48 Hours in Edinburgh - United Hub

48 hours in Edinburgh

By Nick Harper

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.

Getting there

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.

St Stephen's Centre from Circus Lane, Edinburgh

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.

Scenic view of Edinburgh Castle on Castle rock, Edinburgh, Scotland

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.

Aerial view of Edinburgh city from Holyrood park


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.

Buildings and restaurants in Scotland`s Central Belt in Edinburgh

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.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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