Some visitors to Edinburgh insist on staying right in the heart of the city, but we would be happy to stay in Newington Cottage, despite the 10-minute bus ride. Freda Mickel and her husband opened in 1996 and quickly established themselves among Edinburgh's upmarket bed-and-breakfasts. Their Regency villa was built in 1832 by Thomas Hamilton, who also designed the old Royal High School which has been earmarked as the new Scottish parliament building.
  The house was derelict when the Mickels took over and they admit that the renovation was a labour of love. They restored the elaborate mouldings and chose antiques and reproduction furniture to suit the period. The result is delightfully light and airy. Bedrooms are more like bed-sitting rooms, they are so spacious, one guest told us, and the bathrooms are equally generous. The garden and quiet setting are added advantages. Freda Mickel does not offer dinner, since most guests prefer to eat in the city. Although guests have to park their cars on the street, the meters are inexpensive.