Plenty of gaelic charm in this modernised capital

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The Scottish capital is famed for its history and its well-worn tourist trail but it has had something of a makeover in recent years. Now the historic buildings are being turned into trendy bars and boutiques with friendly staff just itching to welcome you inside.

But that doesn’t mean the city has nothing to appeal to every age group, and whether you’re happiest quaffing champagne, enjoying the outdoors or making some furry friends all bases can be covered, just minutes from the city centre.

We made the most of our weekend break. After hopping on the train at Leeds it was a smooth three-hour trip up the country. With drinks, snacks and even complimentary sandwiches and hot meals served to your seat in first class, the time flew by. We arrived in time for a late dinner at Trader’s - one of our hotel’s two restaurants.

A massive bowl of pasta and a couple of glasses of wine later it was a case of collapsing for the night for a bit of R&R before a weekend of exploring the city.

With the sun rising over the snow-covered Pentland hills we tucked into the buffet breakfast and the day was ours to explore.

A quick bus ride into town - the hotel is around 10 minutes away from the city centre - and off we hopped at Princes Street.

It’s one of the longest high street’s you could ever wish to grace but if that doesn’t keep you entertained for long enough, just a stone’s throw away lies the regenerated ultra-modern St Andrew Square housing high-end stores including Harvey Nichols.

We continued our exploration after a filling lunch at The Tempus bar with a meander along the well-worn tourist trail.

If you can deal with slow-walking tourists, the Royal Mile is a sight to behold, look up from the tourist shops and absorb the architecture and beautiful buildings that line the street.

Starting at the top breathe in the history at Edinburgh Castle. Just steps away older visitors can enjoy a wee dram and learn the history of Scotland’s beloved whisky with plenty of time for tasting.

The mile is littered with cafes, pubs and eateries where Scottish favourites like cullenskink can be found by the gallon.

It winds its way down to Arthur’s Seat (something still on my to-do list) and the Scottish Parliament building - uniquely designed and dividing of opinion.

But there’s plenty more to this city than just the majestic mile.

If you’re more likely to be picking up Prada than learning about Rob Roy, you can keep yourself entertained for hours if not days in the shops but be sure to pack some comfy shoes as Edinburgh and it’s cobbled hills are best explored by foot.

For the younger generation there are tales like Greyfriar’s Bobby which have entertained for years.

At the corner of Candlemaker Row and George IV Bridge is a statue dedicated to the brave pooch who showed undying dedication to his owner.

As night fell I swapped flats for heels and decided there was only one way to recover - a slap-up dinner followed by cocktails.

We took ourselves to The Dome, a stunning restaurant serving stunning food on George Street.

After taking a serious calorie-hit thanks to their gorgeous menu we ventured back into the chilly night air.

As any self-confessed cocktail queen knows there’s only one way to warm up. So into Tiger Lillies - a trendy cocktail bar further down George Street - we went.

If I could list the drinks we had I would.

Working my Yorkshire charm to the max, the bar staff became our best friends, knocking up specials made to the strict specification of “gin and fruity”.

The most memorable was the “Death in the Afternoon” a sinister combination of absinth and champagne, which left the rest of the night covered in a green haze.

Several hours later, we peeled ourselves off the bar stools and hazily hailed a cab.

Unfortunately it took until the afternoon of the following day for the excesses of the night to wwear off and peeling my head from the pillow took no small amount of effort.

Luckily there was a ready made tourist attraction next door. The Holiday Inn on Corstorphine Road, is less than a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Zoo. In just a few months two Giant panda’s will join their family and the hotel is expecting a boost in visitors.

It has a cafe, bar and even a swish oriental restaurant. Any hotel bar which stocks my favourite Rioja, is a winner by me. The fact it also had the English football on the big screen made it a double success.

But we decided we needed some peace and quiet so off we went to picturesque Carlton Hill the perfect way to end our weekend break as views reach across the city and over to the Forth Bridge.

I defy anyone not to visit the city and fall in love.

We managed to run out of time to tick several of the big-name attractions off our list which means just one thing - we will need a return visit, just as soon as my waistline can take it.

* Ruth and her guest stayed at the Holiday Inn, Corstorphine Road for two nights. Visit www.holidayinn.com

*Train travel was provided by Cross Country trains. They operate services between Yorkshire and Scotland. Cheap deals to be found via crosscountrytrains.co.uk by booking in advance.