5 reasons you need to visit George Street, Edinburgh
Leigh-Ann Pow checks her credit card balance and sets out to stroll one of the Scottish capital’s most stylish streets.
Bookended by Charlotte Square at one end and St Andrews Square at the other, Edinburgh’s George Street is lined with the type of gracious Georgian architectural gems that the Scottish capital is so well known for.
Situated in the city’s New Town, the term is relative: the confection of grand townhouses, imposing bank buildings and wide squares were created from 1767 to the 1830s to ease the overcrowding in the Old Town, the ancient warren of tenements and closes crowding The Royal Mile.
Nowadays these buildings house some of the Scottish capital’s most desirable boutiques, restaurants, bars and hotels.
1. Having replaced a collection of dreadfully uninspiring 1960s and ’70s office blocks and a depressing bus station, Harvey Nichols department store is a soaring piece of modern architecture that reflects and enhances the historic architecture that surrounds it.
Inside it’s a fashionista’s dream come true, with every designer brand imaginable available for the taking.
The Forth Floor Window Bar is also one of the hottest places in town to meet for a drink and soak up the view across Edinburgh to the Firth of Forth.
2. Cruise has been catering to the cutting-edge fashion needs of the city’s bright young things for well over 30 years, and was a style oasis back in the days before the likes of Harvey Nics moved into town.
Its longevity comes from its brilliantly curated collection of designer names (which after starting in menswear now includes women’s and kids’ fashions) including the likes of Kenzo, Vivienne Westwood, Dolce & Gabbana and Saint Laurent.
3. Open since 1866, and by appointment to the Queen no less, Hamilton & Inches is a glory box of pretty shiny things.
Generations of Scottish girls have dreamt of picking out engagement rings here; if you aren’t in the market for one, content yourself with window shopping.
4. At number 7 Charlotte Square, The Georgian House was completed in 1796 for the Clan Lamont chief.
Now beautifully restored to reflect a typical New Town house in the late 18th and early 19th century, it gives an irresistible glimpse into the day-to-day life of Edinburgh’s great and good at this time.
5. With its entrance flanked by hulking Corinthian columns, The Dome is a breathtaking proposition to behold, and that’s before you even get a glimpse of the stained-glass dome at its heart.
The former bank building is the go-to place for locals to meet friends and family, and impress out-of-towners, with everything from coffee and cake, to lunch or dinner and drinks on the menu.
The Georgian Tea Room is one of the best places in town for afternoon tea.
City guide to Hull, England
It’s still gritty, but the northern English port city of Hull (or, officially, Kingston-upon-Hull) is having a cultural renaissance.
Hull, England is known for
Its port, art in 2017, poet Philip Larkin
Hull's Eat streets
Head to Humber Street, with newly laid cobblestones, in the Fruit Market cultural quarter for good meals in cool, repurposed industrial spaces.
Try gourmet tapas at Ambiente and an experimental menu at bistro-style Butler Whites.
Nearby, you’ll also find Indian fine diner Tapasya@Marina, (tapasya.org.uk).
Local institutions Cerutti’s, a family-run seafood restaurant that’s been doing its thing on the site of Hull’s old pier since 1974, and pub and steakhouse Humber Dock Bar & Grill (known as The Green Bricks until recently) offer a thread of tried-and-tasted continuity to this rapidly changing area.
Out & about
The British public was bemused when it was announced, four years ago, that Hull would be the UK City of Culture in 2017: in 2003 it was voted number one Crap Town in Britain.
But serious money and creative nous has gone into regenerating this ancient, gritty port city whose number one attraction before now has been its huge aquarium, The Deep.
Those looking to engage in some world-class culture can let the Hull 17 program be their guide.
Much activity is focused on the old fruit market’s redevelopment, and the Ferens Art Gallery (based in the Old Town, which has its own charm) will host the Turner Prize this year.
If you’re getting cool-new-art-space overload, head to residential West Hull for a gig at the city’s alternative music institution, The Adelphi Club. Once a three-bedroom terrace house, this tiny and insalubrious-looking venue has seen Radiohead, The Stone Roses, Pulp and many more grace its stage, and is where local band The Housemartins started life.
Look out for the Humber Street Market on the third Sunday of every month at Fruit: arts, crafts, records and vintage clothes plus craft beer, street food and live music.
The ultimate experience
visit multifaceted new venues like humber street gallery, a three-storey contemporary arts space that exhibits visual art, film, photography and more and also houses a cafe and rooftop bar.
Thieving Harry’s is based in the Fruit Market quarter, overlooking Hull’s marina, and makes coffee using beans from a local specialty roasters.
It does a great line in brunch and grilled cheese too. Coffee nook Caffeinated in Trinity Market and hidden-away Liquid Jade in the Old Town will hit the spot too.
Where to stay & play
Book the Olde Town Victorian Hideaway, 1869 through Airbnb for a cosy base that’s next to ‘England’s smallest window’.
A Victorian-era hotel in the Old Town, Kingston Theatre Hotel offers classic rooms and full English breakfasts.
Occupying two floors of a townhouse that dates back to the 17th century, the boutique Arthouse Apartment merges vintage and modern stylings.
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