Edinburgh is a city awash with museums, art galleries and theatres
If you are indeed a hungry vulture on the lookout for culture, Edinburgh is your feeding ground.
From renaissance masterpieces to modern art, elegant sculptures to towering monuments, fascinating ancient exhibits to cabinets full of whisky and hand-crafted gardens to fabulous theatre productions, Edinburgh the art and culture capital of Scotland has it all!
If you have an interest in art, the National Gallery Complex and the Scottish National Galleries of Modern Art will keep you in front of the canvas for hours.
More of a passion for architecture? Gaze up at or even climb the Walter Scott Monument on Princes Street and find out about one of Scotland's greatest sons.
For more plants, trees and flowers than even your imagination could conjure up, take a relaxing stroll around The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh just one mile north of the city centre.
Learn about the fascinating roots of the Scotland we know today at the Museum of Scotland before taking a barrel-ride through your own miniature distillery at the Scotch Whisky Experience.
When the sun goes down, why not check out a gripping theatre production to top off the day at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre or Edinburgh Playhouse?
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Situated only a mile north of the city centre on Inverleith Row, the Royal Botanic Garden covers 70 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland. Whether you're a fan of horticulture or not, it is the ideal place to unwind.
The Royal Botanic Garden is over 330 years old and has developed an international reputation for plant science and education in the field of horticulture.
As you walk around the Botanics, you will come across a number of fascinating world-renowned attractions. The Queen Mother's Memorial Garden was opened in 2006 to commemorate the extremely popular royal. Her garden has been arranged in a very creative way which will appeal to all visitors, which, in a way, represents the Queen Mother's effect on the nation's people.
The Royal Botanic Garden also has the most extensive collection of Chinese plants outside China. For those who would like to experience the landscape of the Scottish highlands, the Scottish Heath Garden provides a small-scale representation of highland scenery.
The Rock Garden has also gained international recognition for its collection of over 5,000 alpine plants and 165 metre long herbaceous border. Over and above this, the Royal Botanic Garden has a range of glasshouses. The Victorian Temperate Palm House and The Windows On The World glasshouses are extremely impressive. Windows On The World houses around one percent of all known flowering plants, cyads and ferns. Try counting them all! Or pronouncing their names!
It will cost you nothing to enter the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh which makes it an more attractive proposition for an afternoon stroll. If you wish to explore the glasshouses, there is a small charge. An adult ticket costs £4.50, a concession is £3.50 and the price for a child (ages 5 - 16) is £1.20. There is also a family ticket on offer for 2 adults and up to 4 children which will cost you £9.50.
Lothian Buses numbers 8, 23 and 27 all run from the city centre to the east gate entrance on Inverleith Row. The Gardens open at 10am all year round and close at 7pm from April to September. During the months of March and October closing time is 6pm and from November to February the Gardens close at 4pm.
The Scotch Whisky Experience
Those who know all about the Water of Life and those who remain blissfully ignorant will learn something new about our national drink and extremely important export at the Scotch Whisky Experience....and have a barrel-load of fun at the same time!
Situated literally a stone's throw from Edinburgh Castle at the very top of the Royal Mile, the Scotch Whisky Experience is the place to learn about one of the most important aspects of Scottish culture.
If you're like me and know next to nothing about the distillation process which creates this delicious nectar, the unique barrel ride around a replica distillery will give you the detailed insight you need!
Even whisky connoisseurs will be impressed by the stories behind the discovery of this most heavenly drop!
Whisky experts are on hand to educate you, answer your questions and discuss the finer points, if you are already impressively well-read!
The greatest thing about Scotch whisky is the range of flavours, intensity and character available. Even if you are not an avid fan, there is a whisky out there for you! The whisky experts at the Scotch Whisky Experience will assist you in discovering your ideal Single Malt Whisky.
What's more - the Scotch Whisky Experience is proud to present to you the largest whisky collection in the world. It is an awe-inspiring experience having close to 3,500 different Scotch whiskies in front of your eyes.
The Scotch Whisky Experience is only closed on Christmas Day. From September to May they open at 10am and close at 6pm with the last tour commencing at 5pm. Throughout the summer months of June, July and August when demand is particularly high, the doors are open from 9.30am until 6.30pm with the last tour leaving at 5.30pm.
There are three different tours on offer, each with its own characteristics. There is the Silver Tour, the Gold Tour and the Collection Tour. As you might expect, the prices for each tour differ. There are also discount prices for large groups. I recommend consulting the entrance prices on the official website to find out the prices which relate to your situation.
And to answer the all important question....yes you do get a dram (small glass of whisky) on the tour!