Be sure to hang around for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during the month of August, which shows off the best of city through live performances, street entertainment and great markets. You'll also get to know the locals. Scots don’t tend to beat around the bush and are straight-talking folk, which is refreshing when asking for local opinions of restaurants and other attractions in the city.
Australian passport holders looking to visit the UK, which includes Scotland, for less than 6 months do not require a visa. If you are planning on staying longer than 6 months, or looking to study or work in Edinburgh, then you will need to apply for a visa before you travel. Your type and length of study or work will determine what type of visa you can apply for. You may also be eligible for a working visa if you are a Commonwealth citizen or have UK ancestry. Please be aware that this information is only a guide. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact the UK High Commission in Canberra.
The currency used in Scotland is the British Pound, which is used throughout the UK. Scotland issues its own banknotes, however these are interchangeable with the English equivalent and accepted throughout the country. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the British Pound fluctuates constantly, so it's a good idea to monitor the rate before purchasing cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider bringing a credit card or prepaid travel money card with you.
Popular local meals include dishes like fresh salmon, game pie and the unavoidable traditional Scottish haggis. An acquired taste, the recipe for this ancient countryside meal (which dates back to 1430) includes the likes of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onions, spices, stock and salt, and encased in a sausage skin, or, if you’re feeling brave...an animal’s stomach. If you’re not brave enough to order a traditional meal, you can always head to the New Town area of Edinburgh, which is home to restaurants specialising in Spanish, Italian, French and modern British cuisine. The regenerated waterfront area in Leith is also home to exciting establishments such as Edinburgh’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, Martin Wishart.
When you're visiting the city centre after dark, you’ll never be too far away from a lively venue whether it's a bar, club or pub. The after-hours scene in Edinburgh is very much based around boutique live entertainment that caters to almost every music genre. The Old Town sees stag dos and revellers in the area, and Grassmarket venues run from dusk ‘til dawn. For something more laidback, New Town’s watering holes are a great spot to grab a casual pint, while George Street, as the swishest strip in town, is home to stylish cocktail lounges with sociable crowds.