When I'm in Edinburgh I find the quiet grandeur of the Georgian streets of the New Town an ideal antidote to the hustle and bustle of the Old Town which can start to feel a bit claustrophobic and overwhelming after a while.
If I'm staying in the city, this is the location I prefer to base myself as it is still handy for the main tourist attractions but offers a more local and sedate feel. When I was invited to review 34A Abercromby Street I was keen to check it out as it provides an authentic New Town experience being located in one of the beautiful Georgian terraces.
The apartment is part of The Royal Scots Club which is just a couple of doors along. Founded in 1919 as a tribute to those who fell in The Great War, it also has 27 luxury en-suite rooms in the main building which is run as both a private club and hotel.
Guests renting the apartment can book a table at the restaurant in the main building for a meal if you prefer not to self-cater. Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions during my visit, it wasn't yet open for meals but it would be a nice treat if you fancy a night off from cooking.
I'm always looking for quality Scottish accommodation options that I can recommend to my readers and include in my itinerary planning services. This is especially true for Edinburgh as it is such a popular city and I get asked for recommendations frequently.
It is also important to me that I have personal experience of the places I suggest and I'm really pleased to add 34A Abercromby Place to my list of top places to stay in Edinburgh. It is ideally situated for throwing yourself into everything Scotland's capital has to offer but provides an oasis of calm and luxury when you are ready to retreat from the crowds. It really does offer the best of both worlds which I've often struggled to find in the city centre.
Beware of fortune-telling witches at this otherwise peaceful glamping site in Forres
*I WAS HOSTED AT MACBETH'S HILLOCK IN EXCHANGE FOR THIS REVIEW *
Could this unassuming, tranquil corner of Moray really be the 'blasted heath' where Shakespeare's Macbeth famously met the three witches declaring enigmatic prophecies about his future?
It is certainly in the right part of the country and is frequented by visitors on the trail of Macbeth. Research has shown that it was known as Macbeth's Hillock on a map dating back to 1770 but the truth is we can only surmise about the connection.
However, witches do form a very real part of local history, with records of witchcraft trials and subsequent executions of those found guilty. We now know that these 'witches' were in fact mainly innocent women, and occasionally men, who were persecuted and tortured for crimes often based on superstitious beliefs and fear, rather than real evidence.
With so much history on the doorstep, Macbeth's Hillock makes for an interesting place to stay in an often overlooked part of Scotland. I can also confirm that it ticks all the boxes for a very comfortable accommodation option which is also dog friendly. So what exactly does your glamping pod come with?
Don't forget to pack your sense of adventure for a fun-filled stay at this dog friendly Scottish glamping site
*I WAS HOSTED AT SHEPHERD'S LOCH IN EXCHANGE FOR THIS REVIEW *
Do you remember going on holiday when you were wee? If you were anything like me you spent your days running around outdoors, clambering around playparks, easily establishing holiday friendships, improvising your own adventures and generally revelling in the freedom to explore without the worries and hang ups that come with being a sensible grown up.
Then you did grow up and those carefree childhood vacations became a thing of the past as adult holidays tend to revolve around relaxation rather than fun and play. But what if I told you there is a place you can enjoy it all?
At Shepherd's Loch Glamping Site in Aberdeenshire they actively encourage adults to embrace their inner child while offering plenty of opportunity to unwind or explore, if that is what you prefer.
The first bit of fun comes in choosing which of their unique accommodation options you are going to stay in. Some are already open and some are a work in progress, I already have my eye on the ship's wheelhouse for a future trip. If you're travelling with your four-legged friend then all but the yurt are dog friendly and all options have an open panorama over countryside and water.
I stayed in the 'Otter' which is a charming hobbit like house with lots of quirky details and a large picture window with a view over one of the lochs. The interior is surprisingly spacious with a super comfy double bed and overhead bunk, a sitting/dining area where you can gaze out at the scenery, a toilet, shower and cooking area with a wood fired range and gas stove.
Upcycled pieces like the corrugated shower lining, locally sourced wood, church pew and the cute bedroom window add lots of unique character.
If you had asked me a few weeks ago what there is to do in and around Moffat, my meagre offering would only have extended to the Grey Mare's Tail Nature Reserve and the Woollen Mill, although personally I would give the Woollen Mill a miss unless you enjoy outdated tourist outlets which primarily cater for multiple coach parties.
This is shameful on my part as I pride myself on knowing most parts of Scotland reasonably well and I have travelled pretty extensively around most other areas of Dumfries and Galloway, a region that I have a real soft spot for. However, for some reason Moffat had fallen under my radar until recently. This is despite the fact that I visited frequently as a child and have happy memories of walks among the green, rolling hills. Perhaps more recent memories of coach stops at the aforementioned woollen mill are responsible for not leaving me with a burning desire to return to the town!
Thankfully, I was encouraged to factor Moffat in to my recent travel plans thanks to Susan Barker, who invited me to stay at her lovely Victorian guesthouse, Dell-Mar, (details below) and revisit the town with a fresh local perspective. During my short stay I only managed to scratch the surface of all the things there are to do in Moffat and the surrounding area so will definitely need to return. However, I did fit in quite a few things during my trip and combined with some of the nearby places that I've visited previously, I've put together this list of my recommended things to do which you will be happy to hear now exceeds my previous single suggestion!
Things to do in and around the town of Moffat
EXPLORE MOFFAT TOWN CENTRE
With free parking and a plentiful offering of independent businesses, including shops and cafes, Moffat High Street is a joy to explore. Many of the buildings have retained their historic character which adds to its attractive appeal. Some places of note to look out for as you walk around include Moffat Museum, the famous Moffat Toffee Shop, the Star Hotel (see below for more info) and the Moffat Ram, a bronze sculpture which sits on top of a fountain.
The sculpture was commissioned in 1875 to celebrate the town's long association with sheep farming and the wool trade. The sculptor of the ram was William Brodie who is probably best known for another of his statues, Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh. If you look closely, you will see that the ram has no ears, a mistake that was publicly pointed out at the unveiling ceremony to the rather embarrassed Brodie!
VISIT THE WORLD'S NARROWEST HOTEL
Officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records - The Famous Star Hotel, which dates back to the late 1700s, is the narrowest hotel in the world. It is a mere 20 ft wide although thanks to its height and length it manages to pack in 8 en-suite bedrooms, 2 bars and a restaurant.
The distinctive tall, narrow building is found on the High Street and visiting it is a unique experience that should be on your Scotland bucket-list.
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