Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Travel: How Edinburgh has festive magic down to a tee

© Shutterstock / f11photoEdinburgh at Christmas.
Edinburgh at Christmas.

No matter whether you’ve had time to put your tree up, or finish shopping for presents, there’s nothing nicer in December than feeling festive.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and if you want to feel the magic of Christmas, there’s nowhere better than Edinburgh.

Stepping off the train with the husband, who is more Bah Humbug than Jingle Bells, it feels like we’ve been transported into a winter wonderland. The seasonal spirit is in full swing, with twinkling lights at every turn.

Princes Street sits in the glow of the big wheel, and the sweet smell of waffles fills the air, with the arrival of the Christmas market.

It’s mobbed, with a queue snaking back for miles, but we decide to check it out, along with the hundreds if not thousands of locals and tourists.

Once we battle our way through the bottleneck, it’s just lovely. With food from around the globe, mulled wine and hot chocolate, there’s a delicious feast to be had before wandering round the stalls selling cute trinkets.

Full to the brim with Bratwurst and German beer, we head in search of our hotel. And my, oh my, it’s like coming home for Christmas (to a big townhouse in the heart of the city, if indeed that was your home!).

The Dome, Edinburgh

The five-star InterContinental Edinburgh The George is glittering with garlands and twinkling lights. It’s a warm welcome from the chilly climes outside – and just as stunning inside as out.

Our George Street View Suite is sumptuous and spacious, spread across three rooms, with a bedroom, living room and bathroom and has a balcony looking out over the thoroughfare.

From the huge comfy bed and contemporary décor to the shower big enough for a football team, it’s luxury at its finest. Add in the George’s new Moment of Tranquility sleep service, with free chamomile tea, Stockbridge perfumery’s Jorum Studio pillow spray and online yoga sessions, and it’s designed to help you unwind and get your beauty sleep when your head hits the pillow.

After a luxurious soak in the roll-top bath while the husband catches some football on the TV, we head downstairs for dinner at the Printing Press Bar and Kitchen, which has plenty of treats in store. The food, from the Haggis Scotch egg for starters to the pan-seared duck breast and steak and chips for mains, it is cooked to perfection and delicious.

The piece de resistance, though, is the dessert…whisky and honey crème brulee, which is a fitting end to a fantastic meal.

After that we join another queue, this time for The Dome across the street, another of Edinburgh’s Christmas landmarks. The bar and restaurant’s exterior is a sight to behold. A 14th-Century building, once a physicians’ hall, its pillars are adorned with ribbons of fairy lights, windows filled with gorgeous wreaths and balconies decked out with gorgeous trees.

Inside, there are more lights and, propped on top of the bar in the Grill Room is one of the tallest, most beautiful Christmas trees I have seen. Sipping a cocktail here is guaranteed to fill your heart with seasonal cheer.

Intercontinental, Edinburgh

It’s lovely to be cosy and warm but we decide to go on a wander through the city’s closes and cobblestones, which look even more gorgeous with a dusting of frost on the top.

We hit the hay early and sleep like a couple of babies, and, next day wake up refreshed, ready for breakfast in bed. It’s a luxury we only ever seem to have time for in the holiday season.

Then it’s time to hit the shops and power through all the presents still on our lists.

Edinburgh has earned its place on the map as a shopping mecca, with all the high-street stores in Princes Street. But George Street is fast becoming a popular choice too, with lots of high end brands taking up residence there.

And that’s before you mention the new St James Quarter, which boasts a tonne of shops to suit all budgets, from high street to designer brands like Mulberry and Louis Vuitton in the adjoining Multrees Walk.

Laden with bags, back to the station we go to board the train home, with the husband whistling Christmas songs. He says it’s the most Christmassy he’s felt in years.

Edinburgh, it seems, has festive magic down to a tee.


Look out for hidden-gem bars, like The Voodoo Rooms and Devil’s Advocate, and The Newsroom – where believe it or not the hubby and I (both journalists) spent our first date 21 years ago.


Double classic room at InterContinental Edinburgh The George from £170. The Moment of Tranquillity is free – just request when booking. Visit