44 Facts About Edinburgh


Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas.

FactSnippet No. 821,806

Edinburgh is Scotland's second-most populous city, after Glasgow, and the seventh-most populous city in the United Kingdom.

FactSnippet No. 821,807

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582 and now one of three in the city, is considered one of the best research institutions in the world, most recently placing 15th in the QS World University Rankings for 2023.

FactSnippet No. 821,808

Edinburgh has been popularly called the Athens of the North since the early 19th century.

FactSnippet No. 821,809

Edinburgh was largely in English hands from 1291 to 1314 and from 1333 to 1341, during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

FactSnippet No. 821,810

In 1611 an act of parliament created the High Constables of Edinburgh to keep order in the city, thought to be the oldest statutory police force in the world.

FactSnippet No. 821,811

Edinburgh became a major intellectual centre, earning it the nickname "Athens of the North" because of its many neo-classical buildings and reputation for learning, recalling ancient Athens.

FactSnippet No. 821,812

Edinburgh was a major centre for the Scottish book trade.

FactSnippet No. 821,813

Edinburgh is drained by the river named the Water of Leith, which rises at the Colzium Springs in the Pentland Hills and runs for 18 miles through the south and west of the city, emptying into the Firth of Forth at Leith.

FactSnippet No. 821,814

Edinburgh includes former towns and villages that retain much of their original character as settlements in existence before they were absorbed into the expanding city of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

FactSnippet No. 821,815

The port developed a separate identity from Edinburgh, which to some extent it still retains, and it was a matter of great resentment when the two burghs merged in 1920 into the City of Edinburgh.

FactSnippet No. 821,816

Urban area of Edinburgh is almost entirely within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary, merging with Musselburgh in East Lothian.

FactSnippet No. 821,817

The Church of Scotland Offices are in Edinburgh, as is the Assembly Hall where the annual General Assembly is held.

FactSnippet No. 821,818

Edinburgh is home to a Baha'i community, and a Theosophical Society meets in Great King Street.

FactSnippet No. 821,819

Edinburgh has over 39 graveyards and cemeteries, many of which are listed and of historical character, including several former church burial grounds.

FactSnippet No. 821,820

Edinburgh is the second most visited city by foreign visitors in the UK after London.

FactSnippet No. 821,821

Today, the financial services industry, with its particularly strong insurance and investment sectors, and underpinned by Edinburgh-based firms such as Scottish Widows and Standard Life Aberdeen, accounts for the city being the UK's second financial centre after London and Europe's fourth in terms of equity assets.

FactSnippet No. 821,822

Summer of 2020 was the first time in its 70-year history that the Edinburgh festival was not run, being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FactSnippet No. 821,823

Edinburgh has two repertory cinemas, the Edinburgh Filmhouse and The Cameo, as well as the independent Dominion Cinema and a range of multiplexes.

FactSnippet No. 821,824

Edinburgh is home to a flourishing group of contemporary composers such as Nigel Osborne, Peter Nelson, Lyell Cresswell, Hafliði Hallgrimsson, Edward Harper, Robert Crawford, Robert Dow and John McLeod.

FactSnippet No. 821,825

Edinburgh Television existed in the late 1990s to early 2003 and STV Edinburgh existed from 2015 to 2018.

FactSnippet No. 821,826

Edinburgh Zoo, covering 82 acres on Corstorphine Hill, is the second most visited paid tourist attraction in Scotland, and home to two giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, on loan from the People's Republic of China.

FactSnippet No. 821,827

Edinburgh is home to The Royal Yacht Britannia, decommissioned in 1997 and now a five-star visitor attraction and evening events venue permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal.

FactSnippet No. 821,828

Edinburgh contains Scotland's three National Galleries of Art as well as numerous smaller art galleries.

FactSnippet No. 821,829

Edinburgh is represented in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom by five Members of Parliament.

FactSnippet No. 821,830

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland's busiest airport and the principal international gateway to the capital, handling over 14.

FactSnippet No. 821,831

Edinburgh Waverley is the second-busiest railway station in Scotland, with only Glasgow Central handling more passengers.

FactSnippet No. 821,832

Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams are both owned and operated by Transport for Edinburgh.

FactSnippet No. 821,833

The Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh, founded in 1760, became the Edinburgh College of Art in 1907.

FactSnippet No. 821,834

Edinburgh is home to The Royal High School, one of the oldest schools in the country and the world.

FactSnippet No. 821,835

Edinburgh has three football clubs that play in the Scottish Professional Football League : Heart of Midlothian, founded in 1874, Hibernian, founded in 1875 and Edinburgh City, founded in 1966.

FactSnippet No. 821,836

Edinburgh was home to four other former Scottish Football League clubs: the original Edinburgh City, Leith Athletic, Meadowbank Thistle and St Bernard's.

FactSnippet No. 821,837

Edinburgh is home to Scottish Premiership teams Boroughmuir RFC, Currie RFC, the Edinburgh Academicals, Heriot's Rugby Club and Watsonians RFC.

FactSnippet No. 821,838

Edinburgh Capitals are the latest of a succession of ice hockey clubs in the Scottish capital.

FactSnippet No. 821,839

Previously Edinburgh was represented by the Murrayfield Racers, the original Murrayfield Racers and the Edinburgh Racers.

FactSnippet No. 821,840

Edinburgh has several men's basketball teams within the Scottish National League.

FactSnippet No. 821,841

Edinburgh has hosted national and international sports events including the World Student Games, the 1970 British Commonwealth Games, the 1986 Commonwealth Games and the inaugural 2000 Commonwealth Youth Games.

FactSnippet No. 821,842

Edinburgh has a speedway team, the Edinburgh Monarchs, which, since the loss of its stadium in the city, has raced at the Lothian Arena in Armadale, West Lothian.

FactSnippet No. 821,843

Edinburgh has a long literary tradition, which became especially evident during the Scottish Enlightenment.

FactSnippet No. 821,844

The latest in a long line of science celebrities associated with the city is theoretical physicist, Nobel laureate and Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh Peter Higgs, born in Newcastle but resident in Edinburgh for most of his academic career, after whom the Higgs boson particle has been named.

FactSnippet No. 821,845

Edinburgh has been the birthplace of actors like Alastair Sim and Sir Sean Connery, known for being the first cinematic James Bond, the comedian and actor Ronnie Corbett, best known as one of The Two Ronnies, and the impressionist Rory Bremner.

FactSnippet No. 821,846

Edinburgh is the birthplace of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who attended the city's Fettes College.

FactSnippet No. 821,847

Notorious criminals from Edinburgh's past include Deacon Brodie, head of a trades guild and Edinburgh city councillor by day but a burglar by night, who is said to have been the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's story, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and murderers Burke and Hare who delivered fresh corpses for dissection to the famous anatomist Robert Knox.

FactSnippet No. 821,848

City of Edinburgh has entered into 14 international twinning arrangements since 1954.

FactSnippet No. 821,849