I spent a week in Redford Barracks in September 2009. Turn left out of the main gate and head towards the small collection of shops

and the pub - adjacent , you will find and unassuming Scottish restaurant - had a very pleasant and alcoholic supper with a few Army

friends - local, well cooked produce and very Army friendly.

Bar Napoli just off George St is a bustling Italian place which needs pre-booking - try the excellent lasagne.

If you are a member of a Club with reciprocal arrangements with the New Club in Princes St, do visit and enjoy a glass of the

excellent house white overlooking the Castle. We also enjoyed some first rate cooking and service.

View from the balcony of the New Club towards the city

View of the hills to the south of the city

I've just returned from a weekend in Edinburgh (Dec '09). Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express (300 Cowgate, 2 min walk from Royal Mile) which was very reasonable and booked through Easyjet hotels on a special discounted rate.
A self-serve continental breakfast was 7-10am, but could be arranged for earlier if needed. Hotel staff very friendly and willing to help, printing boarding passes etc. Bags were easily stored before and after check in.

Very welcoming, as I came through arrivals a member of staff was saying goodmorning welcome to Edinburgh, a stark constrast to Gatwick! Large Costa, as you go through arrivals plenty of seats to wait for friends on different flights.

Take the express coach, £7rtn to the city centre and this runs every 10 mins or so. Very quick and reliable, didn't get stuck in traffic either way. Final stop is Waverly Bridge and from here a 10min walk to the hotel.

The Castle
Allow plenty of time to explore the castle, start walking up the Royal Mile and you're there before you know it. The one o'clock gun is fired every day except sundays (when we went) and Christmas Day. A few gift shops dotted around so none are packed and in the main one there was free haggis being served, great to try if you're not brave enough to order in a restaurant. Lunch in the Redcoat cafe was fine and not too expensive, we went into a couple of the museums (mainly to warm up!) but these were very interesting. Entrance fee £11 was worth it, more if you want the audiogude and guide book.

Take a bus tour, the tickets last 24hr so you can jump on and off as many times as you wish. Do this on day one, good way to get your bearings and learn a bit of history too. Wrap up well though!

Try a ghost tour too. Lots of stands along the Royal Mile, we went with the one near Starbucks. £7 for an hour and a half. Went through into the vaults under the South Bridge and were told lots of spooky stories and lots of history too. Well worth it for this even if you're not keen on the ghost part!

Edinburgh seems to be Italian restaurant city with plenty of independant places to try.
We ate at Gennaro (64 Grassmarket) on Saturday night. We hadn't booked anywhere and it was a struggle to find somewhere. This was their last table. Food very good, house white most enjoyable and service excellent.

Booked Bar Napoli for Sunday night on recommendation from a friend, excellent mussels and their signature dish from the main course menu was v good. Large portions and service good but not tip worthy, two large parties were in at the same time. Would return to both Italians for quality of the food.

Had good bar snacks at lunchtime in the bar/restaurant in the old Scotsman building on the North Bridge. Be specific that you just want bar snacks otherwise you end up waiting ages for a table and the wrong menu!

Excellent lunch at Miros Cantina (184 Rose Street). Very friendly staff, we booked but didn't need to as lunchtime, but imagine would be packed in the evening. Dishes arrive on tiny plates but are actually huge. Very reasonable, would definatly return and recommend.

Try ice-skating on the rink near the royal mile in Edinburghs Christmas Wonderland, and have a look round the German Market. Don't go after lunch though, very disappointing if you are too full to try the crepes and other delicious local foods.

Would I return? Definatly, but when it's warmer!!

Try the Allan Ramsay Hotel in Carlops EH26 9NF - truly outstanding food in a traditional and welcoming pub - rooms available.

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