Sat. Oct 1st, 2022
THE Clash classic ‘London Calling’ was playing on repeat in my head.

It had been nearly three years since I’d been last able to visit — thanks Covid — and I needed my fix of the big city.

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London is a great city for a weekend away[/caption]

Rooms come in various categories at Middle Eight, but all offer luxury and comfort
One of the suites at the Middle Eight, offering outside views and living walls

But having heard, written and read about the chaos engulfing our airports, this time I turned my back on flying and let the train take the strain.

And I earned even more green points when I jumped onboard Lumo’s new all-electric service from Edinburgh which whisked me there in just over four-and-a-half hours.

Given that you need to rock up at airports an hour before your flight — and more nowadays to be sure to actually catch it — and then factor in the hour in the air and the journey into town once you arrive at one of the out-of-the-city airports there’s probably not much in it.

But where you do definitely win is in price.

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My Lumo return was just £53.80 and arriving straight into the centre of things at Kings Cross I was ready to start my holiday straight away, without forking out another fortune on more costly train fares unto the city centre from airport — oh and it cost nothing to take my case or choose my seat either!

Inside, the carriages are fairly spacious, and configured more like a plane than a traditional train with two seats either side of an aisle rather than a table with four seats.

The seats have reasonable legroom and you can personalise the lighting via a button on the back of the seat in front, and laptops and phones can be charged with plug sockets and USB ports behind each chair.

There’s also headrests and a pull-down tray table — much like your average train — but there will be no first-class seats, all passengers are equal at Lumo.


Two stops on the underground later and I was at the Middle Eight Hotel — an oasis of calm and laid-back luxury in fabulous Covent Garden.

Check in was sdone from the comfort of the sofas in the recpetion area as staff came to you, armed with ipads and huge wlecoming smiles.

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Trendy Covent Garden Market hall has shops, pubs, restaurants and much more[/caption]

It was so handy for all of my meetings, a few minutes walk from Covent Garden Market with it’s trendy eateries, bars and shops.

I was only in my plush Urban Deluxe room for a matter of minutes before there was a knock on the door and a lovely staff member greeted me with a cool house speciality cocktail- and I needed it as the mercury was hitting 28°C outside. Gin, prosecco, rosemary, tonic . . . what’s not to like?

The room was huge, with a corner sofa, desk, massive comfy bed where I slept like Goldilocks, and modern double-sized walk-in rain shower in the bathroom.

GO: LONDON

GETTING THERE: Return tickets from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross on Lumo start from £53.80. See lumo.co.uk
STAYING THERE: Rooms at the Middle Eight start from £285 a night. Book at middleeight.com

A quick spruce up and I was most definitely ready for dinner at the hotel’s well-reviewed Sycamore Vino Cucina restaurant.

A friend joined me and we had a fabulous evening of great food, wine and laughs, with service to match from the friendliest staff.

Calamari and burrata starters were polished off quick time, followed by pizza with mushrooms, truffle oil and artichoke for my pal and cod with fennel and shallot sauce for moi. Both got the big thumbs up.

Dessert here is a dream with mouthwatering Sicilian watermelon pudding, tiramisu and of course ice-cream.

It was all washed down with some lovely Italian red wine for me and a delocious non-alcoholic cocktail for my pal.

The hotel’s Sycamore Vino Cucina restaurant
The hotel’s bar is a great place to meet friends

Breakfast is also served here, with all the usual suspects from cereal, yoghurt and pastries to full fry up, poached eggs with avocado on sourdough, meats and cheeses and healthy options including green and healing smoothies, fruits and muesli.

I stocked up for sure before doing all the tourist stuff.

Then a night out with pals in a lovely pub was the perfect end to the perfect day in the big smoke.

Back in the bliss of my air conditioned room, I was asleep almost before my head hit the pillow.

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Another fabulous breakfast feast the next morning saw me on my way back to Kings Cross for the four-and-a-half hour painless train journey back to Scotland.

As we pulled out of the station I swear I could hear London Calling me back.

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Let the Lumo train take the strain on your next trip to London[/caption]

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