Travel: The Victorian Townhouse @ Stockbridge, Edinburgh

The tidy garden to the back would be perfect more sunny days. Photograph: Paul Marr
The tidy garden to the back would be perfect more sunny days. Photograph: Paul Marr
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Do Not Disturb – Scotland On Sunday

A city break to Edinburgh with the boys, back to the city where they were all born. While the adults know the place like the back of their hand, the children have no real recollection of living here – despite our best efforts to prompt their deepest memories by regularly drilling them “do you remember visiting here/when we used to do this?” There’s no explaining nostalgia to them.

Budget or boutique?

Each bedroom has its own personality. Photograph: Paul Marr

Each bedroom has its own personality. Photograph: Paul Marr

As soon as you step through the door at the Victorian Townhouse @ Stockbridge, you know you are in boutique land. A terraced, bay-windowed property in leafy Comely Bank, this Victorian house looks as grand today as the day it was built. Inside, it is immaculately clean, recently renovated and looks to have been decorated by someone with a great eye for design. The tidy garden to the back would be the perfect extra room in more sunny days, though the winter chill means we didn’t use it much.

Room service

As it is essentially your home from home, the décor in the Victorian Townhouse is much more individual than you’d get in any hotel chain – each bedroom has its own personality – think opulent glamour and you’ll get the picture. The huge beds are super-comfy, and there are four bedrooms to choose from - one superking, one king, one double and one twin room. Even though we could have filled all four bedrooms, none of the boys wanted to stay in the twin room (which is a bit out on a limb, accessed via the kitchen and presumably once the maid’s room) so they took it in turns to share. Older children, I suspect, would relish the chance of being so far away from their parents.

Wining and dining

The beautiful and practical kitchen is a joy to cook and eat in. We got supplies from the nearby Waitrose as well as a few goodies from local shops and cooked like we were Tom Kitchin (well we felt like it anyway, even if it was just scrambled eggs for the kids). The kitchen is well stocked with every pot, pan and utensil you could need, and also includes a Nespresso coffee machine, which was very well used during our time there. And if you are a serious foodie, you’ll love the huge range cooker. If you want to eat well without leaving the comfort of your home, the owners can arrange for a chef to come in and cook for you.

Stockbridge has an eclectic range of options if you prefer to eat out and you are a stone’s throw from an array of great eateries, from gastro pub Scran and Scallie, to children’s fave Pizza Express.

Worth getting out of bed for

While the Victorian Townhouse @ Stockbridge might be more recognisable to locals as being in Comely Bank, it is still ideally located for exploring the city, either as a seasoned visitor or a total newcomer. Just five minutes’ walk away you hit the main routes for buses, which will ferry you almost anywhere you’d want to visit. We took the bus to the National Museum of Scotland – apologies to the taxi driver who sat behind us all the way and kindly smiled and waved every time the boys waved at him – and spent all afternoon there. The boys were occupied, interested and kept quiet by the vast array of exhibits and demonstrations on offer inside.

We also visited the Zoo (by car), and the Royal Botanic Garden is just a short walk away, via the impressively clean Inverleith Park.

If you’re not encumbered with small folk, the city is your oyster and there’s also lots of nightlife in Stockbridge to explore.

Little extras

We arrived to a warm welcome from the house manager who swiftly and efficiently showed us everything we needed to know. We also received a welcome hamper, containing milk, orange juice, bread, wine, and the house provides some other food, such as jams and coffee pods. The decanter of whisky for guests to sample was a lovely touch too.

Guestbook comments

The perfect base for larger and extended families who want to explore the city.

Two nights minimum stay, January £756, July £1,000. Ten per cent off selected dates for January, February & March. The Victorian Townhouse @ Stockbridge, Learmonth Grove, Edinburgh,, 0131-202 1188