13 Best Places to Picnic in Edinburgh

13 Best Places to Picnic in Edinburgh

Temperatures are set to climb even further in the Capital today, with the Met Office forecasting a high of 29 degrees. A heatwave which could produce the hottest temperatures this year is sweeping across Scotland.

There’s no denying it – Edinburgh looks stunning in the sunshine. So make the most of the good weather by enjoying the great outdoors. We’ve listed the best places to enjoy a picnic.

1. Princes Street Gardens

It is the most central park in Edinburgh and definitely one of the busiest parks in town when it is sunny. In the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the Gardens were created in two phases in the 1770s and 1820s. Both run along the south side of Princes Street and are divided by The Mound. East Princes Street Gardens run from The Mound to Waverley Bridge and cover 8.5 acres (34,000 m2). The larger West Princes Street Gardens cover 29 acres (120,000 m2) and extend to the adjacent churches of St. John’s and St. Cuthbert’s, near Lothian Road in the west.

The Gardens are the best-known park in Edinburgh, having the highest awareness and visitor figures for both residents and visitors to the city. Various concerts and other events are held at the Ross Bandstand including the Festival Fireworks Concert, Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest, and during the city’s Hogmanay celebrations.

 

2. The Meadows

The Meadows is a large public park in the south of the city centre. It consists largely of open grassland crossed by tree-lined paths, but also has a children’s playground, a croquet club, tennis courts and recreational sports pitches. It is bordered by the University of Edinburgh’s George Square campus and the Quartermile development on the site of the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to the north and Marchmont to the south. To the south-west, it becomes Bruntsfield Links where there is a free, public pitch and putts golf course. It is one of the best places in the city to organise BBQ with friends!

3. Royal Botanic Garden

Just one mile from city centre, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh offers visitors peace and tranquillity amongst 72 acres of stunning scenery. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is one of the finest botanic gardens in the world.  A pleasure for all the family, the Garden offers fantastic views of the capital’s skyline, featuring Edinburgh Castle, and is located just a mile from the city centre.  Visitors can discover its fascinating history, which dates back 300 years, learn about its plantings and walk around 70 acres of beautiful landscape.

4. Harrison Park

#thecalmb4thestorm #nofilter

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Harrison Park is at the heart of a lovely community, shared by dog walkers, children, picnickers and duck feeders. It’s gorgeous in the summer and stunning in the autumn. It sits beside Union Canal, so throw down your blanket and get the sandwiches out and watch the world go by!

4. Granny’s Green – The Grassmarket

Favourite go-to spot after getting a scoop or two at Mary's milk bar

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Nestled right under Edinburgh Castle, this spot on a summer’s evening is perfection! You are surrounded by little cafes and bars, so this is a great spot for an impromptu picnic. Located in The Grassmarket, it can get quite busy so get down early and enjoy the sun all day!

5. Calton Hill

One of the seven hills of Edinburgh, it’s well worth the short steep walk with your picnic to the top of Calton Hill. The historic site is in the centre of the city and overlooks the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. With such vast and stunning views down over the city, Calton Hill is popular with picnic-ers on the rare Edinburgh sunny day.

6. Blackford Hill


Blackford Hill is towards the south of the city and popular with dog walkers and weekend hikers. From here you can see Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill and, on a clear day, all the way out across the Firth of Forth.

7. Inverleith Park

Inverleith Park was made for picnics. Meticulously manicured grassy parkland, lovely trees, and a resplendent sundial garden all add to the appeal. Once more, those looking to congregate in large groups, toss a ball about, meander over the quaint wooden bridge, or explore surrounding flora and fauna, will be in their element. Such a prime spot demands a perfect picnic.

8. Portobello Beach

Portobello is a coastal suburb of Edinburgh. Once known as a beach resort, it is located three miles (5 km) to the east of the city centre, facing the Firth of Forth, in eastern central Scotland. Although historically it was a town in its own right, and is often seen as such by its inhabitants, it is now a residential suburb of Edinburgh, with a promenade fronting on to the wide sand beach. It lies between the suburbs of Joppa and Craigentinny.

 

9. Cramond Beach

 

A bracing trip to the sea front

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Enjoy the feel of an old fishing village which the suburb of Cramond still retains. There is plenty of history to see in the area too with Cramond boasting one of the longest known periods of human settlement, and refreshments are available at the nearby pub or the nice coffee shop.

10. Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat may be a predictable choice and yet, it still never ceases to enrapture the people who walk it. Every time something new arises, whether it’s an added entity in the skyline or an uncharted route graced with new but equally astounding views. If lugging a picnic to the top doesn’t sound like too much of a headache, the vision of the city (and beyond) will erase all images of arduous power walking. That, and some surprisingly delicious Scottish BBQ from Reekie’s Smokehouse. Perfectly placed nearby, this family-run eatery is a winner in the meat, coffee, beer and cake game. Quick and easy, consider this a wonderfully spontaneous kind of Scottish picnic experience — no fuss, no frills — just good food and views.

 

11. Pentlands

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Star in your own film and escape for a picnic in the Pentlands. Rolling hills, picture-perfect streams and views worth knowing about make this an ideal spot to throw down that checkered blanket and soak up the serenity. Adventure junkies will see this as an exploration opportunity, which may or may not cut into valuable eating time. Budding romanticists, on the other hand, will see this as a blissfully remote location. Strategically placed at the foot of the Pentlands is The Secret Herb Garden. This herb nursery hosts a café filled with produce harvested on site, along with various jams, chutneys and jellies.

