Edinburgh – even better in summer

Thanks to a number of parallel festivals, Edinburgh in summer is a hotbed of artistic performances and shows, and people travel from around the world to enjoy the unique ambience of the largest cultural event in the world. Here we offer a picture preview of what awaits you in Scotland's elegant capital city.

Scotland's second most populous city lies about fifty miles north of the English border, between the Firth of Forth and the Pentland Hills. With its fine castle perched high on a rocky crag, the medieval architecture of Edinburgh Old Town contrasting with the Georgian New Town, kilt-clad pipers and a museum dedicated to whisky, the city is ready to charm and enchant any visitor at any time of year. But in summer, a number of simultaneous independent events, loosely referred to as the Edinburgh Festival, draw crowds from around the world and transform the city into the European capital of entertainment.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
Edinburgh is home to five National Galleries, including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery - currently undergoing refurbishment and due to re-open in November 2011 - which houses five centuries of portraits as well as the National Photography Collection / © Visit Britain 

At the opposite end of the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, once scene of conspiracies, murder and political intrigue, is today the Queen's official residence in Scotland / © Visit Britain 

Edinburgh Castle
Set atop the Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline and offers spectacular panoramic views of the city / © Visit Britain 

Princes Street, Edinburgh
Princes Street, which runs approximately east-west across the city, is Edinburgh's busiest commercial street. There are hardly any buildings on the south side, much of which is lined with public gardens / © Visit Britain 

Greyfriars Bobby
The statue of Greyfriars Bobby commemorates the faithful Skye Terrier who is said to have guarded his master's grave for 14 years until the dog himself died in 1872 / © Visit Britain 

Hopetoun Palace, Edinburgh
Set on a splendid 6,500-acre estate on the edge of the Scottish capital, Hopetoun House has been the ancestral home of the Hope family for over 300 years / © Visit Britain 

John Knox House, Edinburgh
Built in 1490, John Knox House is the oldest house in Edinburgh and is considered one of Scotland's greatest cultural treasures / © Visit Britain 

Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Each year in August, international military bands take part in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as part of the Edinburgh Festival / © Visit Britain 

Calton Hill, Edinburgh
Calton Hill, just a few minutes from the centre of the city, offers marvellous views over the Scottish capital / © Visit Britain 

St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh
Dating from the fourteenth century, the High Kirk of Edinburgh - St Giles' Cathedral - is famed for its stained glass windows and the distinctive crown steeple / © Visit Britain 

Scottish traditions
A trip to Scotland would hardly be complete without the skirl of the pipes and the taste of fine malt whisky matured in oak casks / © Visit Britain