Train Spotting was on the agenda on the scenic 3 ½ hour journey from Manchester to Scotland’s capital, but would it be like the Trainspotting, the Irvine Welsh book and indie film hit? Today was to be the start of a three day Scottish ‘globe trotting’ adventure that would present a real view of Edinburgh.
About a 100 metres from the train station (that’s 100 metres up the steepest steps… uff!) pushing the doors open I had arrived at my home for the weekend… the new sumptuous boutique hotel … Fraser Suites. I say home, as they aim to offer ‘a home from home’… I’m sure I’d soon find out if they live up to their claim.
Extremely efficient and welcoming reception staff (the have plenty of Scottish charm) introduced me to everything Fraser Suites had to offer the city visitor (perfect for all… whether on business or vacation)… gymnasium, massage and restaurant ‘Rucola’ serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and daytime snacks.
Home … a trendy suite (with separate living room) with chic interior design. Designer furniture galore, plush carpeting, kitchen with hob and divine bathrooms featuring rainfall showers … oh yes… the L’Occitane complimentary bathroom items smelt great. Gazing through the sash windows proudly offered superb views across Princes Street Gardens to the Firth of Forth and beyond.
This 1800s property really does portray a supreme Edinburgh living experience featuring bespoke art commissioned from the Edinburgh College of Art throughout.
Positioned just steps away from the Royal Mile, I was in the historic spine of the city, running from the castle at its highest point to the Palace of Hoyroodhouse (the Queen’s official residence in Scotland) at the bottom. In between enjoying rambling down the cobbled streets there are lots of significant historic sites, cafes and souvenir shops. It’s got plenty of pubs to hide in when the traditional Scottish weather gets too wild, however this weekend, the cafes and bistros were full to the brim with people enjoying the Scottish sunshine. This ‘mile’ is simply un-missable and clearly the only way to move from Hollyroodhouse to the Castle.
Taking a walking tour (where there are many free ones to enjoy) of the Royal Mile really did open my eyes to things I would have normally just passed by. The tour was highly interesting and entertaining and we learned about some of the hidden secrets of the Royal Mile… John Knox’s burial place is in the middle of a car park, and what the heart shaped brick mosaic on the Royal Mile actually signifies (you’ll have to visit yourself to find out…). Sloping down between high sided Scottish stone buildings complete with small windows it seems to be a world apart. It looks so old it conjures images of days gone by and a dungeon or two.
There are quite a lot of detours off the mile. If you are going downhill from the Castle then left you can look over Princes Street and the columns and Greek architecture. On the right you can venture to Grassmarket, Grey Friars Bobby, Cowgate and the Scottish Museum.
When on the Royal Mile be sure to listen for the one o’clock gun which is sounded from the castle ramparts too.
Open top bus tours have become a staple of the European tourist scene and Edinburgh is no exception with its hop on hop off buses. The live guide adds their own personal touch and knowledge so there is always something new to learn, making this a new experience every time. Hear facts and stories about the past and the people who have shaped the capital city. At only £12, the ticket offers 24 hour value enabling you to see the sights with ease.
What a day and what we’ve seen, yet still so much to see in this truly beautiful city. Straight to bed for an early night? I think not….we headed out to catch some comedy and have a few giggles.