5 quiet spots in the midst of the festivals

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Edinburgh, especially during its busiest time of the year in August, is a bustling festival city, with loads happening all around! However, if you want to take it easy, you can also enjoy the festivals in some of the Scottish capital's more peaceful spots.

One of the prettiest festival venues in the city, Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden (above), lies north of the city centre and is a utopia for relaxing. This wonderful floral paradise also hosts FringeArt Festival and Storytelling Festival events, so you won't be too far from a show or exhibition. Aim for an afternoon in the sunshine, find a well positioned bench and gaze south across the city skyline, looking deceptively tranquil in spite of the hundreds of thousands buzzing about on the streets below.

More central, and like something from Grimm’s fairytales, Dean Village is a gorgeous part of the city and conveniently positioned near the Scottish National Galleries of Modern Art for enjoying more work as part of Edinburgh Art Festival. It’s a charming area with cobbled pathways and dainty buildings. Pick yourself a nice spot by the Water of Leith, a gentle stream which bisects the village, and settle down for a peaceful coffee on a sunny day.

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Into Edinburgh's Old Town now, and Dunbar's Close Gardens unexpectedly opens just off the Royal Mile. Just a short downhill walk away from the hubbub of crowds and street performers, this is a favourite haunt of locals in need of a lunch time oasis. Close to Canongate Kirk, about two thirds of the way down the Mile, the gardens are a city centre gem, ideal for finding a few minutes of peace without going far from the heart of Fringe, International Festival and Tattoo activity.

Another escape right in the heart of town is the Old Calton Burial Ground a hidden space of air, light and contemplation. Just a couple of minutes' walk from the hustle and bustle of Princes Street, not to mention Calton hill which has held multiple festival events, including for the FringeEdinburgh's Hogmanay and Edinburgh Art Festival, the graveyard was opened in 1718 and is home to a number of famous Scots including philosopher David Hume and scientist John Playfair. There's also the first statue of Abraham Lincoln ever built outside the USA, and the only commemoration of the American Civil War built beyond the States themselves. 

Finally, why not venture further out to the south and east, over to Doctor Neil’s Garden which has previously featured as a venue for the Storytelling Festival? There’s something truly magical about this spot which lies at the southern foot of Arthur’s Seat and overlooks Duddingston Loch. Owned by Doctors Neil and Nancy Andrew, the award winning garden has been featured in many television programmes and books and press articles. It's a great spot to end a morning roaming over and around the Seat itself and just relax for a while.

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