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Edinburgh

Beautiful city of Edinburgh!
Where the tourist can drown his sorrow
By viewing your monuments and statues fine
During the lovely summer-time.

 

I’m sure it will his spirits cheer
As Sir Walter Scott’s monument he draws near,
That stands in East Prince’s Street
Amongst flowery gardens, fine and neat.

And Edinburgh Castle is magnificent to be seen
With its beautiful walks and trees so green,
Which seems like a fairy dell;
And near by its rocky basement is St Margaret’s Well,
Where the tourist can drink at when he feels dry,
And view the castle from beneath so very high,
Which seems almost towering to the sky.

Then as for Nelson’s monument that stands on Calton Hill,
As the tourist gazes thereon, with wonder his heart does fill
As he thinks on Admiral Nelson who did the Frenchmen kill,

 

Then, as for Salisbury Crags, they are most beautiful to be seen,
Especially in the month of June, when the grass is green;
There numerous mole-hills can be seen,
And the busy little creatures howking away,
Searching for worms among the clay;
And as the tourist’s eye does wander to and fro
From the south side of Salisbury Crags below,

 

His bosom with admiration feels all aglow
As he views the beautiful scenery in the valley below;
And if, with an observant eye, the little loch beneath he scans,
He can see the wild ducks about and beautiful white swans.

Then, as for Arthur’s Seat, I’m sure it is a treat
Most worthy to be seen, with its rugged rocks and pastures green,
And the sheep browsing on its sides
To and fro, with slow-paced strides,
And the little lambkins at play
During the livelong summer day,

 

Beautiful city of Edinburgh! the truth to express,
Your beauties are matchless I must confess,
And which no one dare gainsay,
But that you are the grandest city in Scotland at the present day!

 

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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!

If you are thinking of going away for Valentine’s day consider visiting Edinburgh. 

Steeped in history the city boasts breathtaking art in its many galleries, beautiful winter walks on Arthur’s Seat and the Pentland Hills, and some of the best restaurants in the UK. 

Arthur's Seat

…And we think our stylish apartment  is the perfect place to stay.  Close to the city centre, it boasts great views of Arthur’s seat and has beautifully presented rooms, equipped to the highest of standards. 

If Love Fables & Mysteries are your kind of thing, visit the Roxy Art House  from 24th to 27th of February for poetry, drama and music.

For more information about what’s on in Edinburgh during February visit our calendar  here. Highlights include Arthur Miller’s “The Price” at the Lyceum Theatre, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Festival Theatre, The Sound of Music at the Playhouse, a figure drawing class with artist Claudia Petretti, The Scottish National Orchestra performing Tristan and Isolde at the Usher Hall, the Edinburgh Quartet at the Queen’s Hall, comedian Dave Gorman and Ballet Rambert.

 

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!

Having loved the city of Edinburgh for many years, we are always eager for people to have a happy stay when they come to our apartment

Our visitors are sure of a lovely welcome from Diane who greets them on arrival, and we give our attention to the details – beautifully presented rooms;  fluffy towels; a well equipped kitchen; a starter pack  of drinks and  Scottish shortbread on arrival;  guide books and Edinburgh maps; a selection of literature with Edinburgh and Scottish themes; a good selection of dvds; free postcards with the view from the apartment; a high chair and a cot available; a yoga mat; internet on request;  toys and games for toddlers to adults …its the little things that we hope make all the difference….

…And it makes it all worthwhile when we hear how happy people have been during their stay.  So if you are thinking of booking the apartment we thought you might want to hear some of the things people have said about www.edinburghselfcatering.org.

“All I can say is that you have a wonderful apartment! “

“…My party and I were very pleased with the welcome, layout and presentation…”

“As for the views, they were stunning….”

 

 

“I see only one big mistake our stay was too short. I hope I’ll come back next year…”

“The flat was lovely and clean and the info left was brill!”

“..Thank you very much for letting us use your lovely apartment – it was ideal for our family…”

“..The apartment was perfect and Diane was very helpful and friendly…”  

“So much better than being cramped up in a hotel!  You have a beautiful place.  Thanks again..”

“..We enjoyed our stay and the accommodation was great.  It was also a great location for us to travel to and from the city..”


Sandy Bells Pub and Folk Music venue

A quick visit to the apartment enabled me last night to visit Sandy Bell’s. This small bar amazingly hosts Folk music every night. The musicians are just a part of the ambience – not expecting or seeking huge applause – but dedicated to what they are doing. Each night there is a different band. I heard a line up of Fiddle, Flute, Box accordeon, Uillean pipes, and bouzouki.

The musicians were  very approachable – I asked Cathy, the fiddler for advice about sources of music for my own playing. She was very keen to suggest players that I might listen to in order to pick up repertoire and the style of playing which can’t really be effectively shown in notes on a page of music.

Some suggestions she  made were Scottish Fiddler Alisdair Fraser who plays with Cellist Natalie Haas, Shetland fiddlers Aly Bain and Chris Stout, Irish fiddler Martin Hayes with Guitarist Dennis Cahill,  Accordionist Andy Cutting, and Guitarist Martin Simpson.

Music at Sandy Bells starts from about 9pm every night.

Why not make this a part of your stay in Edinburgh!

Sandy Bells is in situated in the University area of  Edinburgh Old Town, very near to the Museum of Scotland. 

Thanks to all at Sandy Bells for a great evening!

If you want a real treat in February, come to Edinburgh and see Connie Fisher as Maria in the world’s best-loved musical, THE SOUND OF MUSIC.  Performances are being held at the Edinburgh Playhouse from 19th January until 20th of February.

This rather lavish and highly acclaimed production, direct from the London Palladium, tells the story of the Von Trapp family’s flight across the mountains and works its magic once again, for young and old alike.

With its unforgettable score that includes some of the most memorable songs ever performed on the musical stage including My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, , and of course the glorious title song The Sound of Music, it’s the perfect family treat.

For all your accomodation needs when in Edinburgh visit www.edinburghselfcatering.org. Find a link to the Playhouse on the Edinburgh Activities page.

 

Centrally located stylish apartment available at http://www.edinburghselfcatering.org