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Archive for the ‘Edinburgh for children’ Category

 

Cycling or walking over the Forth Road Bridge is a great thrill. Between the two bridges (road and rail) is the pretty coastal village of Queensferry which is worth a visit in itself for it’s sea front, habour areas, sailing school, museum and various galleries,shops, cafe’s and restaurants.

From Queensferry you can take boat trips –  for example to the Isle of May  which has a large colony of seals and is a popular destination for  bird spotting. Hopetoun and Dalmeny Houses  are nearby – both are open to the public.  Incholm island lies close to the rail bridge – interesting for its fortifications built for protecting Rosythe during the world wars.

In Edinburgh there are excellent cycling routes, often on disused railway routes, and you can get from the centre of the city out to the Forth Bridges avoiding most of the busy roads. Here are some photos from a ride I did recently. I took the roads for the sake of speed, only having 2 hours to spare. 

My route took me along London Rd on to Leith Walk and then on to Queen Street; through Ainslie Place and Randolph Crescent on to Queensferry St/ A90. I stopped on Dean Bridge, crossing the Water of Leith (which has an excellent walkway with access to the Modern Art Museum, Stockbridge and the Botanic Gardens). Here I took the first few photos shown below. I continued on the Queensferry Rd (A 90) as far as Burnshot Wood, where a cycle route takes you along the B924, past Dalmeny House and down into South Queensferry beneath the Rail Bridge. To get onto the road bridge I continued along the Hopetoun Rd until it runs beneath the bridge and there is a foot/bicycle access up to the bridge from this point. Distance of the round trip is about 25 miles.

Cycle routes and links to other information about possible activities can be found on the activities page of  the apartment website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Any holiday  spent in Edinburgh deserves to include a visit to the delightful Royal Botanic Gardens.

Although not on the same scale as Kew (a mere 70 acres), these gardens have just as much charm and a wonderful amount of variety. Like Kew there are some huge glass houses within the gardens.  Ten separate rooms in these glasshouses are designed to create as many different climates and habitats so it is, of course, like rapidly passing from one part of the world to another.

There are huge palms, giant waterlilies, and the largest collection of wild Chinese plants outside China.

Outside highlights include the Arboretum, the Scottish Heath garden, the renowned Alpine Rock Garden, the glorious 165 foot herbaceous border and the Woodland Garden.

As a family outing this is an ideal environment. Children can roam freely – ambushing parents, or just be pushed around in buggies –  whilst discovering a wide variety of birds and remarkably bold squirrels.

Picnicking is an excellent option – but there are very good eating options in the grounds also for meals or just coffee.

If you fancy a guided walk, the garden rangers offer a free service most days of the week at particular times of the day. You can find details through the Edinburgh Activities page on the apartment website.

The gardens also contain a building, Inverleith House that hosts  exhibitions throughout the year. Currently there is a sculpture exhibition by Karla Black along with paintings by Bet Low. Past exhibitions include a favorite of mine – Andy Goldsworthy. He used the space as the starting point for his inspiration, dividing one room entirely with a delicate lattice work of chestnut leaf stalks.

Elsewhere in the garden there is a craft project called “The Wych Elm Project”, running until 21st March 2010. This was inspired by the felling of a huge Elm in 2003. The wood is now being used to create a wide variety of works by craftsmen such as wood carvers and wood turners.

I hope this gives you the inspiration to visit the gardens – they are certainly worthwhile – and if you’ve anything to add let me know!

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Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat are perhaps the greatest leisure asset that Edinburgh possesses. Such a resource is pretty unique within a big city  – and they’re  only a few minutes walk from the apartment

 

Walk to the top of Arthur’s Seat –  why not take a picnic and possibly a kite!  The extinct volcano that forms Arthur’s Seat affords a superb panoramic view  (http://www.panoguide.com/gallery/1154/view_pp/?w=1280&h=770) from it’s peak of 251m – the city – Edinburgh Castle, Scott’s Monument, Murrayfield, Calton Hill, the Firth of Forth with the 2 Forth Bridges and its islands – Cramond Island, Incholm, the Isle of May. Follow the coastline from the docks at Leith to the seafront at Portobello to Musselbrugh and then along to the sandy beaches of  Gullane and beyond towards North Berwick. Then turn south west towards the Pentland hills – a fabulous area for walks, cycling, skiing, even paragliding just outside the city. You could try being there for sunrise or sunset.

Guided walk  Every Wednesday afternoon the park ranger service offers a free guided walk around Arthur’s Seat starting at 1pm. Advance telephone booking is required.

Bouldering  the area contains some fantastic rock faces – notably around Salisbury Crags – where climbing clubs often practice their skills. Bouldering is free climbing that tends to traverse the rock face. Climbing skills are tested but the climber does not climb to a dangerous height. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rA2g-vHk9g&feature=related 

Cycling. The park is encircled by a road that provides a great circuit for a bike. Three times around would be a very good work out with a good mixture of climbing, flat and downhill. For more variety the cyclist can include a loop following the “Innocent Railway” bicycle track to Duddingston village around Duddingston Loch and then back up past Duddingston Kirk on the south side of Arthur’s Seat.

Duddingston Loch behind Arthur's Seat

Birdwatching. 3 lochs in the Park area provide a great attraction for water birds. You could see anything from swans and ducks to hawks that can often be seen hovering over the heathy areas typically hunting rabbits. Join in with an RSPB bird watching event in the park.

Running. Holyrood park has been the venue for the World cross country running championships and hosts running events each year. The runner has a great choice of routes and terrain. Whether running on paths around the periphery or choosing to test himself on the steep ascents of Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat.

Sledging  in snowy weather there is endless fun to be had on the slopes of Arthur’s seat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oJ68VRijc4&feature=related

You’d be amazed at the capers people get up to on Arthur’s seat. See some of their contributions on Youtube:

Puppeteering

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy-z614vExc&feature=related

Mountainboarding

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvm56afxWss

Bagpiping

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_3Jght8rmw 

Sword fighting!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEXlLcnmwlo

Have you done anything on Arthur’s seat you’d like to tell us about? – We’d love to hear from you!

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