The Best of Scotland Tue, 29 Sep 2015 12:02:52 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Getting Around Edinburgh Hints on travelling around Edinburgh

Getting Around Edinburgh

Edinburgh is linked to a wide channel of rail network connecting to all corners and near by locations. So you will hardly face any problem to move around the place and get the perfect feel of what Edinburgh has to offer you.


Edinburgh is a pretty decent and ideal place for cyclists, the city council has provided the off-road cycle paths and road edge cycle lanes. This was just done to make sure in heavy rush and traffic cyclists can easily have a go. Bicycling is just about the best way to get around the city, despite the hilly terrain. There are plenty of cycle routes around the town and out into the surrounding countryside. The local cycling association, Spokes, 232 Dalry Rd, Tel: 3132114, publishes a very good cycle map (£4.95, available at the TIC). If you've brought your own bike and need spares, you'll find everything you'll need at Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op, 8 Alvanley Terr, Tel: 2281368; open Mon-Fri 1000-1900, Sat/Sun 1000-1800. But be cautious while tethering your bike on streets: Grassmarket and Rose Streets are sensitive for vandalism and theft activities. Otherwise the only place to worry are steep and cobbled streets around the Old Town


Public transport is generally good and efficient. There are two main bus companies operate most services in and around the city. Lothian Regional Transport (LRT) use maroon and white double deckers buses (555 6363, runs majority of the bus services around Edinburgh city and Mid and East Lothian. Meanwhile First Edinburgh operate the same routes using green and yellow buses. They also run the so-called 'Barbie' buses, which are pink and more user-friendly for parents with kids and disabled passengers. Edinburgh;tourist informationCar Edinburgh is one of the least car-friendly cities in Britain. The main routes into town have been turned into 'greenways', which give buses priority, and on-street parking is limited to 10 mins. The centre of town is a complicated system of one-way streets designed to ease congestion. The privatized traffic wardens are ruthless in their dedication to duty. Free parking in most of central Edinburgh is limited to resident- parking permit holders only, Mon-Fri 0830-1800, and the police have powers to tow away illegally parked cars. An excellent way to see the sights and avoid wearing out shoe leather is to take one of the city bus tours (Guide Friday or LRT); see page

On foot

Although Greater Edinburgh occupies a large area relative to its population of less than half a million, most of what you'll want to see lies within the compact city centre and to see the real charm and beauty of the buzzing city centre best ideas is to explore on foot. Well be cautious during night, especially around areas with abundant rowdy nightlife (Lothian Road and the Cowgate) else walking around the city othersise is safe and pleasant. . The centre is clearly divided in two, with the main thoroughfare, Princes Street, and its gardens, running between them. The Old Town is a medieval maze of cobbled streets, wynds and closes on or around the Royal Mile, which runs from the castle down to the palace. The New Town is the symmetrical layout of wide streets lined with elegant Georgian buildings which runs north from Princes Street. Though most of the main sights are within walking distance of each other, Edinburgh is a hilly city and a full day's sightseeing can leave you exhausted.


Driving around Edinburgh is not recommended as the town is reasonably small and the best way is to move in the public transport or foot. Another reason for this the fact that the city centre is soaked with one way streets and pedestrain area, which makes driving a nightmare. Do try to avoid Princess Streets as it has only limited access for private vehicles. The traffic is high during rush hours (7:30-9:30am, 4:30pm-7pm Mon-Fri).Other than that the parking restrictions are also there around the city. During the festival month of August huge number of visitors use to visit which makes the situation more worse, as High Street is pediestrinised and finding the parking space is also difficult.

Car Hires

If we you are looking for car hire to get around Edinburgh then to make sure you are over 21-years-of-age or altelast 21. Also required is atleast onee year's driving licence, that to without any serious endorsements. There are many car hire facilities available for visitors operating from city centre and also have their braches at Edinburgh Airport. Some of these car hire firms are Alamo UK:0870 400 4562/, US:1-800 522 9696/ Arnold Clark UK & US:0845 607-4500/ Avis UK:0844 581 0147/, US:1-800 331 1212/ Budget UK:0844 581 2231/, US:1-800 472 3325/ Enterprise UK: 0870 350 3000/, US:1-800 261 7331/ Europcar UK: 0845 758 5375/, US:1-877 940 6900/

Black Cabs

The taxi's which operates in Edinburgh to provide easy access are black cabs. These cab services use to boards five passengers and also provides ample facilities for disable travellers. When the taxi's yellow 'For Hire' light is on you can hail it in the streets. The fares for these taxi services starts with ₤1.45 for the first 450 metres and ₤2.20 after 6pm, then each further 225 metres cost 23p and 24p in night. For every additional passenger over two 20p will be charged. Do call the cab if you require during night hours as it would be helpful rather seraching for cabs. Few of the cab services are Central Taxis 229 2468/, City Cabs 228 1211/

Complaints or Complements

If you come across any complaints about the taxicabs or any private hire, just report it to the Licensing Board, 343 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PW (529 4260). Also you can register any compliment also if you have regarding the cab or private hire to the same board. Do make sure you put in the date and time of the journey and also the license number of the vehicle.

