Edinburgh, the historic inspiring capital of Scotland, takes on a relaxed persona in the month of November. The city says farewell to thousands of high season visitors who partook in the world renowned summer festivals, and visitors can wander the streets in relative tranquillity as the trees show their beautiful remaining Autumn colours. Edinburgh has so much to offer all year round, so here we look at 6 luxurious experiences that will ensure any visit in the month of November creates memories to last a lifetime.
Explore Her Majesty’s former floating palace
Discover what it was like on board The Queens’ Royal floating residence. The Royal Yacht Britannia was a favourite home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 4 decades, sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world. Now berthed in Edinburgh, you can take on the role of Royalty and follow in the footsteps of Prince and Princesses before you to discover the heart and soul of this truly unique Royal residence. A private tour on board The Royal Yacht Britannia is an exclusive experience, giving access to its five decks, and a unique insight (there are stories to be told you know) into the history of the Royal Yacht and how the Royal Family and crew lived and worked on board.
A soupçon of Scottish gastronomy
Scotland undoubtedly has the most enviable natural larder in the world….and a visit to one of the 5 Michelin starred restaurants in Edinburgh would be the crowning glory for any luxury break to Edinburgh. Set on the Shore in Leith, Restaurant Martin Wishart is a ‘must’ for heavy weight foodies.
A mecca for locals and travellers alike, it is the perfect place for special occasions and celebrations; and a regular haunt for those with generous expense accounts! With an inconspicuous exterior and rich yet understated interior there is a sense of excitement around the gastronomic journey that is about to unfold. Personally directing his kitchen, Martin brings the very best of traditional and modern French gastronomy to those who flock to enjoy his masterpieces. Dishes are skilfully presented, using the very best in Scottish produce, and offering surprises throughout and attentive service with expert elucidation.
Sample Scotland’s finest whiskies
You won’t want to leave Edinburgh without deepening your appreciation for Scotland’s national drink. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has recently revised its members only policy and its elegant premises on Queen Street is now open to everyone searching for their perfect dram. Our top tip is the luxury Taster Menu, offering visitors the opportunity to relax over an indulgent five-course fine dining experience. Dishes can be paired with Single Malt whiskies (it does work, honest!) or for the less adventurous palate, selections from the unimpeachable wine cellar.
If you’re looking to learn as well as imbibe, a Morning Masterclass at The Scotch Whisky Experience offers an in-depth tutoring on the different whisky types, within the dazzling surroundings of The World’s Largest Private Collection of Scotch Whisky. You’ll never be baffled by a whisky label again.
Rooftop spas days at the Sheraton Grand
If you are lucky enough to spend more than a few short days in Edinburgh your energy may start to falter; even the veteran traveller necessitates a little ‘time out’ once in a while. Take time to reflect on the sights, sounds and tastes you’ve experienced with a leisurely luxurious day at One Spa. With a nineteen meter infinity pool, an inviting rooftop hydro pool, rainforest showers and a thermal suite offering a range of heat treatments, featuring experiences inspired by ancient Celts and Romans… you can easily lose yourself for an entire afternoon. Emerge relaxed, revived and rejuvenated ready to indulge in more of the city’s inspiring culture.
Quintessentially British luxury afternoon tea at Colonnades, the Signet Library
Synonymous with prestige and Georgian elegance the Signet Library, in the centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town, is steeped in history. The truly grand building was completed in 1822 in time for the celebrated visit to Edinburgh of King George IV, who described the upper library as “the finest drawing room in Europe”. Afternoon Tea at Colonnades, within the Lower Library, is an experience like no other. From the moment you’re welcomed by the immaculately presented staff and escorted to a table beautifully set with silverware and linen, to being guided through a wide selection of teas including their bespoke Signet Blend.
You’ll discover the finest seasonal ingredients in delectable savouries, sandwiches and decadent cakes created by their resident pastry chef all presented on an elaborate silver tiered stand. They have an alluring range of champagnes, cocktails and soft drinks to add to your indulgence. Colonnades styles itself as ‘Edinburgh’s Finest Afternoon Tea’, and universal rave reviews so far suggest this is no idle boast.
Designer retail therapy
No luxury break would be complete without a spot of retail therapy and when it comes to style Edinburgh will not disappoint, with a distinctive mix of designer brands and elegant one-off boutiques. From world renowned labels, somewhat sparing displayed, within Harvey Nichols, to leather goods that make many a grown woman weep in Louis Vuitton and Mulberry; Multrees Walk is a faultless start to any spree. Take a stroll along Thistle Street and marvel at the sparkling array of shoes in Pam Jenkins, thou shalt most definitely covet the selection of designer accessories in Covet; or pick up a richly deserved designer outfit in Jane Davidson. Looking for a little bling to remember your trip? Joseph Bonnar Jewellers is a mecca for antique and vintage jewellery that will give any credit card a weighty work out.
Douglas Walker is Chair of Unique Venues of Edinburgh.