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April, 2016

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Edinburgh is perfect for a weekend break. We travelled via train to Waverley station, which is right in the heart of the city. We used our senior rail cards and booked in advance to get the best price. (Make sure you reserve your seats though because the trains are busy)

We stayed at the Mercure hotel on Princes Street – the ideal place to stay for great panoramic views from the windows. (When booking ask for a room at the front) The hotel is fine for those with disabilities as there is a stair lift on the steps up from the street.The restaurant has a good range of food for a buffet breakfast with large windows looking out from the tables.

Princes Street only has buildings on one side so there is an unrestricted view across parkland, with its banks of daffodils, to the majestic buildings and monuments beyond. No cars are allowed down the street only buses and taxis. There are also the new trams, which go to the airport. The city itself is compact enough to walk around, so you only need transport if you want to travel further afield.

There are plenty of places to eat and drink throughout the city. A good place for afternoon tea is Jenner’s department store with a view of the Scott monument. There is a good range of shops throughout the city and you could never forget you were in Scotland as there are tartans and bagpipes everywhere! For some nice speciality shops go to Victoria Street by Grassmarket.

We picked up a handy guide in the hotel foyer, which included a useful city map showing all the “must see” places to visit. Just a warning though – we has our senior moment when looking for the Council Museum and Art Gallery and wondering why it was only a statue. It turned out there were four “No.9s” on the map. These also referred to “monuments”, which we discovered after putting on our reading glasses!
We particularly enjoyed the two National Trust properties. Gladstones Land is in the heart of the Old Town at Lawnmarket. It is not particularly well signposted so look for the golden eagle above the door. It is a 17th century six-storey high tenement showing an insight into the life of a merchant and his other tenants.

The second property we visited was the Georgian House at 7 Charlotte Square in the New Town, which was designed by Robert Adam. The interior has a fine collection of period furniture, porcelain and silver. Bute House next door is the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland.

Other places not to be missed are the Camera Obscura. the Castle, the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood House, the Writer’s Museum, the Scotch Whisky Experience, the Royal Yacht Britannia and all the other museums and galleries. We found that a short weekend was simply not long enough to see everything. So, “Will ye no come back again?” We will.


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