I recently went up to Edinburgh a few weeks ago for a friend's wedding and took the opportunity to spend a couple of days mooching about as I've never been to Scotland before. It also coincided with the start of the Edinburgh Fringe festival (and tattoo although I didn't go to that), and I managed to pack a lot in to a few days. Came home with aching legs (oh those hills!) and finally got round to writing a report for you all.
I did no planning at all before going other than having a couple of vague ideas in mind.
Travelled up from London by train and paid £15 to upgrade to first class - my first time and Soooo worth it on a long journey. I'm now a first-class convert. The staff were amazing, we got complimentary meals, drinks (including alcoholic ones) and snacks the whole way, along with plenty of space. I was at a nice little table with two seats and no passenger sharing with me. We started off with a full English breakfast with tea served on proper plates/cutlery, then teas/coffees all morning with biscuits and snacks. Lunch (with wine) was a selection of sandwiches, crisps and cakes, followed by more tea and coffee.
Stayed at the Travellodge on Waterloo Place. Cost me about £100 a night for a double room (I was there on my own, but it would have cost the same with two), which I found a bit steep for a Travel Lodge but really I was quite lucky to find anywhere at all during the festival. The hotel was a bit of a curate's egg - 'good in parts'. Actually, the only really good thing was the location. 3 minutes walk from the main train station, and a few minutes walk from the Royal Mile. Other than that, it was ok, acceptable, average, it'll do.
The room was small (comparing to other Travel Lodges) and of course very basic but clean and comfortable. To start with.
I was there 3 nights and the room wasn't cleaned once/restocked and talking to the chap on reception got me nowhere, just a big moan from him about the new cleaner and how the other staff don't talk to him(the receptionist) and blah blah blah, without a word of apology or any action. He was such a dreadful receptionist it became quite funny. He was a nice lad really, just clueless! when I have to go and ask for more tea and milk as my room hadn't been done, I just want you to say sorry and go get me some. Not stand there moaning about your own problems and not moving until i ask you again to fetch me some teabags. Oh, and I was on my third kettle too by the end of the stay, the other two mysteriously stopped working (not from misuse).
But if you can laugh off stuff like that, the location is fantastic!
the hotel was also my first introduction to the wonder of Edinburgh hills and architecture. I was a bit dismayed to be given a room on Level -1. Was I being stuffed in a basement? Would I have a window? In the lift I noticed that the level went down to -3! But my room turned out to have 2 big bay windows and I was about 5 floors above street level at the back. There were only 8 rooms on my floor so that tells you how steep the hills are - the front of the building is at ground level on that street, but then going down a level you still end up far above ground level to the street at the back of the building.
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Short trip to Edinburgh at start of Fringe Festival