Edinburgh Coach Trip
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Time Zone: GMT
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Edinburgh - an introduction
Scotland's capital city is one of the most popular and cultural destinations in Europe, with a thriving arts scene boasting an international Festival Fringe and Military Tattoo, a good wash of museums and galleries and an Old and New Town ensemble that have earned the city an 'Athens of the North' nickname and World Heritage acclaim.
All this and it's easy to see why coach holidays to Edinburgh are popular; not to mention that the city is home to the most visited attraction in Scotland – Edinburgh Castle. No tour to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to this 1,000 year-old ancient fortress. Built on a volcanic crag, it dominates the city, draws in one million visitors each year and is a must-see on any break to Edinburgh.
Edinburgh's foot-friendly compactness means that it can easily be explored by walking. The famous Royal Mile is a network of roads that feature a high concentration of places of interest as well as linking the centrepiece castle with Holyroodhouse Palace at the bottom, the Scottish residence of the British Royal Family. When the Queen is not in town, the Palace's grandeur and history that is heavily linked to Mary Queen of Scots, can be appreciated on a guided tour.
At the other end of the mile you'll find the Castle and a plethora of street artists (look out for local celeb Adam Braveheart, whose tattooed derriere features on many fridge magnets in the city), as well as some odd mirrors that will make you look skinny or plump depending on your preference. The Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre is also at this end, where visitors can embark on a whisky barrel tour and find out about malting, mashing and 300 years of 'the water of life'.
Aside from the culture and history, Princes Street offers an unrivalled shopping experience. The Royal Yacht Brittania is also worth a visit on Edinburgh package holiday, standing in the port of Leith after having sailed over one million miles.
Coach holidays to the city usually incorporate the spectacular Edinburgh Military Tattoo held at the Castle every August. Tours include a ticket to the Tattoo, return coach travel or flight, any transfers to and from airports and hotels, good quality accommodation about an hours' drive from the city, breakfast and transfers allowing for sightseeing. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Moffat and Gretna Green are popular excursions, and cruise options on Loch Katrine aboard SS 'Sir Walter Scott' or journeys on the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway are also available.
Things to do
In addition to strolling the Royal Mile or witnessing the amazing Edinburgh Tattoo, here are some other things to see and do whilst in Edinburgh:
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock and remains the most popular paid visitor attraction in Scotland, with over 1.3 million visitors per year. There has been a royal castle here since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century. Each year The Edinburgh Military Tattoo take place on the Esplanade during August and the basis of the performance is a parade of the pipes and drums of the Scottish regiments.
Some of the most fascinating attractions of Edinburgh are right under your very feet. As you tread the ancient Royal Mile you could be forgiven for not realising the wealth of history and mystery underground. These dark, claustrophobic and atmospheric caverns are by far the most impressive of the vaults. Enter through an unimpressive doorway halfway down the hill where Blair Street ends. After descending into the catacombs, guides can take you through the history and paranormal reports on tales of body snatchers, murders and Satanists.
Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central Edinburgh, and its main shopping street. It stretches around 1 mile (1.6 km) from Lothian Road in the west to Leith Street in the east. With no buildings on the South side of the street you can see panoramic views of Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town and the valley in between. Prince Street is a shoppers paradise with nearly every major high street store.
Edinburgh Zoo is in an 82-acre site on Corstorphine Hill, providing great views of the city. Built in 1913 it was the first zoo in the world to house and breed penguins and is the only zoo in Britain to house Koala bears and Giant Pandas. In just one visit you will be able to see over 1000 animals!
Tips & Advice
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Edinburgh, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
British Citizens are advised by some of our tour operators to have travel insurance before going on a tour or holiday, even if it happens to be in your country of residence. As a British citizen you will be entitled to free emergency health care on the NHS.
If you are visiting Scotland from outside the United Kingdom and fall ill or are involved in an accident and are from any member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can obtain free or reduced cost treatment with The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all other nationals planning on visiting Scotland.
If you need to contact the emergency services whilst in Scotland simply dial 999 or 112 to ask for an ambulance.
Most destinations are generally trouble-free, however as with all places that you are not familiar with, keep an eye on your belongings and if necessary lock them away somewhere safe back at your hotel if possible. Keep an eye on everyone in your party and do not go off with people you do not know. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and don't venture off on your own.
Local Laws and Customs
Queuing is a British Institution - jump a queue at your own risk!
Drug offences will carry penalties in the UK, so avoid getting involved with anything whilst in Scotland. Please note the narcotic plant Khat/Qat is legal in the UK, but is not in a majority of other countries so never try to export this when leaving the UK.
If you are visiting from outside of the United Kingdom, it is wise to check customs requirements before you travel. If you are planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the country, you need to be familiar with the UK's custom laws. For those people coming to the UK from the EU, you are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods for your own use without paying tax or duty.
However, if you are travelling to the UK from outside of the EU, you are given an allowance of how much alcohol, tobacco, perfume, souvenirs and other goods. If you go above this allowance you may have to pay tax or duty. It is worth checking the HM Revenues and Customs website before you travel.
When travelling between the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in most cases an official form of identification such as a Driver's License will be ok. However, some airlines will insist you show a passport so check before you travel.
If you are travelling to Scotland from Australia, Canada or the USA, you must have a valid passport for at least three months beyond the length of your stay. EU nationals need to have either a valid passport or identity card.
Visas for the UK are not required by those travelling from Australia, Canada, USA or EU for stays of up to six months.
Any other nationality looking to visit the UK must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For further information about Edinburgh you can visit the Official Tourism Website at edinburgh.org