The Best of Europe - Summer Experiences in Edinburgh
From one of the oldest fortified places in Europe built on Castle Rock to the understated elegance of the Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh thoroughly deserves its reputation as one of the world’s best cities to visit. And while there’s so much to see in the city, you can’t miss the world famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe taking place here every summer. Explore the city that inspired Harry Potter when you stay at The Balmoral, wander down its winding cobbled streets and follow in the steps of royalty to discover the Queen’s official residence. You’ll be spoilt for choice for things to do, so we’ve picked out some of the must-see attractions.
DISCOVER THE QUEEN’S FLOATING PALACE - THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA
For forty four years the Royal Yacht Britannia served the British Royal Family as their ‘floating palace’ and was the last in a long line of royal yachts which sailed the world on official visits. The floating residence was known around the world for hosting grand events, with the Royal Apartments entertaining the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan and Rajiv Gandhi. It was also once described by The Queen as ‘the one place I can truly relax.’ Discover why Britannia was so important for The Queen and the Royal Family. Admire its understated elegance that reflects the post-war period when it was built and discover its paintings, photographs and artefacts.
The Balmoral Free Spirit Escapes include a two-night stay for two people, a red carpet private tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia with a glass of Prosecco in hand, and a private walking tour with Scottish adventurer and instagrammer @IanGBlack for plenty of #BalmoralMoments.
VISIT EDINBURGH CASTLE - A FORTRESS LIKE NO OTHER
One of the oldest fortified places in Europe, Edinburgh Castle is filled with tales of its time as a military fortress, royal residence and military prison. Set upon a volcanic crag called Castle Rock, it looms over Edinburgh’s dramatic landscape, offering unparalleled views. It is also the most besieged place in Britain, changing hands many times during the Wars of Independence, and was home to kings and queens for centuries. Queen Margaret died here in 1093 and the chapel built in her honour is Edinburgh’s oldest building. The Great Hall, completed in 1511 for King James IV, hosted grand banquets and state events.
WALK IN THE STEPS OF ROYALTY AT THE PALACE OF HOLYROOD HOUSE
The Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh, the Palace of Holyrood House is best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots. She married her second husband in the Palace chapel in 1565, and witnessed the brutal murder of her secretary in her private apartments. The chambers where she lived between 1561-1567, accessed through a winding staircase, are worth seeing and feature fortified walls and a bedchamber with a decorative oak ceiling. You’ll also pass through the majestic Great Gallery, which was used as Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Audience Chamber and has a series of portraits of Scottish monarchs lining its walls.
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH - DISCOVER THE FRINGE
The world’s biggest arts festival is back this , and there is something for everyone: there will be theatre, comedy, dance, opera, musicals, exhibitions and events. The Fringe hosts both up-coming artists and established names, with many artists having got their big break here, from Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie to Rowan Atkinson and Emma Thompson. The festival’s history dates back to 1947, when theatre groups put on their own productions outside the regular programme; the shows became known as the ‘fringe’ and many more performers followed in until the Festival Fringe Society was set up in 1958.