Capital gains: Ever-popular Edinburgh is still a magnet for all manner of visitors

Pic Lisa Ferguson.
Pic Lisa Ferguson.

Scotland’s Capital attracts millions of visitors every year and in 2018 the number of Airbnb properties across the city rocketed almost 35 per cent to 7,366. With an abundance of cultural and historic attractions, it is easy to see Edinburgh’s appeal.

The vibrant city is full of quirks and intrigues to suit all, with winding medieval cobbled streets overlooked by rocky hills and with breathtaking views across the Firth of Forth.

Edinburgh Castle remains the most popular of the city’s landmarks, having reached a record-breaking five million visitors last year.

With museums, artefacts and daily events, including re-enactments, the castle offers a captivating day out for anyone interested in the Capital’s compelling history.

The nearby Real Mary Kings Close, sealed in the 18th century, also remains a top attraction among visitors, but the South Bridge Vaults are similarly worth getting to the bottom of for the inquisitive.

A tour deep into the dark, metres below the Old Town cobbles, can unravel the subterranean history of the area as the home of Edinburgh’s destitute during the expansion of the Capital in the 18th century.

Lit only by a flickering light, tour guides tell spooky and fascinating tales of what life was once like for the literal underclass beneath the old and damp arches.

For those who appreciate the light and – relatively – fresh air, a day’s sightseeing in the iconic Grassmarket, nestled below the castle and once home to a bustling cattle trade, has much to recommend it.

The area offers a picture-postcard view of one of the most lively parts of the city with a myriad of welcoming bars – including one which claims to be the smallest in Scotland – in which to while away the daylight hours.

In the evening, the Capital’s all-embracing mix of theatres and venues, the number of which make Edinburgh one of the most popular cities in the UK for live performances of all kinds, magically come to life.

Even outside of the summer festival season and multiple winter celebrations, Edinburgh continues to be a thriving hub for performers, writers and thespians alike.

The return of Cameron Mackintosh’s Broadway version of Les Misérables to the Festival Theatre runs until Saturday, 16 February and this musical spectacular is certainly one not to be missed.

In fact, the show, based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo, is already set to be the biggest grossing event of the venue’s 25-year history.