London is not only the capital of the United Kingdom, but also its largest city. Historically, London is one of the great "world cities." Although it is densely populated, London has famously retained large expanses of green parkland and open spaces, making it an attractive - as well as exciting - destination for tourists...
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, beautiful Georgian Bath promises an unforgettable city break for lovers of history, architecture, art, food, shopping.and life itself! A unique historical city, set in the rolling Somerset countryside, Bath's hot springs, Roman Baths, Georgian stone crescents and magnificent Abbey...
Glasgow is located on the west coast of Scotland on the banks of the Clyde River. It is the largest city in Scotland and a centre of culture, architecture and design, as well as a sporting capital. You will find the best shopping outside of London here, alongside a range of wonderful parks and museums...
With its Harry Potter-style place names, tea shop-lined 'snickleways' and magnificent Minster, York is understandably seen as something of a medieval Disneyland, beloved of American tourists and history buffs alike. Britain's second city in medieval times, the Yorkshire capital can also boast a significant Roman and Viking heritage ...
Chester is a historic city that is on the Dee River in the North-Western county of Cheshire. Even if you don't want to spend a whole holiday here, you will most definitely want to take a day and visit the Roman ruins. Some parts of this pretty city are over 2000 years old...
Newcastle is located in North East England, on the north bank of the River Tyne. The loveable - if sometimes unintelligible - locals are officially called Novocastrians, although they are much better known as 'Geordies'...
The Scottish capital is the UK's favourite short break destination, having long since shed its sedate, aloof image and transformed itself into a vibrant, modern city that has preserved its elegant architectural heritage. Widely acknowledged to be one of Europe's most charming capitals, its unique appeal draws tourists from around the world, many of whom return time and again to sample the city's multiple delights.
By Air: Edinburgh Airport is located 8 miles west of the city centre, with a regular shuttle bus service available (25 mins to Waverley Bridge just off Princes Street). Airlines serving the airport include Easyjet, British Airways, BMI Baby and Flybe. There are numerous daily flights from all the London airports (1 hour flight time) and regular services from UK regional airports including Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Inverness, Liverpool, Manchester, Norwich and Southampton.
By Train: Waverley Station is located right in the heart of Edinburgh city centre. Rail passengers enter the city in style, with the approach into the station giving spectacular views of Castle Rock. GNER operates East Coast trains from England; the fast train from London King's Cross offers a 4 hour journey through some attractive scenery in the Borders region.
An overnight sleeper service is also available. Virgin Trains operate West Coast trains from England to Edinburgh, while Scotrail is the main rail operator within Scotland.
By Road: The A1 is the principal east coast road from the south, while the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh links with the A74(M) - the only motorway that crosses the England-Scotland border just north of Carlisle in the west. The M90 from Perth and the M9 from Stirling are other major Scottish motorways feeding Edinburgh. A shortage of parking, heavy traffic and congestion charges make driving in the city centre a frustrating experience, especially in the summer, and tourists are best advised to leave their cars at the hotel, if not at home.
By Coach: National Express offers regular services connecting UK cities with Edinburgh, while its sister company Scottish Citylink is the main provider within Scotland, with express services to major cities such as Glasgow, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness. Coach journeys terminate at the St Andrew's Street Station, located in the east end of the city centre between George Street and the St James shopping centre.
August: Edinburgh Festival - Edinburgh really comes alive in August, offering an extraordinary cultural feast that draws performers and arts-lovers from around the globe and sees the city's population double in size. 'The Festival' is a generic term for the frenzy of cultural events taking place in Edinburgh at this time.
The original International Festival of dance, opera and theatre is now somewhat overshadowed by the world-famous Fringe Festival, a renowned breeding ground of comic and dramatic brilliance that is recognized as the largest arts festival in the world, boasting thousands of performances in over 300 venues across the Scottish capital. The summer programme has expanded with the welcome addition of the Edinburgh Book Festival - the largest of its kind in the world - and the Film Festival, a superb showcase for global cinematic talent. The spectacular Military Tattoo, set against the magnificent backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, is a great favourite with tourists, and always a sell-out event.
December: Winter Wonderland - Edinburgh's Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations are hugely popular with seasonal revelers. From late November, Princes Street Gardens in the shadow of the Castle are transformed into a breath-taking Winter Wonderland comprising a large fairground, ice rink and European Christmas market as well as a unique reindeer garden.
Come nightfall, a spectacular lights display lends the city a magical feel that touches the heart of every visitor. Towards the end of the festive season, Edinburgh is unquestionably the place to be. Nobody throws a New Year's party quite like Scottish capital: the city's Hogmanay celebrations are a four day festival featuring fabulous events such as the Torchlight Procession and the world famous Bank Street Party on December 31st.
A great destination for gastronomes and gourmands alike, Edinburgh enjoys a surfeit of superb eateries. For a spectacular dining experience, head to the Forth Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols which boasts magnificent views across the Firth of Forth. Likewise, The National Museum of Scotland's Tower restaurant commands an impressive view of the capital's southside.
Plaisir du Chocolat in Cannongate will set chocolate-lovers' hearts racing with its dizzying array of mouth-watering gateaux, bon-bons and chocolate drinks, while Valvona and Crolla is an acclaimed and hugely popular Italian deli offering a scintillating Mediterranean menu with wines to match. For the more modest wallet, the lively port area of Leith is home to an impressive collection of bistros and down-to-earth restaurants where prices are not reflected in the quality of the cuisine. Restaurant Martin Wishart is particularly recommended. If you're on a very low budget, head to Giuliano's in Union Place for a 'poke o' chips' from the best chippy in Edinburgh.
The city's Broughton Street, George Street and St Stephen's Street areas are brimming with trendy bars and traditional boozers. Broughton Street offers the liveliest and most interesting collection. Check out the sophisticated Outhouse, the loud Basement and the Barony Bar at the bottom of the street. Mansfield Church across the road boasts extraordinary pre-Raphaelite murals as part of its impressive decor.
Edinburgh's lively club scene is constantly evolving, with clubs quickly falling in and out of fashion. The hottest venues in town at the moment include Cabaret Voltaire on Blair Street and The Honeycomb on Niddry Street. Why Not? And Opal Lounge on George Street are popular, as is Peppermint Lounge on Chambers Street. The Cavendish on West Tolcross is good choice for lovers of roots and reggae, and tends to attract an older crowd.