Travel | Secret Edinburgh: 5 Places you hould see in 2015

Edinburgh is by far one of my favorite places to visit, there is beautiful scenery, an exciting succession of events going on all year round and wonderful people to meet every time you go, so here is a list of the 5 places that you have to visit if you decide to hit up the Scottish capital in 2015.

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1. Niddry Street

Placed roughly halfway between the castle and Scottish parliament building, just off the Royal Mile, sits Niddry Street, a small unassuming gateway into the city’s night-time economy, this street boasts a wide range of clubs and bars, catering for practically every taste of music,, be it Whistlebinkes, with a band performing every night of the week, or The Globe, a popular hangout for the many backpackers that travel to the city every year.

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But it’s two venues in particular, that I can’t help but visit every time I make the journey north of the border, first up is the Banshee Labyrinth, a somewhat normal looking pub from the outside, but far from it once entered, boasting a series of tunnels that venture deep under old town, each containing something new, be it a snooker hall, a stage for gigs or most notably a cinema and if that doesn’t seal it for you, the pub claims to be Scotland’s most haunted.

The Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street, Edinburgh (interior)

Second up is Hive, a nightclub that along with many of the other venues on the street, is open every night of the week, changing venues from rock to hip-hop to dance, depending on the night of the week, all of which is contained in the old cellars that lay deep bellow the Old Town.

2. The National Museum of Scotland

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No trip to the city would be complete without visiting at least one of the many museums, but far my most favorite is the truly massive National Museum of Scotland, with exhibits ranging from dinosaurs to race cars and everything in between, with the rooftop terrace giving you practically one of the best panoramic views of the city, with Arthur’s Seat on one side, to the castle and center on the other, if you are one for ‘selfies’, then this is the place for you.

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The Museum is free to visit and is spread over two distinct buildings, with the modern Museum of Scotland building housing everything from a complete mill to Sir Jackie Stewart’s Race Car, while the Victorian Royal Museum building is home to a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a wide range of stuffed animals and Egyptian Mummies, giving each space their own unique characters and linked via a grand entrance hall, providing you with somewhere to spend the day learning about the world around you and have fun without having to spend anything in the process.

3. Edinburgh Castle

No visit to the Scottish capital would be complete without a visit to the castle that dominates its skyline.

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Perched high up on an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle has become the countries biggest visited attraction, with people from all over the world coming to visit the seat of the kings and queens of Scotland, the National War Museum of Scotland and witness  the one o’clock guns, all whilst surrounded by one of the most beautiful fortresses in the UK.

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For an even better experience, you could visit the castle during the world-famous Military Tattoo that this year runs from the 7th till the 29th of August, or for the Fringe Comedy Festival that goes from the 7th till the 31st of August, both of which make full use of the Castle and surrounding area, providing an excellent location to enjoy both events.

4. Calton Hill

Right at the end of the Royal Mile. Calton Hill is home to a multitude of different monuments, an observatory, a former jail and Old Royal High School.

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Made famous by the National Monument, an unfinished replica of the Parthenon and the Nelson Monument, this UNESCO World Heritage Site resides to the east of the city, providing you with possibly the best place to sit back, relax and enjoy some of the best views of the city and right out to sea or simply wander amongst the follies.

Beltane 2013 Acropolis Sequence View from the Nelson Monument

The hill is a treat all year round, but April is possibly the best time to visit, with the Beltane Fire Festival taking place, using the different monuments as a backdrop for a series of ritualized and theatrical celebrations that includes nudity and uninhibited behavior to see away the end of The Dreich (Scottish Winter).

5. Edinburgh Zoo

And finally, Pandas!!!!!!

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If you have spent any real-time on my blog, you will realize that I love panda’s, that is why no visit to the Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to the only zoo in the UK that has giant pandas on display, along with a substantial amount of other exhibits, including penguins, koalas, chimpanzees, jaguars and many more.

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This zoo is another perfect place to go if you wish to get away from it all and without having to rush around, you can walk amongst the zoos extensive gardens, see some animals such as the giant pandas and koalas, that you aren’t able to see anywhere else in the UK, all of which makes the zoo a great place to visit for all ages.

For a treat, why not check out the zoos Panda Cam and see what Yáng Guāng and Tián Tián are up to.

Best time to visit: May -August

Where to stay: Budget – Belford Hostel Link

                             Intermediate – Travelodge Waterloo Place Link

                             Premium – Old Town Chambers  Link

Where to eat: Frankenstiens, The Timberyard, Union of Genius and The Elephant House

Best Blogs to read: Eating Edinburgh, Edinburgh Etiquette and Ever So Juliet

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