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Introducing Hidden Scotland’s guide to Edinburgh, a city unlike any other. Scotland’s capital fits all manner of descriptions – time capsule, trendsetter, visitor magnet, festival heartland – but above all it simply is what it is: a place apart. Topped by a fortress and stuffed with big sights and mazy stories, it successfully straddles the last millennium and a half by somehow being both locked in the past and fixated on the future.

Half a million souls call the city home year-round, but many times that number descend on its streets at different points in the calendar. From the rainbow-feathered cornucopia of the summer Fringe to the massed merry-making of Hogmanay – not to mention a whole galaxy of other concerts, exhibitions, parades and parties – this is somewhere that routinely feels like the place to be.

In this guide, you’ll find a hand-picked assortment of different diversions to explore. The range is broad, encompassing monuments, cafés, theatres, galleries, walking routes, gift-buying tips, guided tours, and whisky tastings, along with restaurants, picture houses, pubs, and bookshops. Some attractions are well known, while others are hidden gems. It’s our hope that you enjoy discovering them.

Edinburgh is nothing without context, of course, so there’s ample space for historical tales, cultural highlights, suggested itineraries, and the quirkier elements that give the city its special reputation. Also included are a fantastic range of hotels and out-of-town excursions.

Time spent here is generally time to relish, and this guide is designed to help you make the most of all Edinburgh has to offer.