Holyrood Park was originally a royal hunting estate and is most famous for being the home of the natural rock formation known as Arthur’s Seat, which is shaped like a crouching lion.
The park is also home to the Salisbury Crags (a series of cliffs) and three lochs. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk if you want to escape the city of Edinburgh and you can download a leaflet featuring a number of walking routes from the web site below.
This multi-cultural festival is a great budget alternative to the pricier and overcrowded Fringe and main festival.
Set up by a group of ethnic minorities in Edinburgh, Mela means ‘gathering’ in Sanskrit and is a celebration of cultural diversity in Scotland.
The festival has a laid-back vibe, with food stalls and a craft market alongside the main line-up of theatre, music, film, and visual art from around the world, from Zimbabwean Theatre to Bollywood Dance.
It's only £2 for an all day pass, but some single events are free.
7-9th August, Pilrig Park
Most people have heard of the Free Fringe festival, and the line-up of comedy is superb. But there are loads of other lesser known free festivals and events going on in August.
Here are just a couple...
The International Book Festival has loads of free events - from the daily free poetry reading at 10am to the free live music in the Spiegelbar. There's also loads of free stuff for children, a daily storytime, nursery rhyme time for babies and free workshops.
The Festival Calvacade is a free parade of 3,000 performers from all the Edinburgh festivals - this year it kicks off in Holyrood Park on 9th August.
The Edinburgh Interactive Festival is a free video game festival, where budding gamers can road test and watch screenings of new games.
Great Guide to free events:
These are two first-class galleries, across the road from one another, in Belford Road, some 15 minutes' walk from the city centre. The collections are diverse, of very high quality, and contain a comprehensive display of painting and sculpture from 1900 to the present time.
Only a portion of the entire holding can be shown at any one time. Accordingly a selection is rotated periodically, with special exhibitions mounted in the Dean Gallery, where there is, in addition, a permanent show of the work of Eduardo Paolozzi - a local hero with an international reputation.
Entry is free. The galleries have shops, selling scholarly material as well as postcards and gifts, and the Cafe Newton in the Dean Gallery is particularly attractive, with good food at sensible prices. The staff at both galleries are welcoming and helpful.
Belford Road, Dean Village, Edinburgh. Number 13 bus, or the National Galleries of Scotland free bus service, which runs a return journey, every 45 minutes, from the National Gallery complex in the city centre and visits each of the five national galleries.
Doors Open Day, organised by the Cockburn Association (The Edinburgh Civic Trust) in partnership with Edinburgh World Heritage, has become one of the capital’s most popular days out.
It is your opportunity to see inside some of Edinburgh’s most architecturally, culturally and socially significant buildings. This year’s programme gives free access to over 70 buildings, ranging from historic landmarks to the most contemporary of designs – including many hidden gems.
Each venue has organised a range of free activities, designed to bring the history, design and the everyday use of the building to life – including behind the scenes tours, talks, exhibitions, musical recitals, demonstrations and re-enactments. There are also many activities for children.
Venues are throughout Edinburgh. Further details, including how to obtain this year's brochure, can be found from www.cockburnassociation.org.uk
You can also see pictures of some of the buildings taking part in this years event on: www.flickr.com/photos/doorsopenday/
Green idyll below the bustle of the city centre. Benches, nooks and little havens for reading and relaxing, and the greenhouses for when the weather's not so friendly.
Good tablet in the shop at the main gate too.
Queen Mother's memorial is spectacularly kitsch - walk into the little stone hut and look up. You'll wonder why anybody thought that was a good idea...
No visit to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to the top of Arthur's Seat - the large volcanic hill in the centre of town.
The views are amazing. Sturdy shoes are a must.
While there make sure you go on a pilgrimage to Hutton's section, the place where one of the great heroes of the enlightenment, geologist James Hutton, deduced in the 18th century that the world must in fact be millions of years old: "there is no vestige of a beginning nor prospect of an end".
If you're on a budget and want to see lots of Fringe shows, the Free Festival offers an annual series of free Fringe shows - over 130 different shows are programmed for August 2007.
It makes a change from the usual high ticket prices!
The Water of Leith Walkway will take you along about 12 miles of river through the heart of Edinburgh from Balerno to Leith. One of the nicest stretches is the walk from Stockbridge to the Dean Gallery and Modern Art Gallery, which consists of a mile of picturesque woodland, including a Victorian mineral well guarded by a rather grand nymph-type and wander through the very pretty Dean Village. The best bit is that when you get to the fantastic galleries, you can reward yourself with chocolate cake (Dean Gallery Cafe - highly recommended). Alternatively, walk in the opposite direction (towards Leith) and after three miles pop out onto The Shore in Leith for an excellent feast and pint at the King's Wark.
