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Edinburgh Sightseeing


Edinburgh Doors Open Day The weekend of 23rd-24th September offers a rare opportunity: to explore the Edinburgh's architecturally and culturally significant buildings, all for free. This isn't only a chance to get free entry into the city's tourist attractions, however, as buildings normally closed to visitors, such as the Lothian Chambers or the National Archives of Scotland, will be open for tours.

Edinburgh International Book Festival Edinburgh's comedy Fringe Festival may be world renowned, but there are plenty of other cultural happenings going on this August. Over 800 events are being put on by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where novelists, poets, scientists, sportsmen, historians and many more writers will assemble. This year's line-up includes authors Zadie Smith, Paul Auster, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and David Mitchell.

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

St Mary's Cathedral You'll see the three romantic spires of St Mary's Cathedral towering over Edinburgh, but it's certainly worth the short walk away from the city centre to peek inside. For one of Edinburgh's most impressive buildings, which freely welcomes visitors, the cathedral is surprisingly quiet.

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

Jupiter Artland Who'd have thought that the grounds of a 17th-century mansion, a few miles to the west of Edinburgh, would be a hub for contemporary sculpture? Take a trip to see the latest addition to the collection: the most ambitious, site-specific work by Pablo Bronstein. The artist has also been commissioned to create a live performance in response to the towering structural forms of his work, which will take place daily during the first week of August.

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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