes place at the Leith Theatre, a gorgeous art deco building. This non-profit and completely volunteer-run arts festival hosts ten day and nights of music, film, spoken word, theatre and art - so there's something here for every culture fan.


This April sees the UK premier of 'The Addams Family - the Musical Comedy' at the Festival Theatre. Accompanied by a live orchestra, this stage adaptation sees everyone's favourite spooky family trying to come to terms with Wednesday Addams' shocking secret: that she's fallen in love with a respectable young man!


Hogmanay Edinburgh's Hogmanay is the capital's world-famous and enduringly popular New Year festival, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. Taking place over three packed days, there are fireworks, ceilidhs, concerts, torchlit processions and - for serious outdoor enthusiasts - the annual ‘loony dook' swim in the River Forth! www.edinburghshogmanay.com


The Goldfinch, Scottish National Gallery, 4 Nov - 18 Dec 2016 www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/on-now-coming-soon/the-goldfinch A rare treat for art lovers in Edinburgh this autumn, as one of the world's most iconic paintings makes a flying visit to the Scottish National Gallery. The Goldfinch by 17th century Dutch painter Carel Fabritius has never before been shown in Scotland, and when it was last shown outside the Netherlands, at the Frick Collection in New York in 2014, it was seen by a record-breaking 200,000 people. This is your chance to see it up close, for free, and to see how this ground-breaking artist went on to influence the likes of Vermeer.

Key Areas


Cheese fans don't need to go to the continent to savour the finest of cheeses. I.J. Mellis prides itself in offering the best of farmhouse cheeses, a far tastier alternative to the mass-produced factory versions from the supermarket. Try their tangy Isle of Mull Cheddar or brave one of their full-flavoured blue cheeses, such as their glorious stilton. www.mellischeese.net


Top breweries from around the world assemble for Edinburgh's outstanding Craft Beer Festival, taking place from 26th to 28th May. Accompanied by an impressive line-up of live music and held at the Biscuit Factory's cool industrial space, this is a lively celebration of this multi-faceted beverage that is not to be missed.


The charming Water of Leith Walkway seems to be miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, yet it lies within an easy distance of the city's main sights. Rather than walking its entire length, however, join the path at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art until Stockbridge for a couple of hours of peace and solitude away from the tourist trail.

Day Trips


Pentland Hills A visit to Scotland wouldn't be complete without taking in the country's glorious countryside. While the Pentlands may be no match for the Scottish Highlands, they're far more easily reached, being only a short bus or car drive from the city centre. Escape Edinburgh and get your dose of fresh air and tranquillity.

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