ach time I visit Edinburgh I cram in visits to galleries, museums and visitor attractions.
This time, I wanted to experience a different, more slower-paced side of the city, so where better to base myself than the landmark Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street, where you start to relax as soon as you step into the glamorous reception hall.
Nothing is too much trouble for the staff at the hotel, which started life as a railway hotel – originally you could access it directly from Waverley Station.
Now, liveried doormen – and sometimes a piper – greet you, sweep up your luggage and escort you to the check-in desk.
From here on in, you’re looked after and pampered every step of the way.
Having dropped off our luggage, we left the upmarket hotel and did something probably few other guests have done – caught a public bus from a nearby stop which took us to Dean Village.
It’s long been on my list “hidden” places in Edinburgh visit, and didn’t disappoint.
Under the shadow of Thomas Telford’s classic Dean Bridge lies this magical old-world village that’s postcard-pretty and filled with wonderful old houses and buildings, some of which have been transformed into cool urban spaces.
It’s a green oasis with tubs of flowers and hanging baskets everywhere, along with interesting statues and features such as a neoclassical-style temple pump room, St Bernard’s Well.
The Water of Leith, the city’s main river, flows through Dean Village as it makes its way towards the Port of Leith and the Firth of Forth.
Running alongside it is the signposted Water of Leith Walkway, an established pathway that’s pretty easy to follow and could have you convinced you were in the heart of the countryside rather than in Scotland’s capital city.
It’s handy for reaching venues such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Scottish National Gallery of Modern of to
Shetland mussels in cider, left, and monkfish with wild rice, above
ART DECO PALACE: The Balmoral Hotel is a glamorous and well-known landmark in Edinburgh