UK's Cultural Capital

With cobbled streets steeped in history and a thriving cultural scene (including the world's largest arts festival), Scotland's capital is an inspiring city and one of the most desirable cities to live and work in the UK.

In 2004 Edinburgh became the world's first UNESCO City of Literature.

Edinburgh is a city like no other. It is steeped in history, seamlessly blending the ancient and the modern, providing its residents with the sights, sounds and tastes of a diverse and vibrant capital city.

Being a popular city with domestic and international tourists there are countless attractions, pubs, clubs and restaurants to keep everyone entertained.

In 2017, Edinburgh was rated top ‘cultural and creative city’ of its size alongside Paris and Copenhagen in the European Commission’s Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor.

Key indicators used to rank the cities’ cultural impact included the range of arts venues, historic attractions and landmarks, the number of overnight stays recorded, and attendance at theatres, concerts and cinemas. The number of jobs in arts, culture, media and communications were considered, along with university rankings and the number of university graduates in subjects like arts and humanities.

Edinburgh has always nurtured a strong arts and culture sector, a dynamic social movement, and is now a hub for alternative energy throughout the UK. It’s this culture that allows us to thrive.

Bevis Watts, managing director, Triodos Bank

History and Culture in abundance

The city's historical and cultural attractions, together with its annual calendar of events and festivals have made Edinburgh one of the most desirable places to live in the UK and one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.

Hosting twelve international festivals and a host of other major events throughout the year, Edinburgh's festival programme is a unique cultural phenomenon that attracts over 4 million people. Only the Olympics and the World Cup exceed the number of tickets sold at Edinburgh’s festival events. 

Scotland's capital city is perhaps best known for the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which, since its inception in 1947, has grown into the biggest annual international arts festival in the world. Every August, the city welcomes thousands of tourists and performers from every corner of the globe to enjoy three exhilarating weeks of the very best in international opera, music, performance, drama and dance.

In 2004 Edinburgh became the world's first UNESCO City of Literature, an accolade awarded in recognition of its literary heritage and lively literary activities in the present, while the Edinburgh city region is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns and the magnificent Forth Rail Bridge are both recognised as sites of significant international importance. 

Clean, compact and safe, Edinburgh regularly tops the list of European cities where people would most like to live. It has a diverse multicultural population and has something for everyone. Websites such as This is Edinburgh,  The List and EdinburghGuide.com offer lots of suggestions for things to do and see in this wonderful city.

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City of Edinburgh Council

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