Flossie Mainwaring-Taylor enjoys a foodie break in Scotland's vibrant capital

EDINBURGH is an international tourist destination. Travellers flock from across the globe to feel under foot its centuries-rich history, explore its ancient hilly streets with secret passages leading to who knows where and to marvel at its sites – Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace and Arthur’s Seat.

There's so much to do that it is no wonder groups of visitors are hurriedly herded through the city - cameras slung across necks and smart phones poised for pictures. But for us lucky northerners Edinburgh is just a picturesque, short train journey away, so my travelling and I partner headed up for a leisurely two-night stay.

We arrived by train into Haymarket, Edinburgh’s second train station (not to be confused with Waverley otherwise you’ll be in for a walk). Hop across the street and you land at the door of Haymarket Hub Hotel.

A so-called ‘smart hotel’, it offers a range of techy perks including free wifi, USB charging points, use of laptops and printers and even your own free smartphone, ready loaded with recommendations so can act as your personal city guide.

As for the hotel itself, it is compact and clean and has everything you need. Twins and doubles with windows are available, and we were lucky enough to enjoy a view from six flights up. The nifty hotel makes use of every nook and for that reason even offers cheaper ‘internal’ rooms without windows.

It has Sky television, toiletries from The White Company, a ‘Grab and Go’ or sit-down breakfast option in connecting Platform 5 next door and a 24-hour coffee shop where you can pick up snacks.

To work up an appetite and shake off the working week we set off on a 30-minute walk across the city to our dinner destination, Wedgwood the Restaurant, on the Royal Mile. In unpretentious and relaxed surroundings, it offers up heaven on plate after plate.

For fear of food envy, we both chose creamy Kilbrannan scallops on cauliflower korma with pineapple, capers and a teasing pinch of peanut and pistachio dust. We could have eaten it twice or thrice over, but settled with our main courses and weren’t disappointed.

For me, deliciously fishy roast North Sea cod with caponata, white beans, chorizo and baby courgette; for him, the most delicate confit sea trout on charred lettuce, peas and potato with trout crackling.

We shared sticky toffee pudding and an exquisitely presented panna cotta with seasonal greengage compote, blackcurrant sorbet, oats and sorrel. It was an experience worth every penny.

After a restful night’s sleep, we picked up coffee from nearby Nomad, a trendy cafe with good brews and giant cinnamon pastries. From here we sauntered along the grand, cobbled, leafy streets of the Moray Estate, an exclusive 19th-century development which attracts the rich and famous.

Randolph Crescent, Great Stuart Street, the oval and ‘duodecagon’ of Ainslee and Moray Places, and Darnaway Street allow your mind to wander and dream of living a life of magnificent townhouse luxury before you turn onto the modest Gloucester Lane, lined with Georgian mews – now unique, hot properties in their own right.

This steep street leads directly to Stockbridge Market, at the heart of Edinburgh’s bustling and beautiful historic village on the Water of Leith. Artisan cheese delis, coffee and cafe stops aplenty, speciality stores and thrift and charity shops are a hive of activity. There’s a small dog at every turn.

We slipped into The Stockbridge Restaurant, a family-run eatery with a traditional but unstuffy atmosphere. From the lunch menu we shared ever-so-lightly battered calamari with aioli and crab cakes with a fresh tomato salsa, followed by warming confit duck and cassoulet bean stew and then a moreish board of cheeses from IJ Mellis, cheesemongers just around the corner.

A walk to the city’s busy centre and a gentle stroll around the cavernous, free National Museum of Scotland provided the perfect end to a satisfying – in all senses of the word – visit to Edinburgh.