Posts Tagged ‘what to do in edinburgh’

I find the history of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh a fascinating one. 

Holyrood Abbey was founded on the site in 1128 by David I, King of Scotland, and the palace was built in various stages right beside. 

Holyrood is now an imposing ruin next to the palace which is the official royal residence in Edinburgh.

Standing at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace was built with an inner quadrangle, in the French style, and contains a chapel, gallery, royal apartments and a great hall.

Its history is wonderfully rich, one of its most notable residents being Mary Queen of Scots.  Married at just 15 and widowed at 19, Mary returned to Scotland and was crowned at Holyrood Palace. 

Among the many interesting things to see are the wooden ceilings in Mary’s quarters which date back to when she lived there.  The walls on this, the northern side, were initially built with a view to defense and are very thick, while on the opposite side, despite the external symmetry and similarity, they are much thinner and were built at a later stage.

Members of the public can  visit the infamous north turret, where on 9 March 1565, Mary’s Italian secretary David Rizzio was murdered by her jealous second husband Lord Darnley. 

It was reported at the time that the poor Rizzio was stabbed an astounding 57 times, in Mary’s presence….a tragic and gruesome tale.  Visitors to the palace since that time have claimed to see blood stains on the floor where it happened.

Another interesting occupant was Bonnie Prince Charlie – the palace served as his Head Quarters during the 1745 uprising.

The palace is open for most of the year, but is closed when the Queen and members of the Royal family are visiting. 

If you are planning a stay in Edinburgh it is well worth a visit.  For accommodation in Edinburgh visit www.edinburghselfcatering.org.


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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!

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Now is a great time to visit Edinburgh and for all your accommodation needs visit www.edinburghselfcatering.org.  For our guide to whats on to see and do in the city now click here.

…And if you’re thinking of visiting the city of Edinburgh during January 2010 here are some of our top ideas for things to do : 

  • Try some winter walking.  There are beautiful cobbled streets to amble along in the city itself…or try a bracing walk up Arther’s Seat for spectacular views of the city below.  The accommodation available at www.edinburghselfcatering.org is within close reach of Arthur’s Seat and offers stunning views of this ancient impressive mountain from the living room.

Spectacular views of Arthurs Seat from this stylish modern apartment available from http://www.edinburghselfcatering.org

  • Go and see Peter Pan on now until 03 Jan 10 – The classic story of Peter Pan comes to life in this festive family show – Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AX – www.lyceum.org.uk
  • Take part in the Great Winter Run on 09 Jan 10 – It’s a 5K run around Holyrood Park – Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh EH16 5BT – www.greatrun.org
  • Why not see We Will Rock You on until 09 Jan 10 – A glittering musical written by Ben Elton and featuring the classic songs of legendary band Queen – Edinburgh Playhouse, 18–22 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA – www.edinburghplayhouse.org.uk
  • Take a look around the  BP Portrait Award (12 Dec 09 – 21 Feb 10) – This year the Dean Gallery puts on the popular contemporary portrait exhibition of 56 finalists, due to the temporary closure of the Portrait Gallery – Dean Gallery, 73 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DS – www.nationalgalleries.org.  From intimate and personal images of friends and family to revealing portraits of celebrity sitters, this exhibition presents a variety of styles and approaches that illustrate the vitality of contemporary portrait painting.


  • See  Robinson Crusoe & The Caribbean Pirates on until 17 Jan 10 – The King’s Theatre festive pantomime, fun for all the family – King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LQ – www.eft.co.uk

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