We kicked off this week in style, with an overnight stay at one of The Rutland Hotel’s 5-star luxury apartments. Located slap, bang in the middle of Edinburgh’s West End, they make the perfect base for a break in Scotland’s magical capital city. They also happen to be dog friendly – yay.
With the sun shining and keen to make the most of our mini-break, we decided to begin our Edinburgh adventure with a spot of lunch.
A decadent lunch for a Monday
There are no shortage of good, dog-friendly places to eat in Edinburgh. We chose the Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen, a short walk from our West End base.
It felt delightfully decadent enjoying an alcoholic tipple with lunch on a Monday afternoon, while my fellow office workers were only beginning their working week. I’d grafted for a handful of hours, before activating my out of office note and fleeing! I smugly sipped my chilled wine spritzer, knowing my colleagues were still hard at work a short distance away.
The Wee White Dug lurked under our table like the proverbial troll under a bridge. He’s never off duty when it comes to scrounging for scraps. He scored a taste of my cola braised ham hock, and wolfed it down so fast he’d have been hard pushed to tell if it had been braised in cola or irn-bru!
A sunny stroll round town
In Edinburgh a temperature of 12 degrees is all it takes to pack the streets with al-fresco diners. As we wandered through the Grassmarket the bars and restaurants were buzzing with life. Edinburgh is a city, that’s fully embraced the Continental lifestyle, despite not always enjoying a Continental climate.
We meandered up picturesque Victoria Street, stopping to marvel at the towering old buildings and pretty colours.
On Castlehill we spotted a piper playing and stopped to listen for a while. The piper was going down a storm with the tourists, as was the Wee White Dug. Foreign visitors love the boy and always make a big fuss over him. He causes quite a stir at tourist hotspots – a bonnie wee Scottish dug in Scotland. He takes the attention in his stride, and stops to pose for photos in his usual halfhearted manner!
Edinburgh looks stunning in all seasons, but there’s nothing quite like a blue sky to showcase the city looking its best.
Passing the entrance to Paisley Close, I stopped to snap the face of a boy carved in stone. The story of Heave Awa Hoose is one of my favourite Edinburgh stories.
A dilapidated 17th century building once stood on the site. Early one November morning in 1861 it collapsed suddenly, killing 35 people inside. Rescue workers dug frantically, looking for signs of life. Then a voice cried out from the rubble ‘Heave awa lads I’m no deid yet’. It was the voice of 12-year-old Joseph McIvor who had miraculous survived the disaster.
The building that replaced Joseph’s fallen home became known as Heave Awa Hoose. Outside it an ornate lintel featuring Joseph reads ‘Heave awa chaps, I’m no deid yet!’
After a couple of hours spent pounding the pavement and soaking up Edinburgh’s rich history we headed to Princes Street Gardens to rest our tired feet in the leafy haven.
The Scott Monument, a towering gothic space rocket dedicated to Sir Walter Scott looked magnificent. Its soot-stained stonework contrasted beautifully against a backdrop of blue sky and pretty, spring flowers.
The Wee Dug snoozed lazily under the table, appearing every once in a while to chase off any pigeons that dared to stray too close to his territory.
Keen to spend as much time enjoying our luxury pad as possible we decided to check-in.
When we arrived at The Rutland Hotel reception we were greeted warmly and the Wee Dug was fussed over, much to his delight.
We were shown to our ground-floor apartment and given a quick tour. The boy was over the moon to discover a refreshing bowl of water waiting for him.
Located in a Georgian townhouse our apartment was stunning, with high ceilings, ornate cornicing and huge fireplaces. The decor was a tasteful mix of traditional, with a modern twist. It complimented the original period feature beautifully.
Despite having a fancy hi-tech oven at our disposal, we opted for a lazy dinner of take-away pizza from the local Pizza Express. Feeling like celebrities in our swanky apartment, we washed our pizza down with cute little bottles of fizz – ah, the good life.
For those visiting without a four-legged friend and wishing to avoid cooking, or dining on take-away pizza there’s Kyloe, The Rutland Hotel’s steak restaurant and grill which boasts amazing views of Edinburgh Castle.
Underneath Kyloe is The Huxley, which serves bar meals and does a mean cocktail.
Better still (there’s a pun in that), below The Huxley is the Heads and Tales Bar, a fabulously, quirky gin bar and home of the wonderful Edinburgh Gin. In the bar live two gin still, affectionately named Flora and Caledonia.
Scottish gin is unbelievably good, and in my opinion it’s a World leader. A few years ago on Islay, I almost laughed out loud when it was suggested that Islay’s own island gin The Botanist was better than Bombay Sapphire. The smirk was soon wiped off my face when I tried it. I’ve never looked back, only Scottish gin will do these days.
Watching the sunset
Later, as it was still lovely and bright outside we decided to make the boy’s last walk of the day a spectacular one.
Outside, Edinburgh was bathed in the warm, amber hue of golden hour. The distinctive fiery glow that envelops the city usually predicts the imminent arrival of a spectacular sunset.
The castle, Ramsay Garden and Sir Walter Scott were glowing as we passed en-route to Edinburgh’s finest sunset watching spot – Calton Hill.
There was something lovely, and innocent about the atmosphere on Calton Hill that night. The mood was calm and everyone seemed happy. In a fast-paced World it was nice to feel part of something as simple as enjoying a sunset with a group of strangers.
Edinburgh didn’t let us down either – we were treated to an absolute wowser of a sunset.
The Wee Dug found himself a cozy spot in the bedroom by a colourful chair and was soon out like a light. After a long day of sunshine, fresh air and walking we weren’t too far behind him.
Dog friendly Edinburgh
A city may not seem like the obvious choice for a dog friendly break, but Edinburgh’s different.
Many Edinburgh hotels, restaurants, shops and bars welcome dogs. There are lots of lovely parks to enjoy and beaches too, and although dogs aren’t welcome inside Edinburgh Castle, the well-preserved medieval ruins of Craigmillar Castle are dog friendly.
On a Sunday afternoon you can enjoy scrumptious street food and browse the stalls at Stockbridge Market – the list of dog friendly things to do in Edinburgh is endless.
With the prospect of another sunny day to spend exploring ahead of us, it was time for some breakfast to set us up for the day. First things first though, the boy had some shopping to do.
House of Hound, a short hop from Edinburgh’s West End is like Harvey Nics for dogs – stocking only the finest foods, collars, toys and nic-naks for pampered pooches. The boy loves it there and is always excited to visit. He left, the proud owner of a new stuffed pheasant and squeaky green frog!
Shopping done for the day we enjoyed a good breakfast in the sunny conservatory of Cafe Tartine in Leith’s fashionable Shore area, before heading to our favourite day trip destination – sunny East Lothian.
After a fun-packed day out, which consisted of a visit to the National Museum of Flight (blog to follow separately), a very nice lunch at Merryhatton Garden Centre and a walk on North Berwick beach we headed home, tired and happy.
I’d like to finish by thanking The Rutland Hotel & Luxury Apartments for very kindly hosting us. Although, our stay was on a complimentary basis, all opinions, musings and information contained within this blog are accurate and entirely my own.
Until next time ………..