Edinburgh – home of the literature lover

Edinburgh for fans of contemporary literature

Many book lovers plan a pilgrimage to Edinburgh in August, when the Edinburgh International Book Festival takes over the historic Charlotte Square Gardens for three weeks. As one of the world's foremost festivals of writing, the Edinburgh Book Festival hosts over 700 events each year, featuring both established and up-and-coming authors who write for audiences of all ages. With a book shop, café and bar facilities on site, it's a brilliant place for readers to meet their writing heroes and while away a day, and is only a short walk, bus or tram ride from the Premier Inn Princes Street Hotel. Highlights of the 2014 festival include appearances by George R.R. Martin, Haruki Murakami, Diana Gabaldon, Irvine Welsh, Jeremy Paxman and even Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Fans of crime fiction may also wish to head out on a Rebus Tour to explore locations associated with Ian Rankin's best-selling Inspector Rebus novels, while poetry lovers will want to browse the collections at the Scottish Poetry Library and least check out the unique book sculptures that were gifted to cultural institutions in the city throughout 2011.

Go in search of Edinburgh's classic writers

Visit the favourite haunts of Sir Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson and learn more about their relationship with the city by going on the original Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, a light-hearted yet informative romp through the city's storied past, performed by professional actors. The tour starts outside the Beehive Inn in the Grassmarket each evening at 7:30pm during August. You can also learn more about the lives of Scott, Burns and Stevenson at The Writer's Museum in Lady Stair's Close, just off the Royal Mile. Outside the museum is Makars' Court, where the paving stones themselves pay testament to Scotland's literary past with carved quotations from some of the nation's most famous writers, from the 14th century to the present day.  For those interested in both books and Scottish history in general, the National Library of Scotland is worth a visit to peruse their wide-ranging collection. Check out the free exhibitions on display in their building on George IV Bridge – it's located directly in the centre of the Old Town festival action, and is a great place to take some time out and unwind.

Edinburgh literature for children and young adults

Looking to get your budding bookworms more involved with literature during your visit to the Scottish capital? The Edinburgh International Book Festival has an excellent programme of events for children and teenagers running throughout its three weeks, with talks and activities suitable for all ages, plus a designated children's book store where young readers can happily spend ages browsing. The Scottish Storytelling Centre also stages an impressive variety of programming for children, families and adults, both during the Fringe Festival and throughout the year. From retellings of traditional tales such as Red Riding Hood, to modern classics such as The Man Who Planted Trees, there's something to spark the imagination of viewers of all ages. Harry Potter fans should also pay a visit to The Elephant House Café on George IV Bridge, where J.K. Rowling spent time writing the first book in the series. For some real literary magic, take a gander at  The Potter Trail, a guided tour of locations in Edinburgh that inspired many main elements in the series.