9 Setting the Scene

I Princes Street Remains

justly famousforits splendid positiort opposite and below the craggy ('astle Rock arid is possibly tlte ortly street iii a capital city to have

buildings alongorie side

' ortly (something valtied sufficiently to be

protected by art Act of Parliament). This consequently allows uninterrupted views of the ' castle.sometliing well

exploited by the

magnificent firework display from the (‘astle


Edinburgh Festival. Nevertheless. many feel it has beert spoilt by

rarttpantcommercialism and it is both the ccritreof the city and itspreniier shopping centre. It also neatly divides the ( )Id and New Tovv its.

I LBlih ( LRT litises lb. ‘), 111) A traditional animosity exists between lidinburgh arid itsold

i port. l.eith. constituency of the rttace-throwing MP Ron Brown. Locals qtlote an instance in the late 19th century when the l.eith Fire Brigade turned off the water supply rather than let their lidinburgh opposite numbers ptit out a fire iii the port. ()nce a thriving town in itsowri right. the two cities have been amalgamated for the last (Til-(Kid years and an industrious amount of stone-cleaning. re-buildirig arid re-furbishmeiit has

transformed the declining docklartd area into a smart. spruce area that

sortie see as a habitat for yuppies. Well wortlt a

visit. not least for its many excellent bars and restaurants. (though many are closed on a Surtday. even in summer).


I Tourist Information and Accommodation Office Waverley Market. 557 2727. Mott~Sat 8..3(larii--Sprti. Stiri 11am-8pm (until 9pm during Festival) arid

lidinburgh Airport. 333

2167 Mort—Sat

8.30am -‘).3llpm. Sun 9.3(lam-9.3tlpm ). For all information on lidinburgh (for info on Scotland see Tourist Board below). Also offers the main accommodation service (see below). Most European languages are spoken arid they also sell ticketsfor Scottish

evenings. day trips by coach. National Trust arid ()pen to View properties. though not for the Festival. (See Festival entry below).

I Scottish Tourist Board Information and Travel Centre Sotith St Andrew Street. 332 2433. Mort—Sat 9am- (ipm. ('losed Stiii. From June to Sept Mort—Sat ts’.3llam-Sprii. Strri lllam-(ipm. A sort of ‘tt‘avel shop' for visitors and locals with information on the whole of Scotlartd. Facilities include a tray el agency. Bureau de ('hange. Book a Bed Ahead Service (see Accottititodation below ). car rental arid a Scottish bookshop. ()titside the building there is a 24 hour computer screen to access essential information (addresses and tel nos etc) \\ hen the office is closed. I Citizens Advice Bureau 58 Duridas Street. 557 l51Kl,.\lon-f"l'i 9.3(larti-—4piii (Wed closed 12.3(1—2.3(lpm).livenirigs b.30— S’pm. Free legal

adv ice available.

I Media Local radio station is Radio Forth. 197.3 FM. 1548 MW. which broadcasts 24 hours. 7 days.

Getting Around

I On foot Best way to see the city centre. and the only way toexplore the ()ld'l'own.

I Trains Waverley . at the east end of Princes Street. is the main BR station. The clock on the adjacent North British Hotel is considerater kept 3 minutes fast so astolet you arrive in good time for your train. Telephone enquiries ( 55h 2451)are answered promptly arid efficiently. Ring 5565633 for reservations and sleepers. There is another. very small station ( 1 lay market ) at the west end of the city.

I Buses Iidinburgh prides

itself on its bus service and

ritost routes are well supplied. ()rtly disadvantages are that you need the exact fare and you cannot hop on aitd off between stops. as you cart. albeit at your owrt risk.on London btrses.

Maroon arid cream coloured buses are run by l.othian Regional Transport arid cover all city centre routes. (Information and tickets frortt LRT Ticket ('entre. Waverley Bridge. 226 5087 Mon—Sat 7am—8pm. Sun Sam—8pm. Weekly


Fastern Scottish buses (coloured green) run through the city . to outlying districts. and an inter-city service. (Fares

are generally below those

of the train ). Tickets and iriforriiation: St Andrew Btis Station. St Andrew

Square. 55b 846-1 (tours:

l to ( ilasgow and (ilasgow 1 Airport front here.

Both companies offers art extensive range of tours. (‘ontact above numbers for details.

isa bit hilly for bicycling btit the outlying area is well worth exploring by

13 l,ochrin Place.

'l'ollcr‘oss. 228 (i333 offer a

wide range of bikes. and are w ell eqtiipped w itli

routes. tiiaps and general

inlorriiatiori. llire prices start at £4 per day.

I Taxis If you can‘t firtd a black cab in tltc street try the taxi ranks at Waverley

Station. Sotitli St David

Street (outside St Andrew


‘And this,’ says Noel Hutchison, stepping over a pile of sand, ‘is where the ladies of Edinburgh are going to come down and drink coffee and chat.‘ 'g Acanthus, ex-Red Star Parcels Office ' right at the centre of Edinburgh‘s bustling, ever-moving Waverley Bridge, is being transformed. With ' positive thinking itwill, says Noel, open as ‘a real continental café/bar’ on


55S lblb). lixpress service

I Bicycling The city centre


I ‘I wantall sorts of people coming in here and feeling comfortable,‘ he adds ldon‘t want to hit people with a theme; for Edinburgh it has to be subtle, understated. I want it to be as if Acanthus has always been here.’ A Thirties' feel, waiters in waistcoats and aprons, the smell of fresh coffee, and an emphasis on speed and efficiency are the basics forAcanthus. Noel

Sq. Bus Statioti)orthe (‘aledoriiari Hotel at the

west end of Princes Street.

