Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Dalkeith, Scotland

Of course we 'did' the Royal Mile, as Travelling Companion had never been before, and we managed to see loads without spending a penny, which wasn't intentional but shows it can be done. So, if you're on a budget, here's what we did for free: visited Ripley's Court (an old courtyard and building being restored); nipped into St Giles church, where we found an American choir singing very beautifully and so stayed for a bit; wandered through the Museum of Edinburgh, which told the history of the city and had dressing-up kit, if that's your thing or you're under 10. These, by the way, came in the order I've written them if you start at the castle end.

Took my eye off the blog ball there for a moment, as life became a bit too busy even to sit down and catch up, but going to try now...

From Peebles (see last post), we moved yet again 20 or 30 miles, this time north-east to a suburb town of Edinburgh called Dalkeith, to stay at Melville Castle (see picture). Driving down the long entrance was very exciting: what would it look like? How grand could it be? We were totally rewarded with our first impression: wow. And, when we got in and read the bumpf in our room (which, by the way, had the window immediately over the front entrance and was double height), felt equal measures of delight and apprehension: apparently, a female ghost had been seen during renovation and had been seen since in a first floor bedroom, only at dusk or during 'the hours of darkness', standing either by the window or the foot of a bed.

Great! We were in a first floor bedroom. But, um, do I really want to see a ghost? Hmmm. Probably not. On the other hand, do I believe in ghosts? Probably not.

We also read that the 'castle' (more of a baronial party pad, as it turns out) had been visited by three queens: Elizabeth I, Victoria and Mary Stuart. That was pretty cool. Disappointingly, the service didn't live up to the environment, and we weren't the first to notice this, as TripAdvisor was full of bad reviews. Alas... Still, it ranks as the most historic place I've ever stayed and made a perfect base for visiting Edinburgh, which is what we did.


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