The Place Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land The Route Fly­ing in from Lon­don or an­other Euro­pean hub is the fastest op­tion, but for those with time on their hands, the four-and­half-hour train trip with East Coast ( east­; one-way first-class tick­ets from US$ 73) pro­vides a scenic pre­lude, par­tic­u­larly along the sea­side stretch of track north of New­cas­tle. For the best views, be sure to get a seat on the right-hand side of the car­riage. The Draw De­scribed as “a dream in ma­sonry and liv­ing rock” by na­tive son Robert Louis Steven­son, the Scot­tish cap­i­tal is one of Europe’s most be­guil­ing cities. His­tory buffs will want to ex­plore the Royal Mile, the me­dieval road con­nect­ing Ed­in­burgh Cas­tle with the 16th-century Palace of Holy­rood­house, where Mary, Queen of Scots once lived. A hike up Arthur’s Seat is also well worth­while for its views across the city’s spire-stud­ded sky­line to the Firth of Forth. Why Now? Ed­in­burgh’s cul­tural cal­en­dar reaches its crescendo in Au­gust, with dozens of fes­ti­vals and events held across the city. Among the high­lights are the Ed­in­burgh Art Fes­ti­val, the Royal Ed­in­burgh Mil­i­tary Tat­too, and the Ed­in­burgh Fringe Fes­ti­val, the largest and ar­guably most ram­bunc­tious of its kind in the world. For dates and de­tails, visit ed­in­burgh fes­ti­ Where to Stay With just four enor­mous suites set in an 18th-century town house, The Atholl (; dou­bles from US$ 1,533) is as exclusive—and ex­pen­sive—a ho­tel as you’ll find in Ed­in­burgh; each suite comes with its own kitchen and the ser­vices of an Al­bert Roux–trained chef. For some­thing homier, Fes­ti­val Beds ( fes­ti­ can ar­range stays at a host of rea­son­ably priced down­town B&Bs—a good al­ter­na­tive should ho­tel rooms prove elu­sive in Au­gust, when the city swells to burst­ing point with fes­ti­val­go­ers.

IN THE SPOT­LIGHT An il­lu­mi­nated Ed­in­burgh Cas­tle takes cen­ter stage in this view across the Scot­tish cap­i­tal from Cal­ton Hill.

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