The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - YOUR WEEKEND -

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

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