LIVING in Glasgow, I’ve visited Edinburgh plenty of times but always with one eye on the last train home. “Ah,” I’ve thought wistfully, while legging it for the 23.30 departure from Waverley, “if only I stayed in Edinburgh and could enjoy all this properly!”

Well, thanks to Braid Serviced Apartments by Mansley, I got to do exactly that. Staying in their two-bedroomed Thistle Street apartment, nestled between George Street and Hanover Street, we had the heart of the New Town at our fingertips and the rest of Edinburgh beyond that.

This type of serviced apartment is now popular with tourists. After reports of sub-standard accommodation being offered for vast sums and hotel prices soaring post-lockdown, serviced apartments offer a ‘sweet spot’ of consistent quality, a central location and fair pricing. There’s more space than a typical hotel. Our apartment boasted two huge bedrooms, two bathrooms and a fully-fitted kitchen/living space.

The National:

The hands-off nature of a serviced apartment means you arrive at reception and are swiftly checked in, but then remain undisturbed thereafter for the duration of your stay– suiting us perfectly as we weren’t first time visitors to the city. The sun had made a rare appearance upon our arrival, so we went straight to the viewpoint at Calton Hill. Suitably entertained by the view – and fire dancers practising atop the hill – we wandered back towards the apartment in search of dinner.

We certainly didn’t have to go far. After a quick change we stepped out of the door and straight into Thai restaurant Dusit, located two doors down. We had good intentions of exploring the city to find somewhere to eat but the delightful smells drifting from Dusit were enough to halt our adventure in its tracks and see us swiftly sat down at a table for two. It was probably the best Thai, if not the best curry, I’ve ever eaten. We ordered a Poo Pad Pong Karee (a stir-fried chilli crab dish) and a chicken Panang curry to share – I could have drunk the sauce as a soup.

The next port of call was to tour the city’s best bars in pursuit of a cocktail. We started at The Cauldron, a magic-themed bar where you order your drink by waving a wand to get the bar staff’s attention, and the cocktails bubble and spark when they arrive. Next we headed to the 1920s-themed bar Lady Libertine for a ‘Stinging Gimlet’ made with Peychaud Bitters, before finishing our evening at Bar Tonic, where a laidback DJ was on hand to soundtrack the night.

Next morning saw us cooking breakfast in the apartment; much-needed fuel for a walk up Arthur’s Seat. This volcano, rated as the number one attraction in Edinburgh on TripAdvisor, offers unparalleled views as fair reward for the 279m ascent. Next it was on to the Camera Obscura for more 360-degree views of the city, alongside optical illusions and hands-on exhibits.

A short stroll was all it took to get back to the apartment then an even shorter stroll to our venue for dinner, Chez Jules Bistro. Locals love it for their no-frills, big-flavour approach to French cooking. I was certainly satisfied with my coq au vin and indulgent dauphinoise. Full of food – and a little too much wine –  we were grateful for the brief walk to the apartment and the chance to collapse on the sofa in front of the TV.

Check-out the next morning was hassle-free, and even more so the leisurely walk to Waverley to get the train home. No ‘legging it’ required! braid-apartments