People live in Edinburgh for many reasons, with the city now a capital once more as the home of Scotland's parliament. Also a centre of legal and banking institutions, the importance of the city is almost as striking as its grandeur, with historic buildings in the heart of the city supplemented by the panoramic views from Arthur's seat in the centre and fine shopping and dining facilities. Hosting a population of over 400,000, it is a heartland of Scottish culture and a must for any visitor to the country.
- Arthur's Seat - an extinct volcano in the middle of the city, provides panoramic views and an oasis of green space
- Edinburgh Castle - the historic heart of Edinburgh, offering history, architectural splendour and no doubt a few obligatory ghosts
- The Pentland Hills - fine hillwalking can be had on the southern fringes of the city for those who don't fancy trekking up to the Highlands
- Edinburgh Zoo - As Glasgow Zoo is now closed, this is the one place in Scotland to see lions, tigers and monkeys
- National galleries - Scotland has five national art galleries and lucky old Edinburgh has them all
- The historic centre - the Georgian new town and medieval old town that make up the heart of the city are a Unesco World Heritage site
How to get around
- By Rail - The main station is Waverley, one of the few transport hubs to be named after a book. Although the city is connected to London via the East Coast Line and also easily reached from Glasgow, local suburban lines are few in number. However the city will soon get its own tram network, which is due to become operational in 2011 and will eventually have 36 stops
- Buses - buses form the bulk of the city's local transport network and will take the bulk of the load until the tram network is up and running. The road network is not ideal for the high level of traffic so anyone not on rails may find progress slow at times.
- Air - Edinburgh has a small international airport which is due to become linked to the tram network
- Motorways - The city is fairly isolated from most other major centres by the motorway network, but is linked by the M8 to Glasgow
Living in Edinburgh
- Universities - Edinburgh has three universities. Edinburgh University was formed in 1582 as one of the four medieval learning institutions in Scotland. It is ranked 11th in the The Times Good University Guide 2011. Its alumni include Gordon Brown, making it the only non-Oxbridge university attended by a British prime minister. Other universities include Herriot-Watt, Napier and Queen Margaret Edinburgh.
- Major hospitals - major hospitals include the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the Eastern General Hospital and the Western General Hospital.
History - First named in the seventh century after a fort (Eidin's Burgh), the city grew in medieval times to be a capital city, home of royalty and an important place in British history. It became a seat of renaissance and modernist learning, earning it the nickname "the Athens of the north". The old town was built in medieval times, with the new town added in Georgian times as a more upmarket (and less disease-prone) district. The 1707 Act of Union took away the parliament, which was finally restored with devolution in 2001.
- Traditions - Like so much of Scotland, Edinburgh espouses traditions and traditional symbols of Scottishness, so expect bagpipes, kilts and tartan aplenty. It also enjoys its pomp and ceremony due to its historic political and royal heritage. At the same time, it is a hard-working and busy city, being a major financial centre.
Property in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has plenty of flats and apartments in the centre. These are older buildings like London's rather than new build in the manner of many cities. Family homes are plentiful outside the centre, while high-rises are thin on the ground, in keeping with a historic skyline in which a skyscraper would be as incongruous as a UFO. Prices are well above the average for both Britain and Scotland, while like Scotland as a whole the market is not as cyclical as the overall UK trend.
The NAEA lists 39 different agents in the city, with more across the wider Lothian area.
Dates for the diary
- New Year - Hogmanay is one of the biggest parties in Britain, and Edinburgh is perhaps the best place of all to celebrate
- Burn's Night - a chance not just to enjoy a haggis for tea but recite poetry to it as Scotland's most famous poet is honoured on January 25th
- The Royal Military Tattoo - gun running with a difference as military muscle demonstrates how to simultaneously march and disassemble a cannon at the showground every August. Will take place for the 60th time in 2009
- The Six Nations - see Scotland in rugby union action every autumn at Murrayfield
- The Edinburgh Festival - actually a series of festivals in late summer, for books, film, fringe theatre and much else. Non-residents should book early to get in, enjoy the fun and see the stars
- Edinburgh 'Open Doors Day' - held every September, this is the day all manner of historic buildings not normally open to the public let the masses in for a look around
- Hearts v Hibs - sample the atmosphere of a local derby as the city's two footballing rivals meet up
- St Andrew's Day - like the rest of Scotland, Edinburgh enjoys a day off as its national saint's day is a bank holiday on November 30th