Car Parkings

These car parks are open round the clock so that you can get the right place to park even in odd hours. For more details about the city car parks with proper map visit at Few of the car park are Castle Terrace Old Town:229 2870/, Chalmers Street South Edinburgh:229 2870/, St James Centre Leith Street, Broughton 556 5066/


    Fri, 25 May 2012 12:05:18 +0000
    Sightseeing around Edinburgh

    Sightseeing in the area around Edinburgh

    The Pentland Hills

    South of the Braid Hills, beyond the City Bypass, are Edinburgh's Pentland Hills, a serious range of hills, remote in parts, rising to almost 2,000 ft and which stretch around 16 miles from the outskirts of Edinburgh to Lanarkshire. The hills offer relatively painless climbs and you'll be rewarded with magnificent views once you reach the top.

    On the northern slopes of the Pentlands is the village of Swanston, a huddle of 18th-century thatched, whitewashed cottages. The largest of these, Swanston Cottage, was the holiday home of the Stevenson family, where the sickly young Robert Louis spent his summers. There are many paths up to the various Pentland summits and round the lochs and reservoirs. One of the many walks is described above, but if you want to explore more fully there are many books about the Pentlands, including 25 Walks in Edinburgh and Lothian (HMSO, 1995). Ordnance Survey Landranger Map no 66 covers the area.

    The main access is by the A702, which passes the Midlothian Ski Centre at Hillend. There's a marked walking trail up to the ski slope, or you can take the chair lift. At the top of the slope it's a short walk to Caerketton Hill for fantastic panormaic views of Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and the hills of Fife and Stirlingshire.

    Lauriston Castle, Cramond & Dalmeny

    About five miles northwest of town is Lauriston Castle, a fine Edwardian country mansion set in lovely grounds overlooking the Firth of Forth. The original tower house is late 16th century, with many neo-Jacobean additions by William Burn in the 19th century. It was once the home of John Law, who founded the first bank in France and obtained sole trading rights in the Lower Mississippi, which he christened Louisiana in honour of the French King. The interior contains fine collections of period furniture and antiques. n Apr-Oct Sat-Thu 1100-1300 and 1400-1700; Nov-Mar Sat/Sun 1400-1600. . Tel: 3362060.

    One mile further west is the lovely little coastal village of Cramond , situated where the River Almond flows into the Forth. The 18th-century village of whitewashed houses is the site of an ancient Roman fort, a large part of which has been excavated. The most recent discovery was a magnificent sandstone sculpture of a lioness dating from the second century BC. In addition to being steeped in ancient history, Cramond boasts a pleasant promenade, a golf course and a lovely, wooded walk along the banks of the Almond river towards the 16th century Old Cramond Brig. And if that weren't enough to tempt you, there's also Cramond Island, which can be reached via a raised walkway when the tide is out. Just make sure you keep an eye on the time or you may find yourself stuck there for longer than you anticipated. Tide times are posted on the shore, and are also available from the Tourist Information Centre.

    A local passenger ferry service still crosses the River Almond at Cramond. n 0900-1300 and 1400-1700 in summer, till 1600 in winter, closed Fri. From the other side of the river it's a two-mile walk to Dalmeny House, the Earl of Rosebery's home for over 300 years. The present house, built in 1815 in Tudor Gothic, contains a superb collection of 18th-century French furniture, porcelain and tapestries and paintings, including portraits by Gainsborough, Raeburn, Reynolds and Lawrence. There is also a fascinating collection of Napoleon Bonaparte memorabilia, assembled by the fifth Earl of Rosebery, a former Prime Minister. n Jul and Aug Sun 1300-1730, Mon and Tue 1200-1730 (last admission 1645). Tel: 3311888. The house can also be reached via the village of Dalmeny, eight miles west of Edinburgh, on the A90 then B924. There's a bus service from St Andrew Square to Chapel Gate, one mile from the house, or you can take a train which stops at the village station. The main point of interest in the village is the wonderful 12th-century church.


