Gillian Gray takes a trip to Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh
First of all, I’ve a confession to make. Despite being of good Scottish stock, I just don’t like whisky.
So, you may think that a trip to Scotland’s capital, including a tour round a whisky museum, might be wasted on the likes of me.
However, I can confirm, that even for those of us who prefer the taste of juniper in our tipple, both museum and the city itself are well worth the trip.
Edinburgh is a beautiful and accessible place.
Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of the main city centre street, Princess Street.
The castle looms over the capital and provides a terrific day out in itself – particulary if you are there for 1pm when the cannon is fired daily.
Top tip... don’t get too close or you’ll feel the effects in your ears for a few hours.
The whisky museum, close to the castle on the Royal Mile, is an amazing place.
Apart from the funfair-style ride in a whisky barrel (who could resist that?) and then a tasting lesson (the other half was on hand to take care of the drink itself), the highlight is the incredible collection of thousands of rare whiskies enclosed in glass cases.
All the bottles are backlit, making for a wonderfully atmospheric place. The whisky lovers, other half included, were agog. So much so that I was persuaded to buy him a bottle of ‘special stuff’ in the shop. We were staying a short walk from Princess Street, in a lovely hotel, the Royal Scots Club.
As the name suggests, this is a private members’ club – now open to non-members – situated in one of the city’s finest Georgian streets, and is the home of the regimental club.
It claims to have the charm of a country house hotel with a cosy club atmosphere. I couldn’t have put it better. The staff are friendly and helpful, the food tasty and public and private rooms are excellent.
Several of the regiment arrived in full dress uniform on the first night of our visit for a regimental dinner, complete with bagpipes.
We were trying to fit as much as possible into our short break and the Camera Obscura museum had also been recommended.
Not only is this a great place to take the children, it brings out the kid in us all. Mirrors which change your shape, rooms which can make you appear 8ft or 3ft tall and, scariest of all, the giant vortex tunnel which makes you feel as though you are upside down.
The museum markets itself as a world of illusions for all the family. We four adults were engrossed for hours.
In fact it was only the call of a drink down Edinburgh’s famous Rose Street which dragged us out of there.
Rose Street, also known as The Amber Mile, has more bars per yard than any other street in the capital.
It was just the place to relax and reflect on the delights of the city – and discuss plans for another visit over the border.