Haha, you don't believe me?
Oh yes, we have got everything here in Edinburgh, and these ruins of a very curious attempt can still be seen behind the emergency exit of the library in Morningside.
Unfortunately, the owners are quite protective of the old cinema, which is not open to the public.
Entry via Springvalley Gardens;
Pics and article: blog.fempages.org/wp/?p=197
A lovely out-of-town place with a wonderful pub, The Cramond Inn, which has a big beer garden and parking space, and serves loads of good and traditional food for really good prices and has also drinks from a small, independent brewery Scintilla and spectacular beers and ales.
Its near the wonderful seaside promenade, with about 45 min if walked in full.
The path to Cramond Island is only walkable when the tide is out, so take some water with you in case you'll get trapped there with the tide rushing in.
Nice for doggies, kiddies and their owners as there is a big beach, too.
Take bus no 41 directly to Cramond or 42 to first walk the seaside promenade to Cramond;
Cramond Inn: 30 Cramond Glebe Road, EH4 6NP;
tel: 0131 336 2035;
To get out of the city (though not necessarily away from the crowds on a hot day!), head to Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside. The sandy beach, with a promenade, is about a mile long, clean, and reasonably wide when the tide is out. The bustling High Street has various cafes and pubs, and the Dalriada pub on the prom has a beer garden looking out to sea.
The High Street is served by bus no. 26 from city centre, then head for the shore;
Dalriada: 77 The Promenade, Portobello;
tel: 0131 454 4500;
Take an al fresco jaunt with chilled drinking vessels to The Meadows. Get great views of the city skyline on raised grassy knolls where beer and good company can enjoy the respite in Scottish summer weather - welcome global warming (just kidding)!
It’s a popular and well-known area of green in the centre-south of the city - 5 minutes from the George IV Bridge and student area – a 10 minute walk from Princes Street.
St Giles' Cathedral is the historic City Church of Edinburgh with its famed crown spire on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood House. The stained windows and quiet Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland's chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen) are spectacular.
St Giles’ is located on the historic Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Entrance is free but donations are welcome.
The Scott Monument is along with the Balmoral tower clock and Edinburgh Castle, the most important landmark in Edinburgh. It features a statue of Sir Walter Scott. Sometimes Scottish bagpipers play next to the monument - it is common courtesy to tip him. Go in the morning to avoid the crowds.
The views from this 200ft tower are breathtaking and really give you a perspective on the magnificent layout of Edinburgh and its sights. Be warned though - there is no lift just 287 steps to climb to the top.
The monument lies in Princes Street gardens.
The Royal Mile is actually made of several streets and it captures the old world atmosphere of the city and has specialised (expensive) shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels. It is quite steep though so sensible shoes are a must.
The Royal Mile connects the castle and Holyrood Palace and is in the heart of the Old Town (but beware as it does change its name 7 times).
Along with Charlotte Square, St Andrews Square shows off the splendour of Edinburgh's New Town. Old and new buildings come together here with the Palladin country house (now housing the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland) and the famous Harvey Nichols store on the southern side of the square.
St Andrews Square lies at the eastern end of George Street and is just a 5 min walk from Edinburgh's main bus station.
Charlotte Square is the 18th century showcase of Edinburgh's New Town. The garden in the square's centre is tranquil and a great place to rest and appreciate the Georgian architecture of the houses surrounding the square.
Charlotte Square lies in the heart of the city centre at the western end of George Street (behind Princes Street).
There are plenty of free museums and art galleries to see in Edinburgh: Chambers Street museums (Royal Museum and Museum of Scotland), Museum of Childhood, Museum of Edinburgh, The People’s Story (all central) and City Art Centre, Dean Gallery and the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art (n.b: you have to pay entry fee for some exhibitions within the galleries).
Royal Museum and Museum of Scotland: www.nms.ac.uk;
City Art Centre, Museum of Childhood, Museum of Edinburgh, The People’s Story: www.cac.org.uk;
Dean Gallery and Scottish Gallery of Modern Art: www.nationalgalleries.org
It's one of the best tours in the UK and it is totally free - it's the weirdest tour, but gripping! It's about a dead agnostic physics teacher and her alternative Edinburgh guide - really has to be done to be believed. Takes you to places tourists would never be aware of. I've done the tour and it changed my perception of Edinburgh completely. Suitable for everyone I would say.
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