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Putting the art into Edinburgh; CLAIRE REID stays in a Scottish guest house that is as pretty as a picture.

Byline: CLAIRE REID

STEEPED in history, Scotland's beautiful capital city is the perfect place for a weekend of sightseeing. After a long train journey it was wonderful to step outside the station and be greeted with the imposing Gothic sight of the Scott Monument.

Edinburgh's architecture is breathtaking. With its medieval Old Town, pretty Georgian New Town, Edinburgh Castle and the Queen's Hall, a first-time visitor I couldn't help but be blown away by how beautiful it is.

A short walk from the station, in the trendy area of Leith, is Wallace's Arthouse, where my partner and I stayed for the weekend.

This guest house is on the second floor of the Assembly Rooms, a grand-looking, Grade A-listed building that has since been converted to flats and offices.

Owner Wallace Shaw greets us at the top of the stairs and asks if we need a hand with our luggage.

Once through the door my partner and I spot a nicely chilled bottle of Prosecco - much appreciated after the journey - and then enjoy a tour of the guest house.

It's beautifully decorated and, with plenty of original art dotted about the place, you could spend a day looking over Wallace's collection, hence the name of the place.

He tells us that he puts on regular exhibitions for local artists and instead of charging them a fee he asks for one piece of art in return.

This goes some way to explain the stacks of paintings, statues and photographs throughout the rooms.

The arthouse has two double rooms available; our room was spacious, warm and tastefully decorated with an en suite shower, wood floors and plenty of storage.

Wallace himself is a warm and friendly host and, just like his guesthouse, is welcoming and full of character. Attentive but not imposing, he made us feel at home.

Edinburgh is a wonderful place and has something for all. Whatever you're looking to do on your break you'll find it there.

If shopping is what you're after, head to the city centre, which has a mixture of wonderful and unique boutiques, gift shops and high-end fashion and department stores. Culture vultures will also be spoiled for choice with the many museums and art galleries throughout the city.

Or, if you fancy blowing away the cobwebs there are some great walks and historical places to visit.

|as a Situated in Holyrood Park is Arthur's Seat, a dormant volcano 251 metres above sea level. If you're feeling fit enough, a walk to the top gives you a spectacular view of the city and is definitely worth the effort.

|for room, |And no visit would be complete without a trip to the Edinburgh Dungeons - an 80-minute journey through 1,000 years of Scottish history to with actors and special effects bring the scenes alive.

When it comes to food you'll be spoiled for choice with beautiful places to eat. Seafood restaurants are something of a local speciality, and a trip to Fishers Bistro should be on everyone's list when visiting Leith.

Set in a 17th century watchtower, Fishers serves fabulous seafood seven days a week.

Edinburgh is something of a foodies' paradise. With an impressive five Michelin-starred restaurants, there's a lot more to offer than 'haggis, tatties and neeps' (although, certainly give them a try too!).

If fine dining isn't really your thing, you'll also find plenty of pubs serving up good hearty meals.

We spent our first evening in Edinburgh in The Conan Doyle pub, located close to his birthplace and opposite a statue of his most famous character - Sherlock Holmes.

The walls and shelves are filled with Conan Doyle and Holmes memorabilia.

The clientele is a mixture of tourists and friendly locals, keen to give some unique insights into local history (and to tell you the best pubs to visit). The locals were so friendly that we ended up staying far later than we'd planned and we were grateful to drop into a big, soft bed with a duck-down duvet.

Breakfast at Wallace's is more continental than Scottish fry-up (but then he has previously run a bed and breakfast in Italy). Wallace laid out cereals, fresh rolls with a selection of jams and marmalade, fruit and yoghurt. And lots of freshly brewed tea and coffee.

He even sat with us at breakfast and made a list of recommendations for places we mustn't miss.

We spent our second day looking around The Scottish National Gallery, on his recommendation. It's huge and houses masterpieces from some of the greatest names in art history - Raphael, Monet and Van Gogh to name but a few.

We decided to round off our trip with a few laughs.

Edinburgh is famous for its annual Fringe Festival but you don't have to wait until August to tickle your funny bone. We headed to The Stand Comedy Club, a basement bar and comedy venue just off Saint Andrew's Square, to the 'Sunday Laugh-In', where for PS6 a ticket we were treated to five comedy acts and a pretty cheap bar.

I'm not sure if it was all the walking, the fresh Scottish air or the comfy bed, but I slept even better on the second night and woke up feeling fully refreshed.

Leaving Wallace's Arthouse felt like leaving a friend's house - we made promises to come back soon as we headed out, and we meant it, Edinburgh has so much to offer that a two-day trip really isn't enough.

NEED TO KNOW CLAIRE REID stayed at Wallace's Arthouse Scotland aguest of the owner.

Prices are PS120 per night a double occupancy room, and PS99 for single occupancy, including continental breakfast.

| The minimum reservation is two days. Go www.wallacesarthousescotland.com.

Edinburgh nestles under the |imposing backdrop of Arthur's Seat

CAPTION(S):

Wallace's Arthouse is a cosy |and welcoming place to stay in the vibrant Scottish city of Edinburgh Right, your friendly host |Wallace Shaw offers a tasty continental treat to start your day and plenty of advice on where to go and what to do
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Article Type:Travel narrative
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 13, 2015
Words:1002
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