Tipping is optional and less common than in London. lixtra 5(lp call out charge if you order by phone. (’eritra1(‘abs 22‘)

Mos (and otlters in yellow

pages)offer2-1 hour-service.

I By Airlidinburgli Airport. lngliston. 33.3 1(le is abotit 8 miles west oftlie city centre. Flight linquiries 3-1-1 3136. Regular shuttle service to London. and flights to l:urope.1iireartdpartsot the l'K.

(ietting to the airport: by taxis costs roughly £7 - 1t) and takes tip to 30 mins to 45 ritiris depending on the time of day. (‘lieaper btit less convenient is the airport bus run by [RT (110. lllll)w liich leaves Waverley Bridge roughly twice an hour Mon to Fri front 5.45am to 22.(l5pm (once an hour at weekends). Buses i'tlfi from the airport at similar intervalsbetweenfi.(15am

and 22.35pm. (‘ostz single £1.75. £3 return.


I Tourist Information and Accommodation Desk Waverley Market. 557 2727. Mort—Sat


1 lam—Spin (until 9pm during Festival ) and lidinburgh Airport. 333 21b":7 Mort-Sat

8.3(lattt- 9.30pm. Sun 9.30am» ‘).3(lptii. The tiiost difficult aceoniiiiodation to firtd is a single room and the worst time to find it is dttririg the Festival; booking itt advance is the only real answer. btit if you haven't these offices will do their utmost to find you a bed. even if it is outside the city. Approximately (i()(l hotels. guest houses and private liouses pay to be

| registered with the tourist office and prices rartgc

from approx. £111 to £60 per person per night. There is a £1 booking fee. pltrsa 10“} deposit oftlie whole stay. payable in


The Book-a-Bed Ahead scheme (also available front the Scottish Travel Centre South St Andrew Street ) offers a reservation service which covers most of Scotland

Hutchison, conceptual designer of this,


Travellers‘ Fate‘s first foray onto the high street, has got everything worked out down tothe newspapervending machine at the entrance and black straws. His design is flexible, nonetheless: ‘We‘re at the centre of a lot of movement here, with the trains and the roads. I wantthat to be reflected in the café.’

If the green, cream and black colour scheme isn‘t complete orthe last glass isn‘t polished to perfection on 4 August, itwon't be for lack of enthusiasm. If Acanthus doesn’t take off, I'll eat my hat, or even one of Noel Hutchison's Croque Jocks-the classic French snack made with potato sconesinstead of bread. Now there’s conceptual design. Acanthus, Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh. (Julie

and some places in lingland. Fee £1.75. plusa deposit of 111"} oftlte price of the first night. The office also has details of camping and caravart sites.

I Youth Hostels ls‘ liglinton Crescent. 337 11211 and 7 Brurttsfield (‘rescertt.-147 290-1. Members only. btrt membership is available to anyone over the age of5 at the hostel (£6). Advance booking (by

post ) essential during the


I Police Station l.othizin and Borders 1 10. Fettes Avenue. 31 l 3131. limergericy' Services: Dial 99‘) (free) and ask for the service you require 7- Fire. Police or Ambulance. I Left Luggage Waverley Station. Waverley Bridge. 7 days (iam~ l().45pm. (’harges 50¢“ .50 per day. depending on size of locker. I Casualty and Emergency (24 hours) Services Royal lrifirritaryof lidinburgh. 1 Lauristori Place. 22‘) 2477 and Western (ieneral Hospital. ('rewe Road South. 332 2525. I Emergency Dental Clinic lidinburgh Dental llospital.31('hambers Street. 225 9511 (weekdays); Westerrt (ietieral llospital. (‘rewe Road South. 332 2525. every evening 7.3(l— lllpm. Sat arid Sun loam—noon. I Contraceptive Advice Family Planning and Well Woman Services. 18 Deart Terrace. 332 79-11. I Aids Helpline contact the (‘ity Hospital. (ireenbarik Drive (-11 bus). 4470411 or Scottish Aids Monitor. 23 Dublin Street. 558 1167. I Samaritans 5-1 Frederick Street. 225 3333. I Money Bank hours are ‘).3(larit—3.3(lpni. though sortie shtit at lunch time. All branches of the Royal Bank ofScotland open Mort-Wed arid Fri ‘)._3(litht—-l.45pfii and art extra hour on late closing day. Thursday. front 4.3(1—5.3()pm. The (‘lydesdale Batik in Waverley Market. 556 7306 is unique in the centre of town in its extended hours: Mon—Sat 8.3(larii 7.3(lpm; Strrt 11am—3pm. Nearly all the Scottish and linglish banks have reciprocal arrangements for using cash-dispensing machines. but beware the extra fee some oftlierit impose for the service. It's well worth checking with your own bank before you find yourself with extra batik charges at the end of your holiday.

48 The List 5 1 1 August 1988