When you are looking for a home from home with the added benefit of some of the amenities provided on a hotel stay, a serviced apartment ticks all the boxes. On my recent visit to Edinburgh I was invited to stay at the Princes Street Suites, award winning serviced apartments in the centre of the city. When I recommend accommodation on my blog it is because I think it offers something special or unique, and for me these apartments provided the best views of the city out of all the places I have stayed at in Edinburgh previously and are reason enough to book.
Although I was lucky enough to stay in the Penthouse which has the most amazing vistas, you don't have to book the top floor to enjoy the 360 degree perfect panoramas of Edinburgh as all guests have access to the roof terrace which provides stunning views from Arthur's Seat to the Castle and Calton Hill in the other direction.
Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland located in the Eastern Scottish lowlands, built on the remains of an extinct volcano, this historic city is packed with attractions making it a great destination of culture perfect for a long weekend break. In the evening you will find plenty of bars and restaurants to sample the local Scottish produce and mingle with the locals in this beautiful city. Make the most of your visit to Edinburgh, with this guide to 5 top things to see and do when in Edinburgh.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle has been guarding the city for over 900 years, a beautifully maintained castle dominating the city’s skyline from the peak of an extinct volcano. Home to important national symbols of Scotland such as; the crown jewels, the stone of destiny and the medieval siege cannon Mons Meg. Take the guided tour at no extra cost, with guides both knowledgeable and funny helping to give a brief historical overview and then you are free to roam the grounds at your own leisure.
Top tip: Plan your visit around 1pm and witness the one o’clock gun being fired, takes place each day except on Sundays.
2. National Museum of Scotland
This is a superb place to visit in Edinburgh. Conveniently situated in the old town, easily accessible off the tourist bus routes and it is free to enter. The building itself is amazing and the displays are varied, a great opportunity to learn some of Scotland’s history. If you have been to Edinburgh Castle first then the Museum will help add more to the story.
Top Tip: Go to the outdoor viewing area on level 7 for fantastic views over Edinburgh.
3. Fringe Festival
If you are visiting Edinburgh during August then you are in for a treat, as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is held over 3 weeks in August. The largest arts festival in the world with thousands of performers taking to stages across Edinburgh, there is something for all tastes from comedy, to dance and children’s shows. With an open access policy, the fringe will include anyone in their programme with a story to tell and a venue to host them.
Top Tip: If you are visiting during the festival download the event programme and plan what acts you want to see.
4. Princes Street Shopping
Edinburgh has many options of places to shop in, from shopping centres to boutiques. It is along Princes Street that the main department stores are to be found, we recommend you enjoy this shopping experience at a leisurely pace. Take your time and enjoy the many other alternatives to shopping along its length including the Scott Monument and the National Galleries of Scotland.
Top Tip: Take a break from the shops with a stop at Princes Street Gardens with its unusual floral clock.
5. Arthur's Seat
With amazing views to enjoy at the end of your walk/climb, Arthur’s Seat sits proudly to the south and east of Edinburgh, a reminder of the hotbed of volcanic activity that Edinburgh once was. It is well worth the effort to make the climb; the Scottish Parliament sits at your feet to the north along with the Queen’s residence in Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace. Apart from the views at the top there are ruins and ponds to enjoy along the way.
Top Tip: Go early morning and watch the morning sunrise over Edinburgh.
As in most major cities, Edinburgh has a wide range of accommodation on offer to suit all needs and requirements from luxurious boutique spa hotels to the budget chain hotels as well of course the local B&Bs, you can find some great deals on websites like Expedia and of course visit review sites like TripAdvisor when planning your next visit to Edinburgh.
This post is a collaboration with Expedia. Thanks to them for providing these excellent suggestions of top things to do in Edinburgh which I also highly recommend and feel free to share your own top tips for things to see and do in the city!
Have you ever wondered how Scotch whisky is actually made? Malt whisky is one of the iconic brands associated with Scotland and provides a great contribution to the economy. If you have ever wondered how it is made, the process is fairly simple although the factors that provide the variation in the taste of the final product are a little more complex.
The history and future of Scotch whisky is a fascinating one, however this guide is only designed to provide a basic understanding of the making of this globally recognised product. There is a wealth of information out there if you want to find out more or visit one of the many distilleries up and down the country that provide tours behind the scenes.
Where the magic happens! There are currently over 100 whisky distilleries in Scotland and the country is divided into 6 whisky regions with each region having general distinctive characteristics in flavour although there are exceptions. The main regions are Campbeltown, Islay, Lowlands, Highlands. Speyside and the Islands.
Believe it or not, there are only ever 3 ingredients that make up single malt Scotch whisky, malted barley, water and yeast. The variations in flavour are down to the production process and the skill of the Master Distiller
The first step of the process is called malting. Barley is soaked in water and then the seeds are allowed to germinate, during germination enzymes turn the starch within the barley into soluble sugars. Germination is stopped by drying the barley in a kiln oven and peat might be burned at this stage to give the distinctive smoky flavour found in some whiskies.
Only a handful of distilleries in Scotland still have malting floors, where the barley grains are spread out and turned by hand as they dry out and germinate, most distilleries now use drying drums.
On my recent Whisky Tour of Islay with Scottish Routes, I was lucky enough to stay at The Bowmore House on Islay, one of their regular accommodation providers for the tour.
I must that initially I had no plans to do a whole review about my stay here as I was going to include a short bit in the review of the tour itself, however I was so impressed I left wanting to share this gem with anyone thinking about a trip to the island. Not planning a proper review meant that I didn't do my usual photography tour of the rooms prior to messing up the beds and dumping my bags. It meant I didn't take images of my food and every little detail that made my stay here so special, a lesson learned on my part. Although I may not have the photos to back up my review on this occasion I hope that you will realise that the very fact I am telling you about this great place despite not setting out to do a review will convince you even more of how much I rate it!
I did fortunately take a few snaps on my phone and although not the best quality they still allow me to share a few images from my stay.
From the first moment our group wearily walked through the door we were warmly welcomed by our hosts, Andrew and Alison who couldn't be more helpful through out our stay. The main house has a relaxed, homely feel with five en-suite bedrooms. I stayed in the refurbished Fisherman's Cottage which is less than a 30 second walk away and is tucked around the corner off the main street.
The cottage has three bedrooms, 2 en-suite and 1 with a private bathroom. The bonus of staying here is the self catering facilities, including a large sitting room and well equipped, spacious kitchen which really felt like a home from home.
The cottage is available for B&B stays or as a self catering option and I highly recommend either. Tastefully decorated with great attention to detail and every convenience you could need, I really wish I had more time to enjoy relaxing here!
Now there are 2 crucial things to rating a bed and breakfast, the bed and the breakfast, obviously! I can confirm the bed was HUGE and super comfy and the breakfast was also HUGE and super tasty. Andrew and Alison are not only excellent hosts but also excellent cooks. Local produce, great variety and a warm welcome would be good enough for me to recommend a place, however Andrew and Alison go above and beyond in every area of their business, from their own branded mugs to a breakfast dram, they really do think of everything.
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