    Seven miles south of Edinburgh, in the county of Midlothian, just off the A701 to Penicuik, lies the little village of Roslin, home of the mysterious 15th-century Rosslyn Chapel. Perched above the North Esk, the magnificent and unique chapel has a richly carved interior full of Biblical representations and pagan and masonic symbols and has been described as "a fevered hallucination in stone". Foundations were laid in 1446 for a much larger church which was never built. What exists is the Lady Chapel, inspiration of Sir William Sinclair, who himself supervized masons brought from abroad who took 40 years to complete it to his design. According to legend, his grandfather, the adventurer Prince Henry of Orkney, set foot in the New World a century before Columbus. This is backed up by the carvings of various New World plants. One of the most fascinating sights in the church, and the most elaborate carving, is the Prentice Pillar. Legend has it that while the master mason was away in Rome making additional drawings to complete the pillar, an apprentice finished it for him. On the mason's return he murdered the apprentice in a fury.

    Speculation as to the purpose of the chapel dwells on esoteric secrets and a plethora of recent books claims that the Holy Grail, supposedly brought from the East by the Knights Templar, is buried here. Whether or not you believe this, you'll still find its architecture and atmosphere fascinating. Once you've seen the chapel, there are some very pleasant walks in nearby Roslin Glen, from where you get great views of Roslin Castle. n Mon-Sat 1000-1700, Sun 1200-1645. Tel: 4402159, Take one of the regular buses for Penicuik from St Andrews Sq.

    Other sights around Midlothian

    Rosslyn Chapel is the most interesting sight in Midlothian, but there are a few other worthwhile places of interest, especially if you've got kids in tow. Butterfly and Insect World is part of Dobbie's Garden World, in Lasswade, near Dalkeith. This large glass enclosure has loads of butterflies fluttering around while you stroll past tropical plants and water features. There are also creepy crawlies, which are thankfully in individual cages in a separate area. There's also a café in the garden centre. n Daily 0930-1730 (1000-1700 in winter). Tel: 6634932. To get there, leave the city bypass at the Gilmerton exit or Sheriffhall roundabout, or take buses 3, 80 or 80a.

    A mile or so south of Dalkeith is Newtongrange, a former mining village whose Lady Victoria Colliery closed in 1981 and has been transformed into the Scottish Mining Mueum. Here you can get some idea of what working conditions were like more than 1,500 ft below ground during the guided tour led by former miners, and you can see the massive steam engine, the largest in Scotland, which hauled men and coal up and down the pit shaft for 87 years. n Mar-Oct daily 1000-1700. £4, £2.20 child . Tel: 6637519. There are regular buses from central Edinburgh (3, 30, 82).

    South Queensferry

    To get to South Queensferry from Edinburgh, take buses 43, X43, 47 or 47a from St Andrew Sq Less than a mile from Dalmeny is the ancient town of South Queensferry, which gets its name from the 11th-century St Margaret, who used the town as the crossing point during her trips between her palaces in Edinburgh and Dunfermline, which was Scotland's capital at that time. The town's narrow main street is lined with picturesque old buildings, most striking of which is the row of two-tiered shops. If you fancy a drink, or a meal, or perhaps a bed for the night, try the historic Hawes Inn, which was featured in Stevenson's Kidnapped. The town is dominated by the two great bridges that tower overhead on either side, spanning the Firth of Forth at its narrowest point. The massive steel cantilevered Forth Rail Bridge, over a mile and a half long and 360 ft high and is a staggering monument to Victorian engineering. It was built in 1883-90 and 60,000 tons of steel were used in its construction. Beside it, is the Forth Road Bridge, a suspension bridge built between 1958 and 1964, which ended the 900-year-old ferry crossing between South and North Queensferry. The Road Bridge is open to pedestrians and it's worth walking across for the views of the Rail Bridge. From Hawes Pier, right underneath the Rail Bridge, you can take a variety of pleasure boat cruises on the Forth. Jet Boat Tours , Tel: 3314777, have cruises up the River Almond at Cramond, looking out for dolphins, seals and porpoises en route, as well as 'Bridge Tours' and 'Jet-Boat fun rides'. n Prices are around £5-10 per person. Cruises run Apr/May/Sep/Oct weekends and public holidays 1000-1800; Jun-Aug daily 0930-2000.

