Spotlight City: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Spotlight City: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland with about one million people living in the greater Edinburgh area. As part of the United Kingdom, Edinburgh is home to the monarchy, the Scottish Parliament, many historical and cultural attractions including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is the second-most popular tourist destination in the UK. Crime rates are among the lowest in the country. Before embarking on your adventure through bonny Scotland, be sure to keep a few things in mind to have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Threats and Risks to travellers in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is considered a safe city by international standards. Its crime rates are comparable to that of any other large city in the world. While violent crime is rare, petty crime may present occasional issues for visitors to the city. Pickpocketing is the most prevalent form of petty crime. Be aware of your surroundings and always be conscious of your belongings in public by keeping your valuables and bags within view. Some neighborhoods in Edinburgh such as those outlined below may be slightly more unsafe than others. Be aware of locations and situations that could make you vulnerable to crime, such as; lane ways, isolated parks and buildings, back streets, and poorly lit parking lots.

Violent crime does not present a major risk in urban Edinburgh. However, street brawls involving intoxicated participants have been known to break out at night. Stay away from all drunks you may encounter in the city. The streets of Edinburgh are generally safe to traverse at night (with the exception of Cowgate, and the Meadows in Old Town, Calton Hill, Lothian Road, and the top of Leith Walk in New Town) as long as you exercise common sense and avoid isolated areas.


Personal security practices for travellers

Be extremely cautious when crossing the street, as cars drive on the left and many pedestrians get into accidents for looking the wrong way. Look both ways, and it is not advised to jaywalk even though it is common local practice. Traffic is heavy and can be dangerous if you do not follow pedestrian signals. Exercise common sense such as being aware of your surroundings in crowded areas and at night.


What to do in the event of an emergency

In the event of a life-threatening emergency in the United Kingdom, dial 999 or 112. You may also contact your country’s local embassy or consulate. Embassies are located in London; however there are many consulates in Edinburgh. They will be able to provide you with a limited degree of emergency assistance, depending on the nature of the situation. Hotel concierges are also able to provide a limited degree of assistance in emergency situations.

Police Scotland, Scotland’s police force, maintains a presence in Edinburgh at a level typical of any major city. They may be summoned in an emergency by dialling 999, or 101 in non-emergencies. In the event of a medical emergency, travellers may visit the Accident and Emergency department of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the city’s main hospital. Ambulances may be reached at 999.

One helpful resource to know about if you feel unwell, drunk or disoriented is the SafeZone Bus service. Operated by volunteers, it is in service on Fridays and Saturdays from 22:00 to 04:00 and offers free transportation home and first-aid services. Buses can be found at Cathedral Lane opposite the Omni Centre in Old Town. Bus staff may be contacted at 0771 425 9609.


Enjoy your trip!

Edinburgh is a whimsical city that combines a medieval feel with a contemporary way of life. The captivating city is easily walkable, and visitors can experience century old architecture and castles with modern museums, shopping, and galleries. Soak up the charming Scottish culture and food, while practising common sense and looking both ways!

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