If you don’t want to spend a small fortune going abroad for a winter timeshare break, pack your woollies and head up north! Urban winter wonderland Edinburgh has it all with its thriving restaurant scene and elegant yet ‘small city’ feel, full of winding cobbled streets and plenty to see and do.
Christmas time in Edinburgh is just around the corner, and it’s one of the most magical times to visit – so you won’t want to miss the festive food and gift markets that mark a new season of special celebrations, packed with events and holiday attractions.
Sit back and take in waterfront views from Arthur’s Seat
After munching on a few too many mince pies, burn off some of those “naughty” calories with a walk up to Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park, adjacent to Holyrood Palace where you can see across the city, all the way to the waterfront. Arthur’s Seat is the highest point in the Park (interestingly, it’s a dormant volcano!) and because it towers 251m above sea level, you’ll get an excellent view of the city.
Dip in and out of the charming shops along Edinburgh’s legendary Royal Mile
For something a little less taxing but with the same unparalleled views, stroll up the Royal Mile whilst dipping in and out of shops all the way up to the castle. You’ll be surrounded by the sound of bagpipes, windows full of stuffed highland ‘coos’ and plenty of tartan.
Say hi to the only giant pandas in Britain at Edinburgh Zoo
The next day, make sure you get along to the Edinburgh Zoo that’s a fantastic day for all the family. This zoo is famously home to the UK’s only giant pandas, along with over 1,000 other animals. Only a short bus ride from the city centre, this zoo is open all year round – just be sure to check the opening times!
Shiver to the tales of ghosts of centuries past at Blair Street Underground Vaults
For something more historical (and haunting), join a walking tour down under the new city to visit the Blair Street Underground Vaults where you’ll be entertained with ghostly tales and mysteries. In the late 1700s these vaults were once used to house cobblers and blacksmiths as well as to store food and illicit material, though it was only discovered in 1985 that families had lived down there!
Ring in the New Year at one of the world’s most famous street parties
Perhaps the best known of the winter festivities in Edinburgh is Hogmanay which takes place over three days. This is when Scotland has a chance to show the world how to party and if you want to join the celebrations, tickets are on sale for the official Princes Street street party now.
The gardens play host to concerts with the castle as a stunning backdrop, whilst DJs and live bands fill the streets with sound and colour. This should be on everyone’s list of 100 things to do before they die.
Remember… Edinburgh’s temperatures dip dramatically in winter – not least on New Year’s Eve! – so be sure to wrap up warm. And brave yourself for the haggis and whiskey!
Where to stay? Club La Costa (at Duchally Country Estate) http://www.clcworld.com/duchally-country-estate-scotland/ offers timeshare accommodation in a charming country manor within an easy hour’s drive of Edinburgh.
For more inspiration for your next trip to Scotland, visit http://www.visitscotland.com