Located on the banks of the Firth of Forth River, Edinburgh is Scotland's majestic capital and one of the country's two major cities. Edinburgh International Airport connects the city to numerous other UK destinations including London's Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted. There are also direct flights from European and inter-continental capitals. Upon arrival, Airlink 100 and SkyLink 200 buses connect the airport to the centre of the city. Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station is the principal railway station, with services from London's King's Cross taking between four and five hours. Edinburgh's climate is largely mild, though winters can be wet and chilly so appropriate clothing is required. The Scottish Pound is the local currency and while the notes and coins look different to those found in the rest of the United Kingdom, they are of equal value and both are legal tender across the UK.
At the heart of the Old Town lies the historic Edinburgh Castle. The castle can be toured for a fee and plan enough time to explore the periphery and take in the views of the city. The National Gallery of Scotland is home to many of the country's best works of art and is connected to the Scottish Academy gallery. Edinburgh Zoo is the perfect place to spend the afternoon for those travelling with children. The Edinburgh Playhouse is a former cinema and now plays host to a range of musicals and concerts, making for the ideal evening activity. Just a 45-minute drive when you rent a car in Edinburgh is the historical town of Peebles in the Tweed Valley. Just 46 miles from Edinburgh is Scotland's largest city, Glasgow. With museums, galleries, shops, and many notable landmarks, it makes for an excellent day trip from the capital.
Spend the afternoon taking a hike to the peak of Arthur's Seat. This now extinct volcano stands at 251 metres above the city and the walk to the top is relatively easy. There are several stops along the way if you won't want to climb to the summit. Directly to the east of the city is East Lothian, with its verdant rolling countryside and excellent beaches. Portobello and Cramond beaches are both under an hour's drive from the city, with the former being a sand beach and the latter a small, picturesque cove. Despite unfounded criticism of Scotland's weather, this region actually benefits from more sunshine than anywhere else in the UK. Keen golfers are also spoiled for choice with numerous nearby courses including, but not limited to, Duddingston, Craigentinny, and Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society.
While driving is a wonderful way to explore Scotland when you rent a car in Edinburgh, there are a few things to bear in mind. Speed limits vary between 30 and 70 miles per hour depending on the type of road you're driving on; look out for the circular signs which are posted regularly along dual carriageways and smaller roads. EU licences permit you to drive any vehicle while those from outside the EU can drive a car for up to 12 months with no additional paperwork required. The drink driving limit in Scotland and the wider United Kingdom is 50mg per 100ml of blood. Driving conditions in Scotland are generally excellent with well-maintained roads. However, it is important to take extra care on mountain roads which can be challenging, especially in wintry conditions.