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May, 2019

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In each of the last two years, my wife and I have enjoyed a Spring break in self-catering accommodation close to Edinburgh. Living in the north-east of England, this was a pleasant drive up the A68, stopping off at Jedburgh for refreshments. Or rather, it was a pleasant drive until the Edinburgh ring road; the last few miles on which accounted for a large part of the total journey time. With no illusions that Edinburgh is a car-friendly city, we planned our accommodation with public transport in mind and this was a very positive experience. During our first stay, we travelled by train into Edinburgh and further afield to Stirling. During our second stay, we were fortunate in having accommodation a short distance from one of the excellent park and ride facilities, with fast and frequent connections to the city centre. The number one tourist attraction in Edinburgh is the castle, which can get extremely busy, with long queues for those who haven’t pre-booked. By contrast, Stirling castle is more relaxed and no less interesting – certainly worth a day trip from Edinburgh. On both visits, we were unable to visit Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh due to its unexpected and previously unannounced closure. We were also disappointed to find much of Waverley Gardens fenced-off due to an impending pop concert. Whilst the main tourist trails were heaving with humanity, we were able to find pleasant and contrasting walks in the old town (south of the Castle) and new town (north of Princes Street). New is a relative term and the new town consists largely of sweeping Georgian terraces with much green space. We also walked up Carlton Hill (north east of the station) for splendid panoramic views of the city. We didn’t make the Royal Yacht Britannia at Leith but did spend an enjoyable day touring the many Outlander locations within an easy car ride of the city. Edinburgh certainly has a lot to offer and we hope to return to chance our luck with Holyrood Palace in the foreseeable future.

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