WHEN I heard bagpipes, spotted tweed-wearing locals and was offered a glass of whisky all within five minutes of leaving the station in Edinburgh, half my “to do” list was ticked off already.
And the rest of the four-day weekend with my fiance Johnny exceeded all expectations.
It got off to a great start with our hotel literally across the road from Edinburgh Waverley station.
The new Market Street Hotel blends Old Town character with contemporary design. The rooms are spacious with white oak and textured stone alongside custom-made furniture.
The bathrooms boast rainfall showers and all rooms have Dyson hairdryers and GHD straighteners as well as a free minibar.
We enjoyed a welcome drink in the Nor Loft rooftop bar with stunning views of the city. Then it was off to Edinburgh Castle, a 15-minute walk through the famous Royal Mile.
It is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels and the National War Museum.
Next was the Scotch Whisky Experience – a bar, museum and theme park ride in one. Tours and tastings start from £17pp and go up to £70pp.
Wobbling out, we had one thing on our mind: Food.
The Kilted Lobster, a fish restaurant slightly north of the Old Town, might look modest from the outside yet the menu is anything but. The calamari was incredible, followed by wild halibut and finished off with a naughty white chocolate cheesecake. This place set the tone for all the food we ate in Edinburgh.
At the trendy Devil’s Advocate bar and restaurant we had excellent steaks and cocktails, while a lunchtime stop off at OINK! – Edinburgh’s no-frills pork and haggis bun joint – rivals any hog roast.
After spending a few days in the city, we took a hike up extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat, which provides breathtaking views of Edinburgh.
We couldn’t leave without yet more alcohol, this time in the form of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery tour. Our guide took us through the distillery and finally the tasting cellar for a tot or two.
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Also to be ticked off the list was a visit to Victoria Street – where JK Rowling wrote many of the Harry Potter novels.
Instead of rushing to catch an early train we boarded the late night Caledonian Sleeper back to London.
In our own cabin complete, with bunk beds and an en suite, we fell asleep in Scotland and woke up in London seven hours later – refreshed but rather sad at the lack of bagpipes.
GETTING THERE: Single berths on the Caledonian Sleeper train to London cost from £75 one way. See sleeper.scot.
STAYING THERE: Double rooms at the Market Street Hotel are from £150pn, including full Scottish breakfast and a glass of champagne. See marketstreethotel.co.uk
MORE INFO: See visitscotland.com.
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