Edinburgh city break: Spend a weekend exploring Scotland's lively capital
- Credit: PA
Emma Bartholomew explores Edinburgh - the lively city that sits on the shoulder of an extinct volcano - and stays at the swish Eden Locke aparthotel in the heart of town.
TV cameras were lining the tracks at Kings Cross when we turned up to catch the train to Edinburgh on the day Lumo's low-cost service launched.
The smart blue train offers a Eurostar style experience, with novelties like free films streamed via its onboard app.
Watching Charlie's Angels certainly made the four-and-a-half hour journey to Edinburgh Waverley station fly by.
What's more, fares are a bargain too, with a one-way ticket costing for a maximum of £19.90 if booked at least a day in advance. With a railcard I managed to bag mine for even less.
When you embark at Waverley station and into Princes Street Gardens, you can either head north to the medieval part of the city, or southbound towards the neo-classical New Town.
We took the latter, with our destination the Eden Locke aparthotel in George Street - just a 10-minute walk away.
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Set behind a grand Georgian façade, it's part of the Locke chain.
Its concept blends a serviced apartment with a boutique hotel and it boasts other properties in Whitechapel, Dalston, Manchester, Dublin and Munich.
While hotels generally offer restaurants, gyms and round-the-clock service, the rooms can sometimes be small.
At Eden Locke the apartments are roomy - an average of 30sqm - and for those away from home for more than a few nights, they provide a base that's more homely and spacious than a boutique hotel.
But unlike serviced apartments, here you will find the types of facilities and services you might find in a hotel that help make you feel pampered, and which make your stay special. At Eden Locke you get one free yoga class a week at the Calm studio in Canning Street.
New York architect’s Grzywinski+Pons’ design is reminiscent of Dalston chic, with lush, leafy plants and a tropical, powdery colour palette.
It's clear that every little detail - from the blinds to the plug sockets to the kitchen utensils – is planned and considered.
The furnishings are soft and soothing on the eye, and include Locke's signature L-shaped sofa. Here you will find a fully-equipped kitchen to cook in if you don’t fancy eating out, plus a Smart TV and Apple box.
The tranquil Mayvn café through which you enter the block offers the likes of beetroot lattes, and freshly baked pastries.
Its hipster-influenced breakfast menu puts a fresh spin on the usual offerings. There is smashed peas on toast with feta and a soft-boiled egg, or spiced poached apples, almonds and caramel drizzle.
Eden Locke hosts a series of cultural programmes throughout the week, which guests are invited to attend.
A calendar of events includes a ghost walk every night of the week, meeting at the Royal Mile.
The famous street is a 10-minute walk away in the Old Town.
Littered with cozy pubs, wool shops and historical monuments, here you will find gothic buildings perched on winding cobbled medieval streets, and plenty of narrow alleyways to explore.
Edinburgh has a litany of festivals, art shows and theatre performances throughout the year from Burns Night in January, the Fringe Festival in August and Hogmanay, the city's legendary street New Year’s street party.
There's also Whisky tasting, Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle to keep you amused, plus the multitude of iconic bars and restaurants to try - and don’t forget the haggis.
One of our favourite pubs, just around the corner from Eden Locke is run by craft beer brewery Fierce, where I'm a huge fan of the rhubarb beer on tap.
Our favourite brunch spot was Urban Angel in Hanover Street, where we loved the eggs Benedict with chorizo so much, we returned for more.
Easy to access from London, especially with the new Lumo service, Edinburgh is the perfect city for those looking to spend a few days shopping and dining.
A stay at Eden Locke costs from £104 per night.