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The Outsider's Guide to Edinburgh

Here at Europcar, we believe in exploring on our own schedule. After all, that’s exactly what our huge range of hire cars and vans are there for. This month, we headed to Edinburgh to continue our series of alternative destination guides.
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Midlothian Snow Sports Centre

The Midlothian Snowsports Centre (better known as Hillend) is home to the longest dry ski slope in Europe. Skiiers and snowboarders of all levels can find a place to fit in here. Even if you’re not feeling active, it’s worth a visit for a ride on the chair lift alone. Rising high into the Pentlands, this is the best way to capture unbeatable panoramic views of Edinburgh and its main scenic attractions.

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Midlothian Snow Sports Centre

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The Cramond Inn

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the18th century Cramond Inn. With a big sunny beer garden for the summer and roaring fires and low-beamed ceilings for the winter, nowhere else in Edinburgh quite does Sundays like this charming traditional pub.

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The Cramond Inn

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Arthur's Seat

Most tourists hike up to the top of this extinct volcano for views of the city, but a drive up the winding road gives you a number of unique vantage points, and the chance to explore the surrounding Holyrood Park in more depth. From the majestic palace to lonely lochs and volcanic cliff faces, this huge green space takes you from the city centre to the middle of nowhere and back again.

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The Sheep Heid Inn

Wherever you ramble in Holyrood Park, make sure you finish at the Sheep Heid Inn. This is Edinburgh’s oldest watering hole (no mean feat) and famous for its top notch food and old-fashioned bowling lanes. -

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The Sheep Heid Inn

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Portobello Beach

Heading away from the city through the adjoining seaside towns of Portobello and Musselburgh, the coastline of East Lothian is a favourite escape for Edinburgh’s city dwellers. Whether you’re looking for world class ice-cream (S. Luca of Musselburgh is famous), surfing, scenery or some of Scotland’s best golf courses, this part of the country will not leave you disappointed.

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Linlithgow Palace

All the tourists see Edinburgh castle, but nearby, Linlithgow Palace holds just as much history. Birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and home to a host of royals, the ruins of the palace are a fascinating sight to behold.

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Pentland Hills Regional Park (Harlaw)

Surrounding Edinburgh at its southern edge are the Pentlands, a rolling range of hills that are a paradise for walkers, climbers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in general. A favourite spot of many Edinburgers is the Bonaly Reservoir. The area offers stunning views and a sense of being deep in the Scottish countryside, all just minutes away from the centre of the city.

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Cramond Shore & Beach

Lying on the outskirts of Edinburgh, you’d be forgiven for thinking the area of Cramond was a forgotten seaside village rather than part of a capital city. Take in some fresh air with a long walk around the beach or out to the famous Cramond Island – just make sure you don’t get caught out by the tide!

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South Queensferry

Just 10 miles away from the city, South Queensferry offers great water views, lovely cafes and restaurants and a smattering of quaint gift shops and galleries to while away an afternoon. But the best bit of South Queensferry has to be the journey there. Hire a car from Edinburgh and take the drive across the iconic Forth Bridge for breathtaking views of the Firth of Forth and the famous red diamonds of the neighbouring railway bridge.

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Jupiter Artland

This artistic escape is still elusive even to many Edinburgh locals – but it won’t stay that way for long. In the surrounds of the Jacobean Bonnington House, this beautiful 100-acre estate has been transformed into a sculpture park. Amazing art installations ranging from the wonderful to the bizarre sit nestled within the landscape, designed to work in harmony with their natural surrounds.

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