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  • Mandy Gore-Booth

Exploring Edinburgh: Must-See Gems For Your Next Summer Adventure

Updated: Mar 15

On Board With…Safestay Hostels’ Helia Rodrigues – A Pilot PR Interview

With the announcement of Safestay Hostels choosing Edinburgh as the location for the opening of their 17th city-centre hostel, Pilot PR puts Safestay’s UK Area Manager Helia Rodrigues in the hot seat to hear more about the brand’s plans, understand why the Scottish capital is such a key destination, get top tips for planning a great-value city break and insider knowledge as to the best things to do in Edinburgh this summer.

Images Courtesy Of: Mandy Gore-Booth

With city-centre hostels located across Europe and the UK, Helia is charged with managing Safestay’s five UK-based properties in London, York, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and has become a dab hand and making the most out of time spent in these great UK cities.  With Safestay Edinburgh Cowgate opening this summer, in the heart of the lively Cowgate district, and within easy walking distance of Edinburgh’s most famous attractions, choosing an affordable place to stay, whether you are travelling with a group of friends, with your family or on your own, is the easy bit. What to do next requires some good top tips!


“With a packed schedule of festivals and events and a host of history, culture, nature and outdoor adventure on offer in Edinburgh it’s lucky that there are 18 hours of summer sunlight in which to do it all in!”, Helia tells us.


Looking for a pop of colour? Helia recommends you head to the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh to see all the blossoming flowers. Or grab your favourite snacks and drinks and head to the Princess Street Gardens of the Meadows for a little summer picnic. Arthurs Seat, a climbable peak in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, is the perfect way to end your day with stunning sunset views overlooking Edinburgh, and for any Netflix fans, the emotion packed tv-show One Day filmed at this very location. Run up the hill and sit on the edge of Arthur’s Seat just like Dexter and Emma.


Nature is not the only perk of Edinburgh; the city has so many other sites to offer. Edinburgh Castle is a must-see location and in walking distance from Safestay Edinburgh Cowgate. Being one of the oldest fortified places in Europe, so much history lies within its walls. Take a historical tour or just a walk around the castle. Next, stroll over to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Monarchy's official residence in Scotland and admire the beautiful architectural structures. Or head to the Scott Monument, one of the most iconic Edinburgh landmarks.


If looking for a more laid-back city break in Edinburgh, Helia’s says to stroll to Victoria Street and Grassmarket to see all the tiny shoppes and colourful buildings, and when you get hungry? “You can’t not eat at Howies Restaurants when in Edinburgh”, Helia advises. Howies Victoria is my favourite for great quality Scottish food with an emphasis on locally sourced and seasonal offerings. And pop by Dean Village afterwards – it’s a real-life fairytale town, properly ‘twee’ as locals might say!”


For a more liquid-based experience, the Lind and Lime Gin Distillery tour and their menu of deliciously refreshing cocktails is a goodie. Or hop on the Royal Yacht Britannia and discover what it was like during royal service on board Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace.


But, as Helia reminds us “no summer stay in Edinburgh is complete without attending a festival – from the famous Fringe to low-key pop up art events and everything in between Edinburgh is the best city for festival lovers”, and we agree.


So with Helia’s insights in hand, here are our recommendations on the 5 best things to do in Edinburgh in the Summer:


1. Attend a festival! The Festival Fringe is full of lively performances and art. The festival brochure is over 400 pages long, with all the acts being performed in theatre, comedy, dance, musicals, etc. One can always be energized when visiting during Festival Fringe.


2. Sail on the Royal Yacht Britannia. Who wouldn't want to explore the floating palace of Queen Elizabeth II? Ranked as Tripadvisor's #1 UK attraction, summer is the best season to hop on the Royal Yacht Britannia. With beautiful views from the deck or beautiful interior designs, the Yacht is an excellent stop on your Edinburgh holiday.


3. Picnic at Princess Street Gardens. A peaceful oasis and a little escape from the lively summer festivals, Princess Street Gardens is the perfect place to grab a bite and lie down on the field with some friends. Princes Street Food Halls has many different meal options next door.


4. Stroll through Diagon Alley. Sorry, sorry, we meant Victoria Street. For all Harry Potter fans, or just those looking for a scenic route, Victoria Street is often called the fictional Diagon Alley and for good reason. It is a magical alleyway with beautifully bright buildings and many little shops to stop by on your way. The picture-perfect location for your trip!


5. Travel back in time at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This 16th-century palace, commonly associated with Mary Queen of Scots, is a beautiful day trip destination. From the grand exterior to the collections of Flemish and French tapestries in the state apartments, this palace will make you feel like royalty roaming its halls.


So, whether you are a nature lover, history enthusiast, festival goer, or culture seeker, Edinburgh is the perfect location for a summer stay. And with Safestay Edinburgh Cowgate offering a host of accommodation offers from stays in 8 bed dorm rooms to private ensuite options for two, it is hard to find a better value stay.

For more information and reservations

Safestay operates a network of 17 hostels & hotels in 15 cities across 11 countries in the UK and Europe. Safestay hostels & hotels are located in Athens, Barcelona (2), Berlin, Bratislava, Brussels, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London (2), Lisbon, Madrid, Pisa, Prague, Warsaw, Vienna and York.

Pilot PR is an award-winning integrated public relations & communications agency

working with established and emerging brands across the travel, luxury lifestyle,

beauty, spa and wellness sectors. Read more of our travel content here.


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