REVIEW: The magic of Edinburgh at ChristmasÂ

The historic and beautiful city of Edinburgh is a destination I have wanted to visit for some time now, so when better than the run-up Christmas to make the trip for the first time?

By The Newsroom
Friday, 21 December, 2018, 17:55
Edinburgh really is magical at Christmas

We were lucky enough to stay in the Haymarket Hub Hotel, which couldn't be closer to Haymarket train station and tram links to many parts of the city. 

The rooms aren't massive, but we found the double room worked just fine for two people on a mini-break. 

A view of Edinburgh's incredible Christmas markets in Princes Street. Picture: Tim Edgeler

The bed was extremely comfortable, and the room also comes with a Sky enabled television, an en-suite, complete with White Company toiletries. 

And the most unique thing about the hotel is that each room offers a smart phone loaded with apps that you can use to guide you through the best tourist attractions the city has to offer. 

The phone can also be used to make calls, which is an added bonus for anyone worried about using up minutes on their phone plan. 

After travelling up to Edinburgh on the train, we quickly checked-in to the hotel, which really couldn't have been more conveniently located,  and headed out for a night on the town. 

To get ourselves into the festive spirit we headed to the magical Silent Light in George Street, which combines an impressive display of over 60,000 lights with a festive silent disco, playing a brilliant variety of everyone's favourite Christmas songs. 

Unfortunately on the night we visited it was a little rainy, but that certainly didn't dampen the spirits of the people who attended, which included families dancing away in Christmas jumpers; groups of friends getting into the festive spirit with a glass of mulled wine; and people taking a break from their Christmas shopping to have a little boogie under arches of beautiful lights that twinkled in time to the music. 

We went to the beautiful Victorian era Kenilworth pub in Rose Street for a pre-dinner drink. 

With high ceilings, an ornate dark-wood bar, and gorgeous tiling, it made for a most pleasant location to stop for a drink, and the friendly staff were more than happy to recommend the best from their varied beer selection. 

A taste of what's on offer at the Haymarket Hub hotel. Picture: Fraser Price

From there, we went to the glorious Tuk Tuk in Leven Street, which specialises in small plates of Indian street food for dinner.  

The restaurant, which combines modern, stripped back decor with vintage Bollywood posters, was bustling when we arrived, and in spite of how busy there were we received excellent service from the attentive and friendly staff there. 

Tuk Tuk offered a mix of new takes on old familiar British Indian restaurant dishes and a few more pan-Asian fusion dishes, freshly cooked, and despite having a BYOB policy, has the atmosphere of a bar. 

We shared poppadoms and dips to start, before moving on to select some plates of delicious street food, of which there was a truly excellent vegetarian selection, which pleased veggie-me greatly!  

The Haymarket Hub Hotel is conveniently located opposite Edinburgh's Haymarket train station

Unless you're having one of their larger dishes, the restaurant recommends having three or four of their small plates. 

My dining companion started with the shell-on king prawns for his starter and plumped for the fiery mixed grill for his main, boasting a variety of a different meats, which he described as being extremely tasty. 

The dishes I selected were: the Dahi Kachori, crispy puri filled with a number of stuffings, chilled yoghurt and chutneys; sag paneer, which is spinach cooked with home-made cottage cheese cubes; Tak Tak's signature black lentil curry, Daal Makhni, which is cooked for 24 hours and a peshwari naan. 

The food was mouth-wateringly delicious, and we had a brilliant time enjoying the excellent food and atmosphere at Tuk Tuk. 

On our second day, we went to check out Edinburgh's incredible Christmas markets, which you can find on Princes Street Gardens. There are plenty of independent traders and gorgeous food and drink to sample - it'd have been rude not to!

While there, we went up in the Forth 1 wheel, which gave us unrivalled views of the city in a weather enclosed pod that can fit up to six people in it. 

The tasteful interior of Wedgwood: The restaurant. Picture: Paul Zanre

We then went for a wander around the famous Royal Mile, before heading up to the historic fortress of Edinburgh, which dates back to the Iron Age and dominates the city's skyline. 

After a pleasant afternoon looking around the fantastic collections at the National Museum of Scotland in Chamber Street, we headed for dinner at Wedgwood: the restaurant. 

The Michelin starred bistro offered modern, innovative cuisine in an intimate setting that worked well for a meal for two, but would be equally appropriate for a larger group. 

My dining companion chose the expertly-cooked fresh scallops in a lightly curry-spiced sauce to start, opting for the Grey mullet with warm purple potato and crab salad, fennel, leek and fennel oil. 

He described it as being beautifully cooked with salty crispy skin and melting fish. 

For desert, he opted for the artfully presented Black sesame panna cotta with caramelised banana, seaweed caramel and brown butter ice cream. 

I started with the flavoursome Mill of Kintyre, which looked incredible and tasted even better. For my main I chose the potato gnocci, which was cooked to perfection and tasted sublime, and had the exquisite pistachio frangepone for my dessert. 

And to drink, we paired our food with a bottle of the divine Villa Wolf 2016 Pinot Noir.

We received excellent and attentive service at the restaurant, which was opened by TV chef Paul Wedgwood over a decade ago, and I truly cannot recommend it enough. 

We rounded off the night, and the trip, with the seasonal spectacular, Le Clique Noel, and immensely enjoyed the performances from the talented fire eater, Heather Holliday, and the incredible live band. 

The show offered a great night out, and I'd definitely recommend it. 

Silent Light runs until December 29; Le Clique Noel will be in Edinburgh until January 5 next year, as will the Forth 1 wheel. 

Visit www.edinburghchristmas.com for more information on the entertainment mentioned above. 

For more details about the excellent Haymarket Hub Hotel, go to: www.haymarkethubhotel.com  

 

The fresh scallops at Wedgewood: The Restaurant
My travel companion and I had a wonderful time in Edinburgh