Last weekend I enjoyed a much longed for weekend in Edinburgh, capital city of Scotland.
I stayed at the Ibis hotel (Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge) that opened in January 2014 and boasting with 259 rooms in this central location, within a short distance of the main attractions in the city. With this in mind, I knew that I’d have a great chance to really maximise exploration of the city from a local base.
We travelled from London to Edinburgh via MegaBus and arrived in the city around 7.30am – much earlier than the anticipated check in time at the hotel. We planned to take on our first activity by hiking up to Arthur’s Seat, so simply wanted to drop our bags off whilst we passed the time until check in.
The Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge provides centrally located accommodation in the Old Town. After just a 7-10 minute walk from Edinburgh Bus Station to South Bridge, we were greeted by the reception team before we were escorted to the lift to check out our room on the 9th floor.
The first impressions of our room were positive; lots of natural light with plenty of space and a huge Ibis Sweet Bed that dominated the room. The windows overlooked the main road and whilst there was some noise from the road, it wasn’t enough to be a disturbance.
Furnished with a seating area, wardrobe, flat-screen TV, desk, hairdryer and tea and coffee facilities, the room was clean, welcoming and styled to offer maximum comfort.
The rooms at this three star hotel aren’t furnished with a mini-bar, however the hotel does have a 24 hour bar service that provides a selection of drinks, light meals and snacks. This Ibis hotel also has a restaurant – whilst we didn’t try this, it does seem well reviewed in its range of international cuisine.
After checking out the hotel room and collecting a map and directions from the reception team, it was time to get started with the sightseeing.
At the very start of our visit to Edinburgh, we decided to make the ascent to the top of Arthurs Seat, the main peak of the hills that form part of the scenic Holyrood Park.
We truly had the best weather for it; mild temperature, dry weather, clear skies and plenty of locals for company as they were getting their morning exercise. Notably, as we made our climb all 250m to the top, we were stopped by several people offering tips for reaching the peak along our slightly difficult route of choice. It’s a fun and active way to embrace meeting local people whilst getting a good workout with a rewarding 360 view of the city waiting at the top.
In total the climb took around 30 minutes at a steady pace. Take it at your own pace, we had plenty of people overtaking us along the climb!
During the day in Edinburgh, we explored the local sight of Edinburgh Castle which is visible from many points of the city as it dominates the skyline of the city from its position on Castle Rock. The castle is well preserved and is an unmissable attraction in the city; it’s clear to see why the castle acted as a fortress from the its location on volcanic rock. Whilst we didn’t go inside, we ventured close by to enjoy the views and soak up the atmosphere amongst fellow visitors.
Scotch Whisky Experience – “Slàinte Mhath” (translation: “Cheers!”)
Just next to Edinburgh Castle, The Scotch Whisky Experience takes visitors on a journey of discovery into Scotland’s national drink. I enjoyed the silver tour courtesy of the Scotch Whisky Experience but decided to upgrade to the gold tour to get a full sampling experience of whisky; I’d highly recommend upgrading if possible to really make the most of this experience. Read my full Scotch Whisky Experience here.
Chaophraya Thai Fine Dining
No city break is complete without good food, however a chance to try out my all time favourite Thai restaurant (unless I’m in Thailand of course!) remains Chaophraya. As one of the latest additions to the Chaophraya portfolio of restaurants, the location of this restaurant on Castle Street is ideal for showcasing the rooftop restaurant with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle. I’ve been a fan of the Chaophraya brand for around five years now. It’s an unmissable chance to experience the unique fusion of delicious authentic cuisine, luxurious surroundings and a sensational drinks menu in the heart of Edinburgh.
Depending upon the time of year, you may be able to catch Oktoberfest in the city, a fun and lively way to experience German culture in the city. Held over a period of several days, the festival brings German beer, food and music out of Germany.
After a fantastic day out in the city, we returned to the Ibis South Bridge Edinburgh to enjoy a film and a restful evening.
The following morning, we woke with plenty of time to catch the breakfast buffet – a selection of hot and cold food served until 10am. After this time, guests can enjoy a continental breakfast until 12pm with the use of a self-service hot drinks machine. The hot food offered a good selection to suit most tastes and even gave us our first taste of Haggis.
Overall the hotel provides a great place for a short break and would suit travellers there for business or pleasure. The free WiFi works well throughout the hotel and we had no issues with the connection in our room in the top floor.
The hotel is centrally located near all the tourist sites: the Royal Mile is literally a 2-3 mins walk, you can be anywhere within minutes. We walked pretty much everywhere and found it to be the best way to get around the city. Maps are available at the reception area and the staff are all happy to help with directions.
Many thanks to Accor Hotels for their support with my city break to Edinburgh, Scotland.