Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The moment you step off the train, the excitement is palpable and the atmosphere electric. I'm only 4 and a half hours from London, and the language is still English (just!), but Edinburgh during festival season is as rewarding as any other European capital.
For 3 weeks a year, Edinburgh becomes a frenzy of noise, comedy, theatre and debauchery as the Fringe and Comedy Festivals provide tens of thousands of performers with the opportunity to put on their shows. Walking along the Royal Mile, flyers are thrust into your hand by people dancing, singing, or in fancy dress in an attempt to grab your attention. There's around 2500 different shows on, so by the time you reach Edinburgh Castle you'll have a rainforest's worth of flyers. Pick up the Scotsman or 3 Weeks to find out which one are worth seeing.
With your appetite stimulated by thespian brilliance, wander down to Greenmarket to grab a bite to eat at one of the cafes. And to quench your thirst, stop for a cocktail at the brilliant Villager on George IV Bridge. Finish off your night at The Caves on Niddry Street: they're only open during the Festival or for special events, but its a great place for dancing the night away till dawn lights up Arthur's Seat - a great aventure for spectacular views as the sun comes up.
I travelled from London to Edinburgh by rail with East Coast Trains: advance return fares, booked online, start from £33 Standard Class or £95 First Class: book via www.eastcoast.co.uk, call 08457 225225 or visit any staffed station.