x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Culture and fine cuisine in Auld Reekie

The Life: While Edinburgh most certainly has its charms throughout the year, it is during August that the Scottish capital really comes into its own as it plays host to the world's largest arts festival.

Edinburgh castle is one of the city's top sites. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg News
Edinburgh castle is one of the city's top sites. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg News

While Edinburgh most certainly has its charms throughout the year, it is during August that the Scottish capital really comes into its own as it plays host to the world's largest arts festival.

A 2011 study found that Edinburgh's 12 festivals contributed £261 million (Dh1.46 billion) to the national economy, a third more than the income generated by golf.

Edinburgh, known as Auld Reekie, is the UK's most favoured city outside London for holding international conferences and business tourism generates about £300m a year for the city region.

Off hours: Taking in an opera, dance or theatre performance at the international festival, which runs for three weeks from Friday, is a must. A highlight of this year's festival will undoubtedly be LA Dance project. Founded by Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed and danced in the film Black Swan and went on to marry its star Natalie Portman, this is the company's first appearance in the UK. Performances are August 24-26 and tickets start at £10. For those in search of less highbrow diversions, there is the Edinburgh Comedy Festival (until August 26). Golfers will want to try the local links. Jack Nicklaus reckoned Muirfield to be one of the best courses in Britain. Green fees are £195 for one round and £250 for two rounds.

Where to stay: The Balmoral Hotel consistently wins recognition as the best luxury and business hotel in Scotland. Located on Princes Street, the main shopping drag, it could not be more central.

Eating out: Edinburgh has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other British city outside London. A top pick is Restaurant Martin Wishart in the port of Leith, where diners can enjoy seafood and a spectacular sea view. Established in 1999, the venue has been awarded a Michelin star every year since 2001. The six-course tasting menu is available for £75. A three-course lunch is available Tuesday-Friday for £28.50.

How to get there: BA flies to Edinburgh from Dubai via London. Return flights start Dh3,895.

 

lgutcher@thenational.ae