Culture, food and the beautiful outdoors - find out how to make the most of Scotland's hilly and historic capital on your Chevening year!

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and home to approximately 500,000 people. This number doubles between July and September when the city becomes a world-famous festival city – packed with performers and punters – with the arrival of the Edinburgh International Festival, the Festival Fringe, the International Book Festival, Art Festival and more!

Edinburgh Fringe performers

Culture, food and the beautiful outdoors – you can rely on Edinburgh to provide all of this in copious amounts. Bagpipers parading the streets, restaurants serving haggis, neeps and tatties, and a great starting point to explore the rest of Scotland; Edinburgh is simply amazing and there’s a reason its many of our Scholars’ (and Programme Officers’!) favourite city in the UK.

Here are 12 fun facts about Edinburgh:

  1. Edinburgh replaced Scone as the capital of Scotland in 1437.
  2. Edinburgh Castle is built on an extinct volcano and was therefore one of the best defended fortresses in Scottish history.
  3. There are 112 parks in Edinburgh. The biggest, Holyrood park, is 650 acres in size.
  4. Edinburgh has the third most Michelin-starred restaurants of any city in the UK after Birmingham and London.
  5. There are over 70km of cycle paths in the city.
  6. Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  7. Approximately 75% of the buildings in the Old Town and New Town are ‘listed’ buildings. A listed building is one that has been given special protection through the government in recognition of its historic status.
  8. There are four universities in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh is one of Britain and Ireland’s seven ‘ancient universities’.
  9. The ‘Royal Mile’, a famous street in Edinburgh, is actually one mile and 107 yards long.
  10. The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, was born in Edinburgh.
  11. Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire service (established in 1703).
  12. Finally, for any Harry Potter fans reading this, Edinburgh is known as the birthplace of Harry Potter as JK Rowling wrote some of the first chapters of the book here – and famously finished off book 7 at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh!

Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

As you can see, Edinburgh is full of historical and beautiful places to explore.

Here are some things you could tick off your ‘to do’ list on a weekend in the city:

Easily accessible by train, plane or bus, it is the perfect city to explore for a weekend or longer. Make sure you put it on your list of places to visit!

For more ideas of things to do in this part of the UK, check out VisitBritain’s Edinburgh page.

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