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Edinburgh see + do

Even if you haven't been to Edinburgh, you probably think of it as a pretty prim and stodgy place. Okay, it was prim and stodgy. But that was a long time ago. As pilgrims to the annual Fringe Festival will attest, Edinburgh's had an antic side all along—it's just doing a better job of showing it these days. Opened in 2004, the dramatically contemporary Scottish Parliament heralded a rebirth. And a few miles northeast of the center is another sign of change, the port area of Leith, which has shaken off its Trainspotting reputation to become a near-essential stop.

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St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh

An imposing stone edifice punctuated by stained-glass windows, St. Giles' Cathedral looms over surrounding buildings on the Royal Mile, and its spire is a...more

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Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Highlights of Catalonian architect Enric Miralles's extraordinary complex include the west side's stainless-steel windows (some of which have oak latticing), a...more

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The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh

She is now decommissioned, but the Britannia traveled to 600 ports in 135 countries in the 44 years in which she served as the Royal Family's floating palace. A...more

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Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Established in 1670, the Botanics (as they're more commonly known) are a must for horticulturalists—even in the dead of winter, when the ten glasshouses...more

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Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

The official residence of the Queen when she fancies a night in Edinburgh, Holyrood is open to commoners when her Majesty is elsewhere; which is most of the...more

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Other Galleries, Edinburgh

The City Art Centre, located in a former Victorian warehouse, is home to Edinburgh's collection of Scottish art; temporary exhibits run the gamut from...more

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National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh

One building is 19th-century, the other modern, but a link between these neighboring museums makes it possible to walk from the past to the present. The Royal...more

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National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art's collection includes more than 5,000 pieces from the 19th century to the present. Sculptures by Tony Cragg, Barbara...more

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Edinburgh Festivals, Edinburgh

Edinburgh becomes an altogether different, wilder animal during the festival—well, festivals, to be precise. The edgy Fringe (comedy, contemporary music,...more

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Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Even if poking around old castles isn't your thing, come for the views from its perch on an extinct volcano. For the history buffs, there are the former royal...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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