EDINBURGH CASTLE TOUR
If you’re going to the Tattoo, you’ll get to see the backdrop and plonk yourself in the stands temporarily erected in the front courtyard. But why not explore the rest of the city’s most famous landmark? Along with its obvious deep history and artifacts, one of the field guns also lets rip at 1pm daily, so get ready for a belated wake-up call if you’re still feeling dreary!
Adults £16. See Edinburghcastle.gov.uk
Who loves pandas? I sure do, and provided you get there early enough, you can watch the Zoo’s star attractions (and only giant pandas in the UK) Yang Guang and Tian Tian scoff bamboo and crawl around their enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. Plenty of other animal enclosures are also well worth checking out, especially the penguin parade, the wild bears, jaguars, zebras, lions and koalas (if you’re feeling homesick).
Adults £16, Concession £13.50, secure your panda viewing slot online at Edinburghzoo.org.uk.
SCOTCH WHISKY EXPERIENCE
After loitering around the castle, you might feel the urge for a stiff drink. And the Scottish Whisky Experience, located just below the castle entrance, will definitely cater for your needs! The one-hour ‘Silver’ tour (there are other more expensive tour options available) begins with an interactive ride inside a gigantic whisky barrel, and goes on to give you bucketloads of history and information on the national drop of choice through various displays and exhibitions. The guides will also help you discover the aromas and flavours which appeal to your palate, which makes it easier to pick your free dram sample at the end!
Adults £12.75, Concession £10.25, See Scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk
‘FREE SECRETS OF EDINBURGH’ TOUR
If you have an hour or so to spare, roam around the Old Town end of the Royal Mile with the funky guides from The Real Free Tours Edinburgh. Leaving several times a day, they’ll tell you all sorts of quirky facts about Edinburgh and its characters, and the best pubs to go have a drink at later that night!
Free (donations appreciated), search for ‘The Real Free Tours Edinburgh’ on Facebook.
Edinburgh’s nightlife has a bit of a cult following and you can sample some of the best bits of it through Sandeman’s New Europe’s pub crawl tour. Operating every night of the week, the tour will take you through a mix of secret alleyway pubs, cocktail lounges and booming clubs. Oh, and you get a dram of whisky, 3 shooters, drink deals in each pub and VIP entry to the final nightclub.
£15, See newedinburghtours.com
EATING: If you just can’t escape your love of Indian/Middle Eastern cuisine developed here in London, get along to Mosque Kitchen to satisfy your curry cravings. The servings are very generous, there’s a safe, communal atmosphere, and you can get up to two curries with rice for no more than £6.
31 Nicholson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX, Mosquekitchen.com.
DRINKING: Away from whisky, no trip to Edinburgh (or Scotland for that matter) is complete without having a bottle of Irn Bru. It’s pretty much Scotland’s version of orange Fanta with a little kick — grab it from any supermarket or convenience store.
For the best Australian acts at the Festival Fringe see: Top Australian acts at Edinburgh.