Edinburgh: capital of Scotland, and its second largest city, is one of Europe’s handsomest. An imposing castle and a sweep of Royal Mile, elegant cobblestone Georgian squares, trendy shoreside Leith and the cobbled New Town. Once Edinburgh was just fun in August (festival time), now it’s abuzz all year round. Culture-vultures have the Big Three - the National Museum of Scotland, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery. Shoppers have George Street and Multrees Walk (Harvey Nichols, Space NK), and Broughton, Victoria, William, and Jeffrey streets (independent boutiques). Foodies flock to the farmers’ market on Castle Terrace, Valvona & Crolla’s on Elm Row, and a tempting trio of Michelin-starred eateries.
Stroll to Greyfriars Kirk. The first church to be built in Edinburgh after the Reformation, it’s also known for its connection with Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye terrier who, in 1858, famously followed the remains of his master to the church graveyard.
Expose yourself to torturers, ghosts, grave-robbers, murderers and The Plague at the Edinburgh Dungeon. Scottish history’s horrible bits are made real thanks to live actors, eerie rides and a mirror maze that's (almost) impossible to escape. Similarly eerie is Mary King's Close, a warren of 17th-century streets frozen in time beneath the Royal Mile.
Wrap up warm and head out on a hike up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano in the city centre. It takes around 40 minutes to get to the top and you’re rewarded with the best views of the city.