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21st November 2008 11:00 am
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History, Pubs and Clubbing in Edinburgh on a Budget
|History, Pubs and Clubbing in Edinburgh on a Budget
Cosmopolitan and vibrant yet surrounded by wild mountains, the historic capital is the remarkable jewel in Scotland’s crown. From the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival to an acclaimed New Year’s Eve fireworks display, the city has much to offer travellers all year round.
What’s more, thanks to heaps of cheap hostels and student nightlife, Edinburgh is surprisingly accessible to backpackers and student travellers on a budget.
Getting to Edinburgh can be both affordable and easy, with great advance deals available on flights or trains into the city. Coach, however, is by far the cheapest mode of transport, although the journey obviously takes rather longer. Once in Edinburgh itself, the city centre is compact enough to explore all its sights (and pubs) on foot.
When it comes to places to stay, Edinburgh has more than its fair share of great budget accommodation. From views over the castle at the appropriately named Castle Rock Hostel to the small and sociable Bus Station Backpackers, Edinburgh hostels are cheap and well-equipped.
Edinburgh’s famous historic sights (including the imposing castle) are suitably impressive, but admission fees are on the expensive side. However, travellers looking to explore the city’s charms on a budget will find there are plenty more unusual – and less pricey – attractions on offer.
For an alternative experience, the city’s ancient graveyards are rather intriguing spots. Both Greyfriars Kirkyard and St. Cuthbert’s Kirkyard (which lies in the shadow of the castle) have eerie pasts which involve Gothic architecture and legends of grave-robbing and the notorious body-snatchers Burke and Hare.
The scene for many rather less ghostly tales, Edinburgh’s pubs are also a big part of the city’s heritage – so indulging in a pint or two is actually very cultural! From cheap, lively student spots in the Grassmarket to the 17th century Ensign Ewart (521 Lawnmarket), which was reputed to be a favorite with Robert Burns, Edinburgh is packed with affordable pubs serving locally-brewed whiskeys and beers.
With its large university population, Edinburgh nightlife is vibrant most nights of the week. After a typical student dinner of chips with ‘salt and sauce’ (a local delicacy, no less) and perhaps a fried mars bar or two, there are any number of bars and pubs to try out in Potterow, the district near the university.
More traditional venues and live music can be found around Rose Street and the Old Town. Great for a pint and an old-fashioned pub dinner, this district gets particularly busy on the weekends.
When the pubs begin to close, nightclubs and late-night DJ bars get going around both the Old Town and Potterow. It’s during the month of August, though, that Edinburgh’s nightlife really shows off its unique vibe.
As venues across the city host dozens of shows and events for the world-class festival, the streets buzz with the sound of impromptu performances and the thousands of visitors who are drawn to its notoriously energetic atmosphere.