CNNGo TV in Edinburgh: City of ghosts, a great coast and spectacular kilts
We arrived in Edinburgh for this episode of CNNGo TV in the most festive month of the year. But the Scottish capital has a lot to offer year-round.
We discovered the world's largest indoor climbing arena, ghastly night tours and several literary treasures on our tour of the city.
City of the Dead Tours
Edinburgh's underground city is no secret. But when locals want to go to the dark side, they head for the bars and clubs hidden inside the arches of the 18th-century South Bridge.
Not all of the vaults are developed -- and these remain the haunt of ghosts and ghost hunters.
City of the Dead is one of several tour operators intent on terrifying those who dare to go beneath street level.
City of the Dead Tours, 26B Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QE Scotland; www.cityofthedeadtours.com
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Edinburgh International Climbing Arena
It's a wonder how something so big can be so little known outside the Scottish capital.
The EICA near the village of Ratho is the largest indoor climbing arena in the world. Centered around a disused quarry (and offering al fresco climbing too), the facility also features a bouldering zone and an aerial assault course.
Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, South Platt Hill, Newbridge, Edinburgh Scotland; www.eica-ratho.com
Hop on the "Maid of the Forth" ferry under the magnificent Forth Bridge at South Queensferry -- and you'll see why natives are passionate about Edinburgh's coastline and islands.
Inchcolm Abbey contains Scotland's finest monastic ruins and the island is home to seals and seabirds -- including puffins in early summer.
There's also a fantastic view of the city skyline.
Inchcolm Abbey, Inchcolm Island, South Queensferry, Edinburgh Scotland;
More on CNN: 15 romantic European castles
21st Century Kilts
Howie Nicholsby firmly believes in the future of Scotland's national dress -- so much so that he doesn't own trousers.
The designer's Edinburgh store is hidden away from the tartan-dominated Royal Mile. He aims to preserve high standards in kilt-making, while moving the concept forward using materials such as leather and PVC.
The New Town
While tourists flock to the Royal Mile, the castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh's New Town can seem unfairly under-appreciated.
Built to a design by celebrated architect James Craig, the area forms half of the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's Georgian grandeur makes it one of Edinburgh's real estate hotspots.
Jekyll and Hyde. Sherlock Holmes. Peter Pan. Harry Potter. These are just a few of the literary figures with strong Edinburgh connections.
A walk along the length of Infirmary Street in the city's Southside will uncover connections to them all. Allan Foster is an expert on Edinburgh's literary past and present, and runs tours for fans of fiction.