    Inchcolm Abbey

    There are also Sealife Cruises on board the Maid of the Forth, Tel: 3314857, as well as Evening Cruises beneath the bridges with jazz and folk accompaniment. The most interesting cruise of all, and the most popular, is the cruise to the island of Inchcolm, whose beautiful ruined abbey, founded in 1123 by King Alexander I, is the best-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland. The oldest surviving building is the 13th-century octagonal chapter house. You can also climb the tower for great views of the island, which is populated by nesting seabirds and a colony of seals. n Sailings from Easter to Oct. Evening jazz and ceilidh cruises throughout the summer on Fri, Sat and Sun evenings. Tel: 3314857

    Hopetoun House

    Two miles west of South Queensferry is Hopetoun House, which thoroughly deserves its reputation as 'Scotland's finest stately home'. Set in 100 acres of magnificent parkland, including the Red Deer park, the house is the epitome of aristocratic grandeur and recently celebrated its 300th birthday. Hopetoun House is perhaps the finest example of the work of William Burn and William Adam. It is, in fact, two houses in one. The oldest part was designed by William Bruce and built between 1699 and 1707. In 1721 William Adam began enlarging the house by adding the facade, colonnades and grand State Apartments. It was built for the Earls of Hopetoun, later created Marquesses of Linlithgow and part of the house is still lived in by the Marquess of Linlithgow and his family. The house contains a large collection of art treasures and the grounds are also open to the public. You could come here and pretend you're a member of the aristocracy for the day, then go back to your tiny B&B and weep. n Daily Apr-end of Sep, and every weekend in Oct, 1000-1730. £5.30, £2.70 child. Tel: 3312451,


    Sholto Ramsay
    Fri, 25 May 2012 12:15:22 +0000
    Edinburgh's Gay Scene

    Centred around an area called the Pink Triangle between Broughton Street and Leith Walk , Edinburgh's gay scene is all about late-night fun and drinking. The big event in the Gay calender is the Pride Scotia held in June,  a huge annual festival held alternatively in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Our guide to Edinburgh's gay scene includes info on the pubs, bars and clubs that are gay and lesbian friendly.


    Gay Clubs & Bars in Edinburgh

     There are many gay or gay-friendly cafés, bars and restaurants on Broughton St and several of these are listed elsewhere in the 'Eating', 'Cafés' and 'Bars' sections

    Blue Moon Café (see 'Cafés' above). Gay-run but straight-friendly café that's always busy.

    Café Habana 22 Greenside Pl (at the front of the Playhouse Theatre), Tel: 5564349. Outside seating in summer. Popular with bright young things. Open daily till 0100.

    CC Blooms 23 Greenside Place (next to the Playhouse), Tel: 5569331. Packed almost every night upstairs and downstairs on the dancefloor. This is where everyone ends up. Open daily till 0300.

    Claremont 133-135 East Claremont Street, Broughton, Tel- 5565662 This buzzing place attracts a huge male dominated crowd in normal week days meanwhile it gets busy during weekends. The menu offered in the bar has variety of delicacies and fair prices. Open Mon-Thur 1100-midnight, Fri-Sat 1100-0100, Sun 1230-2300. Web:

    Street 2 Picardy Place, Carlton Hill, Tel: 5564272. Beautifully nestling on the Broughton Street, this jewel of a place among the local gay and lesbian communities has a lot to offer. Enjoy upstairs and sit on the Chrome and cream leather barstools or enjoy a variety of drinks at the bar below. Do have a visit to this stylish and happening place atleast once. Open- Mon-Sat noon-0100, Sun 1230-0100.

    Twist 26b Dublin Street, New Town, Tel: 5387775 This stylish bar is a men's den, the cosy ambinace and wide selection of drinks and snacks adds more colour to the place. Well, what more the basement club offers a female DJ on Fridays and Saturdays, you guys have a lot to enjoy here. Open- Mon-Thurs Noon-0100, Fri-Sat Noon-0200, Sun 1230-0100.

    New Town Bar 26 Dublin St, Tel: 5387775. Fairly mixed crowd upstairs. Downstairs is called Intense – appropriately named and full-on. Open daily till 0130, weekends till 0230. Intense open Thu-Sun.

    Sala Café - Bar and Restaurant 60 Broughton St, Tel: 0131 556 5758. Comfortable and laid-back spot overlooking the garden behind the Gay and Lesbian Centre. Good all-day breakfasts (also vegetarian) and reasonably priced snacks. Good pre-club meeting place. Open daily 1100-2300 (until 1AM on Friday and Saturday nights). Website at

    Planet Out 6 Baxter's Pl, Tel: 5573379. Close to the Playhouse. Lively place in the heart of the action. Open daily till 0100.

    Fri, 25 May 2012 12:18:59 +0000
    Sala Café - Bar and Restaurant Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:20:10 +0000 Favorit Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:24:10 +0000 The Lower Aisle Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:24:10 +0000 The Shore Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:25:37 +0000 Wedgwood The Restaurant Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:25:37 +0000 The Tower Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:25:37 +0000 The Dial Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:25:37 +0000