Edinburgh voted best city to visit in the U.K.

Calton Hill, a typical Edinburgh view. Photo credit: Alejandro Basterrechea

By Alejandro Basterrechea

Edinburgh has maintained the top position on the Telegraph’s annual top 20 Travel Destinations for the fifth year.

The second place goes to York and Bath takes the third. London occupies the fourth place followed by Cambridge which rose two places from last year ranking.

The newspaper listed the reasons why the capital remains first: “From the history-soaked medieval tenements, vennels and wynds of the Old Town to the sweeping elegance of the Georgian New Town.”

The article adds: “Edinburgh deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and compelling cities in the world.”

The capital’s main attraction, Edinburgh Castle, was visited by almost two million people in 2017, reporting a 6% increase in visitors according to Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

This fantastic news for local business and hospitality sector workers comes at the same time as the council run consultation on a potential tourist tax.

The consultation is due to close today.

Council authorities are seeking feedback on:

  • The details of a tourist tax scheme that could work in Edinburgh
  • Wider views on ways in which the council could utilise resources raised
  • Feedback on preferences on how the council could increase transparent governance and accountability of an Edinburgh Scheme.

Council leader, Adam McVey said: “Tourism is a key part of the Edinburgh and Scottish economy as is the hospitality sector and it is in all of our interests to support this growth.”

He added: “Two independent studies, one conducted in the peak festival season and another during the quieter autumn months, demonstrate that tourists and residents overwhelmingly agree and, critically, that a tourist tax in Edinburgh would not deter visitors.”

Edinburgh Green Party Alex Staniforth said to us: “It isn’t often I agree with the Telegraph but I do believe Edinburgh is the best city to visit in the U.K. For it to remain so the city council would like to add a small surcharge to visitors staying in the city so that they can contribute to the services they use.
He added: “This is common practice among the best destinations in Europe and as one of them it is crucial that we follow suit and are not left behind as services fail. All evidence suggests residents and tourists alike are in favour – all we need is permission from the Scottish government and it can be done.”

This plan requires legislation from the Scottish Government to impose a £2 nightly tax on tourists staying in Edinburgh, using the money to help the council to keep streets clean among other programs.