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Think of Edinburgh as a holiday destination and you probably visualise the famous Festival and associated Fringe. August sees the city packed to bursting with entertainment of every kind, and the world descends on this beautiful city to join in the fun. But there is so much more to see and do in this wonderful and fascinating city, making it the perfect destination for a late-spring holiday or short break. Even better, you don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy many of the delights it has to offer.

In some cases, you don't have to spend any money at all to experience the delights of Edinburgh. Encompassing a series of hills, the city is a walker's paradise, with stunning views at almost every turn, so don’t forget to pack your camera. All visitors should take the time to climb Arthur's Seat and see the panorama of the city unfurl from the site of this extinct volcano. The parkland is also home to Holyrood House, which is a great place to visit for history buffs.

In fact, if history is your passion, then Edinburgh is packed with delights. Take a leisurely stroll up the famous Royal Mile, which puts you right at the heart of the mediaeval city and leads to the splendour of Edinburgh's iconic castle, which offers yet more views. Lovers of wildlife won't be disappointed either, as there is a beautiful walk that runs for twelve miles alongside the Waters of Leith. Winding through this historic city, the walkway is wildlife haven with some surprises in store, including several statues of naked men created by Antony Gormley.

Many of the city's museums offer free entry, so you can sample the delights of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Scottish National Gallery or the National Museum of Scotland without having to pay for the privilege. The Botanical Gardens also offers free admission, and there are over 70 acres of grassland, shrubs and rare plants together with the famous glasshouses.

Edinburgh has a rich, and sometimes dark, history, so it's well worth spending a few pounds on one of the many guided tours that take place around the older parts of the city. Many of these start from the Royal Mile, so keep a lookout for the boards advertising them, and prepare to be transported back to Edinburgh's murky past, much of it based around murder, witchcraft and ghostly activity. Visit the underground street of Mary King's Close and you can see how life was lived during these dark and troubled times.

As it's a cosmopolitan city, you'll find that you're never far from an atmospheric bar, café or restaurant, allowing you to rest your feet before heading back out on to the streets to explore another part of this endlessly fascinating city.
 

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