Short Break - Dakota Hotel, South Queensferry, Edinburgh
- Credit: not Archant
Enjoy the best of both worlds on a visit to Edinburgh, by staying outside the city
The vibrancy of Edinburgh attracts visitors all year round, and as within a stroll of Waverley train station you can enjoy ancient heritage, modern culture, fine dining and retail therapy, why stay in the city centre?
By choosing a hotel 10 miles outside we got the best of both worlds: the hustle and bustle of Scotland’s capital and the quieter charms of South Queensferry – and all within an easy 20-minute train ride.
We stayed at the Dakota hotel, a striking modern black building seemingly in the middle of nowhere. But it is in fact handily placed for both the airport and the city, and once inside, the muted colours, subdued lighting and quietly attentive staff make it a relaxing oasis from the real world.
The rooms are compact but comfortable and furnished with a bed, table, chair and hidden wardrobe while the small bathroom offers a powerful shower. Dining is a delight in The Grill, the hotel’s restaurant, where we enjoyed melt-in-the-mouth slow cooked pork belly with black pudding and apples and a succulent steak with capers and hand-cut chips.
Afterwards, stretch your legs with a 10-minute stroll to South Queensferry where there are amazing views of the Firth of Forth and its iconic bridges. There are smart bars too if you fancy a wee dram, or head back to the hotel for a nightcap.
In the morning, a quick taxi ride will take you to Dalmeny station where you can jump on a comfortable ScotRail train that whisks you to Waverley Station. From here, Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline and is a natural magnet for tourists, so book in advance to avoid the queues.
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On leaving the castle, head left for the tranquillity of Princes Street Gardens and beyond that, the plethora of shops there and the surrounding area where you can choose from high street names and upmarket department stores.
A right from the castle will take you to the historic market square of Grassmarket with lively pubs, bars and quirky independent shops. Or walk straight down the Royal Mile to Holyrood House, the Scottish Parliament building and the foot of Arthur’s Seat, the city’s highest hill.
There are plenty of restaurants in the city, but for a quality evening meal head for Wedgwood, a restaurant conveniently situated along the Royal Mile. Booking is a must here, where co-owner and head chef Paul Wedgwood and wife Lisa use the best seasonal produce to create innovative dishes, from seaweed crusted lamb loin to wild Scottish deer to rabbit wrapped in pancetta.
Then it’s back to the ever-busy Waverley and all aboard the train to glide back to the calm of the Dakota.
Dakota Hotel, South Queensferry, www.dakotahotels.co.uk, 0131 319 3690
Wedgwood The Restaurant, www.wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk, 0131 558 8737
ScotRail, www.scotrail.co.uk, 0845 755 0033
Edinburgh Castle, www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk, 0131 225 9846
VisitScotland, www.visitscotland.com, 0845 859 1006