Escaping the city
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A city break with a difference
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I'll be totally honest here, I'm a city girl through and through.
I love the hustle and bustle, the vast array of restaurants and shops, the guarantee that you can find whatever you need within a ten minute radius.
But I'm the first to admit that sometimes it can get a little bit too much. A tad all consuming - and so it's important to escape the city once in awhile. And I don't just mean your home city.
It's exciting and really adds an element of adventure to a city break - when you actually venture out of it.
And so, that's what we challenged ourselves to do when planning our recent trip to Scotland.
Not only did we want to throw ourselves into the gorgeous Edinburgh, with it's stunning Christmas markets, hotels and streets of amazing restaurants. But we also wanted to hit the road and see where else we could find.
And so I hope you'll come along with us on this very exciting (but a little different) trip.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Avis
Photography by David Mitchell
"We fell in love with the gentle buzz of Edinburgh"
First up on our trip was of course, Edinburgh.
We'd previously visited several years back and absolutely fell in love with the stunning architecture, the warmness and friendliness of the locals and the gentle buzz that permeates the city.
So obviously, we didn't want to pass up an opportunity to explore it in the height of festive season, with Princes Street playing host to a mammoth Christmas market.
We stayed at the beautiful boutique Hotel du Vin, which is in a perfect location to enjoy all that the city has to offer, with a less expensive price tag.
While away your afternoon with a mosey around the expansive Christmas markets - stopping off for a Bailey's coffee or hot chocolate, which you can layer with your choice of toppings, marshmallows and cream.
If you're staying just one night like we did, you'll want to make the most of your dinner reservation - so head to Foundry 39 for some of the best cocktails and food you've ever had. Honestly, I'm not kidding.
Order the mulled wine and the sharing nachos.
They are homemade, incredibly moorish and quite easily the tastiest I've ever tried.
You also don't want to miss out on the camembert and pig in blanket burger - or the roast dinner (with all the trimmings) pizza. It's quite something!
After a restful sleep, head back to Edinburgh airport for the next part of your 'escaping the city' break.
Hiring A Car
Any adventurous road trip needs a vehicle to match.
And so having previously hired from Avis on our trips all over the world (FYI, they have over 5000 hiring locations in 170 countries), we booked a snazzy Mercedes E-Class through their app.
Queuing is the last thing you (or I) want to do, especially if you're making the most of a long weekend or a special occasion.
In busier periods, Avis staff use Pronto, a tablet that enables rentals to be processed. This means customers can begin to get served whilst queuing, rather than having to wait for a rental desk to become free.
Luckily for us, it was pretty quiet and so we were served by Avis staff at the rental desk - but it's handy to know if you have places to be and people to see, eh?
Similarly, if you're landing and picking up from a particular airport, you can activate the Avis Flight Arrival Notification.
This sends a text to those on delayed flights into the UK letting them know that Avis staff have been alerted and will be ready and waiting for them at their new arrival time.
Those clever guys really have thought of everything!
And if you're planning to escape the city on a whim, the Avis Delivers service means you can have your hire car delivered direct to your home and collected at the end of the hire period.
It means you have the flexibility to jet off as soon as you possibly can - without any detours. Plus it's only £20 each way when you book online or over the phone.
If you book before 12pm, you can have your chosen car delivered the same day!
Who fancies a spontaneous break?
Avis kindly let us have a wander in their carpark in order to triple check we were picking the perfect car for our adventure.
And before long, we were off, off and away!
Avis Car Rental operates one of the world’s best-known car rental brands with approximately 5,500 locations in approximately 170 countries. Avis has a long history of innovation in the car rental industry and is one of the world’s top brands for customer loyalty. Avis is owned by Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR), which operates and licenses the brand throughout the world. For more information, visit www.avis.com
"The town is buzzing with activity and illuminated by beautiful festive lights."
Of course, our destination of choice was the beautiful coastal town of St Andrews, located just one hour north of Edinburgh.
It's a beautiful drive, with stunning landscapes greeting you around every corner, praising you for your choice to escape the city.
Again, we decided to make the Hotel du Vin our base - wonderfully boutique, overlooking the sea and with a really warm, friendly feel.
Despite it's smaller size, the town is buzzing with activity and illuminated by beautiful festive lights.
Some streets even have entire sheets of light draped over, giving the impression of a stunning starry sky.
For a delicious Indian feast, head to Tulsi and order a few dishes to share - because otherwise you'll have complete food envy.
Dairy-free and vegan eaters can enjoy a chapati with their curry, as well as poppadums, dips and coconut rice.
After a calming night's sleep listening to the sound of the waves whispering on the rocky Scottish coast, awaken to a breakfast spread of champions.
Hotel du Vin offer cooked delights, such as avocado on toast, eggs Benedict and a full English (or should that be, Scottish?) plus unlimited cold options, such as chia pudding with almond milk and mango, cereals, toast and pastries.
Then, you can enjoy a coastal walk and a photo-shoot at St Andrews Cathedral. It really is quite something!
After working up an appetite, finish off your long weekend with a Mexican feast at Mammacita.
Steak fajita tacos, enormous piles of chicken tinga nachos and sweet potato fries will sustain your journey home.
And anything you don't eat, you can take for the road!
Watch our trip:
Have you ever turned a city break into a road trip? Do you have any recommendations for places we could do this to?