I visited Edinburgh for the first time last year. I can honestly say that after years of visiting much of what I considered the world's great cities, I was blown away. It is not Paris, it is not Rome, it is Edinburgh. I was immediately enchanted. This is an architect's city and a city planner's learning center. The buses and trains run quickly and on time. There's no need for a car and the fewer the better. This is a city of beautiful Georgian and Victorian homes and buildings.
It is green, wet, hospitable, old and completely new. I wandered the Royal Mile where every corner is worth a picture, recounting the steps of Robert the Bruce and Queen Mary and yet it embraces the new and needed functions of a city that wants and welcomes outsiders seeking to explore its charms. I stayed just out of the city centre of Princes Street at the charming small Channing's Hotel off Queensferry Road. Channing's usually gets a three star rating, but if your a veteran traveler its a four plus. It's small quiet, peculiar and just the kind of place I love. There's no Hilton, Sheraton corporate personality here. It's a pure welcome to Edinburgh and a "here's what we are atmosphere." The downstairs bar, earnestly trying for that trendy look; instead found me quietly chatting with the bartender and guests about our day's adventures while Old Joe from down the street walked in with his two beloved but worn in the tooth springer spaniels. Without a request, a good glass of Scottish whiskey was poured and all three settled into a corner seat for a bit of fortification. I loved it and the staff were great for such a small enterprise.
Buses run at most five minutes apart on Queensferry Road, into town, which is walking distance from Channings and is the best way to get around town.
Now of course there are a some truly great Hotels in Edinburgh. If your budget allows for extreme comfort and true Scottish hospitality, I've picked two,to keep in mind if your lucky enough to visit this charming city. The first being, The Balmoral and the second being The Howard. Either will be a first class visit.
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