Edinburgh: city break guide

Ok, it might not spring to mind as an obvious choice for a Summer holiday destination but remember that the British Isles hosts deep and fascinating insights into the UK's culture and history, with beautiful landscapes and scenic spots to rival even the most pristine of Mediterranean beaches. Here are our suggestions for making the most of a city break to the city.

First on the itinery once you have arrived, hot and sweaty, is a seaside stroll and dip (for those feeling brave or foolhardy) in the cooling waters of the Firth of Forth, found at the resort of Portobello, on the East coast of Edinburgh. The nearby Beach House cafe offers a variety of rejuvenating refreshments.

Next, head to Scotland's equivalent of Kew Gardens, or the Royal Botanic Gardens (www.rbge.org.uk), a relaxing haven of exotic and recognisable foliage and flora. The site dates back to 1670 and contains a Victorian glass palm houses and miles upon miles of shaped and sculpted gardens. The daily guided walk is free.

The Edinburgh Festival is a global phenomenon, and rightly so, encompassing millions of performances and acts, from theatre, film and comedy to dance, music and the downright experimental. The city becomes flooded with tourists and troubadours alike in August so be sure to get in early on the acts for this mega arts festival: www.edfringe.com.

Before heading home, visit Edinburgh Castle as 2010 is the year of the Diamond Jubilee of Edinburgh's Royal Military Tattoo, which takes place within the grounds of said castle from August 6th to the 28th, and features military bands and pipers, as well as a motorcyle display team. There will be two daily performances throughout the season, with two taking place on Saturdays.

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