It’s the height of the Fringe, the Tattoo is in full swing, and top names in global entertainment are performing daily to crowds from every corner of the world.
Perhaps then the only surprise is that Edinburgh has come as far back as third in a newly released mammoth survey by respected pollsters YouGov trying to establish Britain’s favourite city from the list of all 57 in the UK.
The historic Viking settlement of York topped the poll, with 92 per cent of 55,000 respondents saying that they liked the city. However another Yorkshire city took the wooden spoon – Bradford was the least popular of 57 cities.
Bath, often described as an English cousin to the Scottish capital in terms of architecture and atmosphere, just pipped Edinburgh to second place. 89 and 88 per cent respectively of those polled said that they liked the two cities.
The English and Welsh capitals didn’t fare nearly as well, London coming in at 22nd and Cardiff at 30th.
But what is it about this city, with all its failings too, that makes people so happy? And what reasons might that 12 percent have for hitting dislike?
What does the public think?
• Marsha Fergus, 69, teacher, West Lothian: I would put it first [on the survey]. It’s fantastic, it’s such a marvellous facility, and not just during the festival, there is a lot of cultural things going on at other times of the year. Museums, theatres, there is a lot to do.
We attend it all, we just love its cultural scene and academic scene, it’s quite vibrant. When the tourists go away and the festival is shut down, students come and it’s quite vibrant.
• Emma Lindars, 34, actress, London: It’s beautiful. I just think the architecture is stunning, especially the old town. It’s very friendly and everyone’s very accommodating and chatty.
There’s a lovely atmosphere, I don’t know if that’s the Fringe adding to that obviously, there’s quite a lot of arty folk.
I live in London, so it’s tough especially with what I do, but I can imagine it’s a very lovely place to live.
• Flora Hurst, 88, Craigleith: It should be the best, but it needs a lot done to it. It needs the roads and the pavements done before it can be called the best – any roads with potholes and that’s nearly 90 per cent of them.
I’m 88 so I’ve lived here all my life. It’s more cosmopolitan now and every other shop’s a place for something to eat – I don’t know how they can all pay, I honestly don’t.
Everybody decries the trams, but the trams are very comfortable. If we had better tram services that would be lovely.
• Jude Smarts, 44, marketer, Trinity: There’s lots to do [for children] – apart from the weather – you’ve got great museums, galleries, during the festival there’s so much going on. There’s really good schools but you can escape out to the country pretty easily. I think it’s a great place to live.
The weather’s pretty much the only thing I don’t like. There’s great public transport and it’s easy to drive around from one side of the city to the other.
• Graham Bruce, 21, master’s student, Inverleith: I think Edinburgh strikes a good balance, being a medium-sized city. It has everything that you want in a city – all the nice bars and restaurants and things to do, but also it has the nature side – it has the beach, it has parks like the meadows and Arthur’s Seat.
So it strikes a good balance between being a moderately big city and having the countryside really near. I think promoting the green side of the city is really important because without that it’s just a big concrete jungle.
If you compare it to some-where like Aberdeen, which maybe doesn’t have as many nice parks, I think it does make a big difference. Because without that, it’s just a place with chain shops.
[I want to see] less of the tartan shops, less of the nonsense and more of what makes Edinburgh Edinburgh – the history and academic stuff...it’s a really classy city.
• Sandy Alexander, 68, retired, Morningside: For a city, it’s quite compact. You get around it very easily. Everything you want’s within reach, you can walk to most places. [It has] a bit of culture, a good mix of people coming and going. All year round there’s always a flow of new people coming into the city, it makes it interesting. A good flow keeps it all going.
I like travelling everywhere but I like to come back to Edinburgh. I’ve just got back from China. It was a great trip but it was great to come back and get a Scottish breakfast.
• Fraser Hill, 21, assistant manager, Prestonpans: The transport’s quite good, you do get buses all the time. I will give [Edinburgh] that. When the Fringe is on that’s decent, but at the same time it’s like a giant fishbowl.
Everyone knows everyone, so everyone knows you but you might not know them. Everyone seems to know your own business. I think it’s quite pretentious, that’s why I prefer Glasgow.
If I had the choice I’d rather live in Glasgow but I do think Edinburgh is nicer to look at. It is a really nice city, it’s beautiful.
• Rachael Deas, 20, student, Aberdeen: I like Edinburgh’s nightlife, I like the bars. It’s all very friendly. More friendly than Glasgow. I love that there’s so many different places to eat because I love food. There’s lots of independent places – I like that, it’s not just lots of chains. There’s a lot of independent places, in Aberdeen there’s not.