Leader: ‘George St experiment a big success’

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GEORGE Street was a joy to spend time in during the Festival. The sunshine played its part, of course, as did the post-Olympic bounce which helped give the whole Fringe a special buzz this year.

But the visitor numbers released today show beyond a doubt that the experiment with pedestrianising most of George Street was a roaring success.

People flocked there in huge numbers, with much bigger increases in visitors than the rest of the city centre. This has been a great addition to what Edinburgh has to offer in August and has to become a regular feature of future Festivals.

Questions still remain about whether anything like this kind of success can be repeated at other times of the year. Nevertheless, the huge popularity of the Festival zone is a real boost to the stalled plans for testing a one-way system on George Street and Princes Street. The pedestrian precint that would create won’t be heaving with Festival-style crowds all year round, but even a fraction of the lift it brought in August would be welcome in the other months.

Ssh, you know who

The Harry Potter fans beating a path to “Lord Voldemort’s grave” in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard might seem daft.

Yes, before anyone points it out, we know that its not really the final resting place of the great Dark Lord. The headstone of a 19th century gentleman has only a tenuous link with JK Rowling’s fictional character, as a possible inspiration to the author.

All the same, we can’t help but enjoy this latest step in the Harry Potter phenomenon. This is one of those stories that will grow into part of Edinburgh folklore, to be enjoyed by generations to come. A little bit like that other story that is forever connected to the graveyard at Greyfriar’s. Its all part of the rich mix that gives Edinburgh its magic.