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Royal Mile Apartments in Edinburgh
Edinburgh's Royal Mile is the jewel in the capital's crown; an exciting, engaging and interesting place to stay whatever the time of year. Packed with sights to see, things to do and home to some of the city's best eating and shopping, there's something for everyone to enjoy, explore and experience.
The historical heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, the Royal Mile is actually four distinct streets, running between two of the city's most important historical landmarks: Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. The Castle, built on an ancient plug of volcanic rock, dominates the landscape of the city, and as the Mile slopes gently down towards the Palace you can literally walk through the history of Edinburgh.
The Castle itself is a must-visit, commanding beautiful views from its forbidding ramparts, and containing a wealth of Scottish history. At the other end of the Mile, Holyrood Palace, the Queen's official residence in Scotland, is one of the greatest architectural gems in the UK. Opposite this 16th Century treasure is a much more modern one - the Scottish parliament, which is open for tours to see its excellent art collection.
Along the Royal Mile there are numerous closes and passages (called 'wynds') which lead off either side, and exploring these is one of the great pleasures that the city has to offer; as they consist of superb examples of the ancient, towering architecture which dominates the Old Town. Explore on your own, or as part of one of the numerous walking tours, where knowledgeable guides can help you discover some of the city's magical secrets, like the peaceful garden in Dunbar's Close, just a few moments away from the bustle of the main street.
There are many other attractions on or nearby the Mile. A variety of Museums and centres dedicated to subjects as diverse as Storytelling, Childhood and Edinburgh itself are there to interest the visitor. However if historical monuments are more of interest then you'll be in exactly the right place. St Giles Cathedral offers medieval architecture, with some parts dating back to the 14th century and Victorian stained-glass-windows; and, just behind it the spectacular 17th century Parliament House is still used today, with the magnificent original oak hammer-beam roof presiding over a living piece of history.
However for a true taste of Scotland, why not try the Scotch Whisky Experience? A five star visitor attraction which includes whisky tastings, a range of tours and even a whisky school, the Whisky Experience is definitely worth a visit.
For less cerebral but equally satisfying pleasures, the Royal Mile is home to some of Edinburgh's best shopping, with an eclectic mix of family-run businesses, some of which have been trading on the same spot for hundreds of years.It's a great place for artisanal, hand-made goods, with quirky independent clothing and jewellery retailers, Scottish delicatessens, antiques and the oldest independent whisky bottler in the city. As much fun to browse as it is to shop, there's bound to be something to fascinate and excite in this unique mix of shops.
If the sight-seeing and shopping has taken it out of you, the Royal Mile is home to some of the city's best eating, with eating options ranging from friendly, family-run cafes up to the finest of fine dining, and all points in between (including that legendary Scottish staple: the deep-fried Mars bar) Or you could put your feet up, relax and contemplate your good sense in visiting with a dram at one of the many excellent pubs and bars.
However whilst Edinburgh is a busy and vibrant city all year round, it really puts its glad-rags on at Festival time. From the International Festival to the Fringe: the world's largest Arts festival, there's an extra buzz around the place at Festival time, with a dizzying range of shows, plays, exhibitions, concerts to divert and delight. Any time of year's a good time to visit the Royal Mile, but this is definitely the liveliest!