It’s been a stressful few months, whether you’re a key worker or a homeworker, busy with home schooling or missing quality time with your nearest and dearest. Whatever your situation, chances are you’ve been through the ringer. As lockdown eases and life’s pace picks back up, it’s safe to say that we’re collectively yearning for some R&R to help our minds and bodies bounce back. It’s time for a breather.
Edinburgh may be known as a festival city and all-round cultural behemoth, but it is also one of the best places to visit for a peaceful break. Its rolling hills, friendly locals, secret escapes and scenic backdrop are all conducive to relaxation.
And savvy travellers will know that relaxation starts with the right hotel choice. “Our service is not too formal, it’s quite relaxed,” says Ten Hill Place Hotel general manager Mark McKenzie. Centrally located at Surgeons Quarter in the Old Town, the hotel prides itself on being as comfortable as it is convenient. “We like to make it all about the guests themselves,” McKenzie continues. “The hotel is like an oasis away from the stress of recent events.”
For McKenzie, his prime concern is ensuring that everyone who stays at Ten Hill Place feels completely safe as lockdown eases but that they also enjoy being at the hotel. “Our staff might be wearing masks and we might have hand sanitiser stations and screens at reception, but we’re still delivering a top service.
“I think people who’ve stayed recently leave feeling that they were able to relax and get all the normal services, and that they were well looked after.”
As well as being a great spot to help you recharge your batteries, Ten Hill Place is a terrific base for those interested in heading out to explore Edinburgh. Here are some of the best ways to unwind in and around the city. Check websites to book and to find out about social distancing measures.
Just 40 minutes from Edinburgh, along the East Lothian coastline, the Archerfield Estate has everything you could possibly need for a chilled day out. Start your day of R&R at Fletcher’s Cottage Spa with its sublime mix of the rustic and the luxurious, 12 treatment rooms, cosy private bath huts and thermal experiences. Enjoy views of the spa garden while you take advantage of the facilities. When you’re ready, head over to the Archerfield Walled Garden to explore the planting and pick up a few delicacies at the food market before heading off along the Fairy Trail to add a little magic to your day, suitable for kids, adults and dogs alike.
Just 25 minutes from the centre of Edinburgh, Jupiter Artland is an outdoor sculpture park and haven for art lovers, with stunning views and picturesque walks across 50 hectares (125 acres) of woodland and meadows. Set in the grounds of the 17th-century Bonnington House, the park is open to the public from May to September every year, as well as for special occasions such as Halloween, Bonfire Night and the annual Christmas fair. You’re encouraged to tour the park at your own pace, while keeping an eye out for site-specific artworks from the likes of Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Charles Jencks, Cornelia Parker, Phyllida Barlow and more.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Celebrating its 350th anniversary this year, the Royal Botanic Garden is a beloved location in the city, with a plant collection of 13,500 species in its 115 hectares of garden. There’s a definite emphasis on conservation and plant science throughout, which is wonderful to learn all about as you wander the greenery and take in the many fine horticultural specimens at every turn. Highlights include the 10 magnificent glasshouses, each with a different climatic zone, housing more than 8,000 plants including a palm that’s more than 200 years old. Then it’s on to the Rock Garden, the Chinese Hillside and the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden …
The Secret Herb Garden
A trip to the Pentland Hills is a good option for those eager for some gentle hillwalking, and once you’ve completed your ramble, the Secret Herb Garden is the perfect place to rejuvenate. The herb nursery lies at the foot of the Pentlands, set in 3 hectares, and visitors are invited to explore the herb farm, bee observatory, Old Curiosity Gin distillery, cafe and shop, all while being embraced by the sights and scents of nature.
Edinburgh has a number of beaches right on its doorstep, including Portobello, its nearest and most popular. But for something a tad more remote, jump on a bus and head to the small sandy Cramond beach, which offers a pleasant alternative to the hustle and bustle of the city centre and idyllic views of the Firth of Forth. It’s superb for beach and shoreline walks and cycles, quiet village streets, cosy pubs and friendly coffee shops. You can even walk over the causeway to uninhabited Cramond Island at low tide – just be sure to make it back while you can still cross safely.
To discover all that Ten Hill Place has to offer, and to book your autumn break, head to the hotel’s website