Edinburgh is a beautiful city and at Christmas time the atmosphere, twinkling lights and Christmas markets make it the perfect place to visit to get into the festive spirit.
We arrived by train on the Friday evening just two weekends before Christmas and headed straight to our hotel. We were staying at The Place, a four star boutique hotel on York Place, just minutes from Princess Street. The hotel was far nicer than I had expected having booked it on a hotel comparison site for what we later found out was much less than the normal room rate. Our double room was neat but modern with stylish lighting and a skylight controlled by remote. The staff were friendly and helpful and the decor was just right.
Every time we mentioned going to Edinburgh at Christmas time we were asked if we were going to see the Christmas tree at The Dome. Neither of us had stepped foot in The Dome before so we didn’t know what to expect and after a quick dinner at Bella Italia we went in search of what we were told was the most impressive Christmas tree in the city. We weren’t disappointed.
The Dome is one of the most beautifully decorated buildings I have ever seen. I was bowled over by the Christmas decorations and the stunning tree which sits on top of the bar.
On Saturday morning we grabbed a quick breakfast and made our way to the Royal Mile. We wanted to avoid the Christmas markets until it got dark as the stalls looked much more Christmassy at night so to distract ourselves (and stay warm) we decided to visit The Real Mary King’s Close. The Real Mary King’s Close is a warren of streets and tenement houses that were open to the air in the 1600s but are now underground. In the heart of the city they were buried under the Royal Exchange and its fascinating to be able to visit them over 400 years later. A character guide took us on a tour and told us tales of Mary King, plague, ghosts and murders. The Real Mary King’s Close is a unique place to visit and a great way to spend an hour, especially if the Scottish weather is as good as usual! Unfortunately they don’t allow photographs so you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself.
The next thing on our itinerary was the highlight of the trip and something we’ll be talking about for years to come, afternoon tea at the G&V Royal Mile Hotel. Click here to read about the exotic afternoon tea based on the fashion house Missoni.
The sky was getting darker as we emerged full and a little bit tipsy from the G&V Hotel so we made a beeline for the Christmas market. There are three markets in Edinburgh on the run up to Christmas. The European Market, The Scottish Market and one for the kids, a Children’s Market. The centre of the city is turned into a Christmas fun fair with rides, helter skelters, carousels, ice skating rinks, performers and shows.
Our last stop was The Chocolate Lounge in Harvey Nichols where chocolate treats are carried round on a conveyor belt for you to pick what you fancy. They call it a catwalk for chocolate and it’s easy to see why it can be tricky to get a seat. We went at lunchtime on a Sunday and didn’t have to wait although later on a significant queue had formed. Instead of chocolate we decided to have lunch and I treated myself to a glass of prosecco.. well we were on “holiday”!
And of course I couldn’t resist nipping in to John Lewis to meet Monty the penguin…