48 hours in Edinburgh
Scotland's capital is a city of two halves. From the medieval tenements and narrow wynds of the Old Town to the sweeping grandeur of the Georgian New Town, Edinburgh deserves its reputation as one of Europe's most fascinating destinations. Pegged as the United Kingdom's most walkable city, you'll discover historic landmarks, secret gardens, breathtaking architecture and some of the continent's most vibrant restaurants, bars and nightlife. If you're planning a visit to Edinburgh, here are the key components to building the perfect itinerary.
Edinburgh Airportis located approximately 7.5 miles west or 25 minutes by taxi or car from the city. To be within easy walking distance of most attractions, book your hotel in the Old Town, New Town or the West End.
When to visit
When it comes to tourists, Edinburgh is the most quiet (and coldest) in January and February. The city becomes busier from March onward with July, August and the holiday season (Christmas and New Year's) being the peak months. If you're heading for Edinburgh's Fringe Festival (August 3-27), you should expect long lines and plan to book your accommodation as far in advance as possible — the city's hotel rooms fill up fast.
Where to stay
Edinburgh is home to numerous hotels, guesthouses and apartments with options to suit all tastes and budgets. The following are just three of the many good options available and each are within minutes of the city center's main attractions. The Balmoral is a landmark luxury hotel close to Waverley train station that boasts a luxury spa and whisky bar.A handsome Georgian hotel, The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square, overlooks a pretty private garden square and is only two minutes from shoppers' paradise, Princes Street. Another short hop from Princes Street sits Code Hostel, a hipster hostel, offering comfy beds for those on a tighter budget.
What to see
It can be hard to squeeze all there is to see into just two days, so make sure to choose your adventure carefully. We'd suggest you start your visit by walking up the Royal Mile — the collective name for the tangle of streets leading west up to Edinburgh Castle. With good reason, the Castle's historic halls, royal chambers, and dungeons are the city's busiest attraction. Perched on a volcanic rock formation, you'll also have breathtaking views of the city.
For another elevated vantage point, head to Holyrood Park, located near the bottom of the Royal Mile. From there you can clamber up Arthur's Seat, a dormant volcano that allows you to look down on both the city and across to the Kingdom of Fife. Back at ground level, explore the fascinating Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh and the home of Scottish royal history.
A short walk away from Holyroodhouse, you'll find three key buildings, the Scottish Parliament Building, the Museum of Edinburgh and the National Museum of Scotland. The last is home to a world-class collection of displays that cover Scotland's history, design, and innovation, but all three are worthy of your time. For artistic inspiration, visit one or all of the city's three main galleries. The Neoclassical Scottish National Gallery is the most central, and for a small donation the Gallery Bus will take you on to the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish Portrait Gallery.
Next up is the beautiful Charlotte Square in the heart of New Town, home to the National Trust's Georgian House, a magnificently restored property from the era of enlightenment. Explore its rooms before heading on to Stockbridge, an architectural hot spot full of quaint shops and pretty postcard streets. If you only seek out one of the city's numerous cafes, make it Elephant House – also known as 'The birthplace of Harry Potter'. It was here that J.K. Rowling began her writing career, penning the story of a boy wizard in the back room of this rambling cafe. Refueled on caffeine or something stronger, head underground to Real Mary King's Close and you'll discover a collection of subterranean streets that run beneath the city and tell the stories of the people who lived there more than 400 years ago.
Where to eat & drink
Edinburgh is a culinary wonderland just waiting to be explored. Michelin-starred fare awaits, in addition to restaurants and cafes that won't break the bank. For breakfast, consider Edinburgh Larder or The King's Wark. For lunch, try Hendersons or The Manna House. And for afternoon tea, head for Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square, The Dome or The Palace of Holyroodhouse. And as day becomes night, try to get a table at Aizle, Outsider or The Kitchin, just three of the city's best restaurants showcasing Scotland's local produce.
You'll quickly discover that Edinburgh's bar scene extends far beyond whisky and ancient public houses, but if those two boxes need to be ticked, add The Bow Bar (with 300+ single malts available) and The Sheep Heid Inn (dating back to 1360) to your itinerary. For cocktails, head for The Voodoo Rooms and Panda & Sons, the latter a New Town speakeasy disguised as a barbershop that also serves excellent food.
If you go
United flies year-round, nonstop routes between Edinburgh and Newark International Airport. For more information and to book your next adventure to the capital of Scotland, visit United.com or download the United app.
Around the web
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
We are going above and beyond to find creative ways to transport fresh food and produce, as well as basic essentials from the U.S. mainland to military and their families in Guam/Micronesia. On Saturday, March 28, we operated an exclusive cargo-only B777-300 charter to transport nearly 100,000 pounds of food essentials to Guam to support our troops.
In addition, we move mail year-round all over the world. In response to COVID-19, and in support of the military members and their families overseas, we implemented a charter network, transporting military mail to Frankfurt, which is then transported all over Europe and the Middle East. Since March 20, we have flown 30,000+ pounds of military mail every day between Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Frankfurt (FRA). On the return flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, we have carried an average of 35,000 pounds of mail to help families stay connected.
"Connecting products and mail to people around the world is the United Cargo mission," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "Keeping our military families connected with the goods they need, and keeping them connected with loved ones to feel a sense of home, is of critical importance. As a company that has long supported our military families and veterans, our teams are proud to mobilize to lend a hand."
On average, we ship more than 1 billion pounds of cargo every year on behalf of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit unitedcargo.com.
To our customers,
I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt by individuals and families, companies and communities, across the United States and around the world.
The response to this crisis has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required from our society as for what it has revealed of us as a people.
Far from causing division and discord, this crisis and the social distancing it has required, has allowed us to witness something profound and moving about ourselves: our fond and deeply felt wish to be connected with one another.
The role of connector is one we're privileged to play in the moments that matter most in your life – weddings and graduations, birthdays and business trips, events large and small – and it's that responsibility that motivates us most to get back to our regular service, as soon as possible.
That is why it is so important our government acted on a comprehensive relief act to ensure our airline – and our industry – are ready and able to serve you again when this crisis abates.
I want to relay to you, in as deeply personal a way I can, the heartfelt appreciation of my 100,000 United team members and their families for this vital public assistance to keep America and United flying for you.
This support will save jobs in our business and many others. And it allows us time to make decisions about the future of our airline to ensure that we can offer you the service you deserve and have come to expect as our customers.
While consumer demand has fallen, we have seen the need for our service and capabilities shifted. And, we've adapted to help meet those needs.
Right now, aircraft flying the United livery and insignia, flown by our aviation professionals, have been repurposed to deliver vital medical supplies and goods to some of the places that need it most. We're also using several of our idle widebody aircraft to use as dedicated charter cargo flights, at least 40 times per week, to transfer freight to and from U.S. locations as well as to key international business locations. At the same time, we are working in concert with the U.S. State Department to bring stranded Americans who are trying to return home back to their loved ones.
While much remains uncertain right now, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass. Our nation and communities will recover and United will return to service you, our customers. When that happens, we want you to fly United with even greater pride because of the actions we took on behalf of our customers, our employees and everyone we serve.
Stay safe and be well,
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.