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March, 2018

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I have not been to Edinburgh for many years and so imagine my delight when I arrived there recently to find that there is now a tram into the city. Running every few minutes this service is both clean and cheap and takes you directly into the centre of Edinburgh. Somewhat of a controversial development it stops several times before ending up close to the main station along Princes Street.

Getting under the skin of a city is a real way to investigate how it ticks and Edinburgh has plenty of corners that are just waiting to be explored. Away from the tourist hot spots these can often reveal the true character of a place. One of the best places to start your tour of the city is at the Scottish Parliament building. Next door to Holyroodhouse it is a great place to find out more about how Scotland is run. There is an opportunity to explore the debating chamber and investigate more about the history of the parliament . Right next door is the royal residence with its excellent audio tour which looks at the inside workings of the Palace. A visit here is not cheap but it is well worth it as there is plenty to see and do. There is a delightful café on site and a shop. From here you might like to take Queens Drive and follow it round to the lower road and onto the village of Duddingstone and the Sheep Heid Inn. Probably one of the oldest pubs in Scotland dating back to 1360 it has a rich and interesting history. Bonnie Prince Charlie camped near here prior to the battle of Prestonpans and is it is very possible that many of his followers enjoy a drink at the bar. Whilst here you should investigate the bowling alley at also the rear of the restaurant and try out some of the beers .Afterwards you could walk through the village and walkd down onto the main road where you can catch a number 44 back into the city. Fares are cheap and you can get an excellent £4 day ticket. If you are interested in the royal family then you could also take a bus down to Ocean Terminal at Leith to see the royal yacht Britannia to find out more about life onboard. If you are visiting the famous castle make sure to go into the prison where you will find some excellent graffiti dating back several hundred years. Also close by is The Witchery restaurant with its fascinating list of diners from days gone by. At night there are some excellent tours around this part of the city which look at the underbelly of Edinburgh during the 19th century and give you a chance to experiencing life below ground.

Another interesting excursion is to walk along to Dean Bridge and take bells Brae by the side. Suddenly you will find yourself transported back in time to a forgotten age. Follow the road up the hill on the other side of the river and take the path back down to the river on the left go across the bridge and along to the Water of Leith a delightful walk alongside waterfalls and weirs to the suburb of Stockbridge. A trendy part of the city you can then walk back up to Princes Street.

There are plenty of excellent places to eat in Edinburgh including a wonderful teashop above Romanes and Paterson. On your way up stop by the first floor and experience some genuine kilts. There is a wonderful view from the café across to the castle. The food here is wholesome and filling. Other places for an evening meal include Jamie’s Italian in the Assembly Rooms and Badger and Co which lies just behind Princes Street. With links to Wind in the Willows, the game pie is delicious. It is always best to stay in the centre of cities and so I can thoroughly recommend the Royal Scots Club in Abercrombie Place just a short walk from the centre. Sumptuous breakfasts , comfortable beds and friendly staff make it an ideal base.

Edinburgh is a vibrant bubbly city with plenty of life and a great place to spend three or four days.

Godfrey Hall

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