The City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a mix of stunning architecture and thriving business communities, set against the magnificent backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and a skyline of spires and monuments. “Classically beautiful” is probably the best way to describe this city where you can’t help but feel the distinctive cultural tradition for which it is famous across the world.

Historical attractions spread out along the Old Town’s “Royal Mile” – stretching down the tail of an ancient volcano from the Castle at one end to the Palace of Holyrood at the other. A short walk across the famous Princes Street Gardens leads to the neo-classical streets and buildings of the world-renowned Georgian New Town. Together Old Town and New Town have been awarded the much coveted UNESCO World Heritage status.

Edinburgh is also known as Britain’s Festival City. The original International Arts Festival was established in 1946 and has grown to a programme of over 200 events throughout the city in August each year. An ever-expanding number of spin-offs have developed from this original concept. These include the world-famous “Fringe”, but also Film, Science, Children’s, Book, Jazz and Folk Festivals. The Christmas Festival held in Princes St Gardens each year recently won a major global award for large scale events. Together these festivals draw millions of visitors to the city at various times throughout the year and make Edinburgh the second most-visited city in the UK after London.

Being regarded as a child friendly city, many child-oriented attractions suitable for children such as sporting activities, entertainment, restaurants and shops are situated around the city. These include the Museum of Childhood and the People’s Story, Edinburgh Zoo (which has a dynamic Education Centre), Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World, Gorgie City Farm and the Deep Sea World.

The city has gained a reputation as one of the leading European financial and commercial centers with many of the world’s leading banking and insurance companies choosing to base their headquarters here. Its economic prosperity is sustained by the energy and diversity of traditional businesses such as brewing, printing and pharmaceuticals, complemented by dynamic growth in new industries such as tourism and computing.

Edinburgh is also famous for its shopping. Its compact city center is home to a large range of department stores and small specialist retail outlets.

With four universities in Edinburgh – The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and Queen Margaret University – students make up a significant proportion of the population of the city. A vibrant and cosmopolitan city, it is particularly welcoming to overseas students who feel very much at home here.