Near Edinburgh, there is also some great spots!

12. North Berwick

 

13. Yellowcraig

 

Yellowcraig is a natural cove beach with spectacular views to the 1885 lighthouse on Fidra Island, the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson famous tale Treasure Island.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018: Leap into the unknown

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018: Leap into the unknown

Summer is the festival season in many countries around the world. But nothing compares to a summer in Edinburgh. Why? Because of the fabulous weather we have here in August? Well, not exactly … Here, August is the month of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. For more than 70 years now, Scotland’s capital has been the host of the biggest international festival in the world which is now regarded as the greatest outlet for creativity and freedom of artistic expression.

 

With more than 3,000 acts in just three weeks, the Edinburgh Fringe has something for everyone. Take your pick from cabaret, comedy, dance, circus, music, theatre, street art and many more. You are bound to find something to your taste!

Admittedly, the Fringe can be intimidating for a first-timer. Believe me, even locals sometimes can’t wrap their head around it! The city triples in size and you won’t find a single street that is not bursting with life! So here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your time at the EdFringe.

Dates

This year, the festival will run from 03rd to 27th August.

What’s on?

In addition to the numerous shows happening in the 300-something venues all over the city, the Fringe also has street events in their street performance spaces located in the heart of the city: High Street (on the Royal Mile) and the Mound Precinct.

 

 

These vibrant spaces are the perfect opportunity to enjoy street performers, buskers, living statues, arts and craft markets, and much more. It’s also a place where you can “try before you buy”: hundreds of Fringe performers offer free previews of their shows across the Street Events stages. The perfect opportunity to choose which show you’ll be going to!

Schedule and info

As it would be impossible to give you an exhaustive schedule here, the best thing to do is to head to the EdFringe website itself and peruse all the shows listed here: www.edfringe.com

If you’re on the go, don’t forget about the official EdFringe app (available for iPhone and Android) to plan and book the shows you’re interested in. They also have Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, regularly updated with news from the festival.

Team’s Choice

Here is a list of a few recurring shows that happen at the Fringe, which the Inlingua team loves and recommends!

Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Band Musical

One of the biggest sell-outs from previous years, this improv musical comedy show will have you bursting with laughter for a full hour. The show runs every day at 20.00 at the Assembly George Square Studio!

Jason Byrne: You Can Come in, But Don’t Start Anything

This Irish stand-up comedian is a true Fringe legend! He plays almost every day at 21.00 at the Assembly Hall on the Mound Place. If you go to see him, better not be shy because his live shows often involve lots of audience participation!

The Lady Boys of Bangkok – Wonder Women Tour 

This cabaret style show mixes humour, entertainment, glitter and glamour to deliver a one-of-a-kind fabulous performance. With comedy, music and high-end fashion costumes, this show is a favourite among Fringe goers! Rest assured, the Lady Boys perform several times per day, every day of the Fringe; you will get a chance to catch their show!

 

The Japanese Marvellous Drummers

Using traditional Japanese instruments, The Japanese Marvellous Drummers combine music with dance and humour to bring you an extraordinary demonstration of rhythm and talent that will leave you in awe. You will find them playing almost every day at the Assembly George Square Theatre!

 

Sugar Rush: The Best of the Fringe

For the most indecisive of you, the Best of the Fringe is the way to go. Every day, four different artists will perform their best stuff for you (acts that usually are not featured in their solo shows!), so it’s a good way to try before you buy without spoiling the surprise!

Bear in mind that this selection is just based on personal preferences and that it may not be for everyone!

I hope you enjoy your time in Edinburgh and at the Fringe! I will leave you with this last piece of advice: take a risk!

The entire spirit of the Fringe revolves around discovery and creativity without boundaries. Walk along the streets, stop at the first show you see, don’t plan every second of your stay: take a chance and you might be very surprised by what you will discover!

The 2018 Fringe Programme is now here!

The official Fringe App is now available to download and includes all of the shows registered in the 2018 Fringe Programme.

Jupiter Artland: The beautiful modern art park near Edinburgh you can’t miss!

Jupiter Artland: The beautiful modern art park near Edinburgh you can’t miss!

Jupiter Artland is a large sculpture park near Edinburgh open to the public half the year. The garden is a collaboration between the family, the artists and the landscape. All the works are site specific and personal to Jupiter.

The end product is a journey, narrated by the various artists who are given the freedom to express themselves in the landscape. The transitory nature of the sculpture park makes it hard to believe it is only ten miles outside of Edinburgh.

Recently nominated for the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year award, Jupiter is open to the public half the year.

 

Bus route

There is a direct bus from central Edinburgh and the journey takes 35 minutes. The number 27 and X27 First Bus leaves from Edinburgh (Regent Rd) or from Dalry Road, Haymarket. The bus driver will stop at a bus stop called Jupiter Artland.

On your way back to Edinburgh, you would find the bus stop just to the right of the main gates as you leave Jupiter. Currently the West Lothian Council have removed the bus stop, but buses still stop if signalled to.

Prices

  • Adult – £8.50
  • Student – £4.50

Bonnington House Steadings, Nr Wilkieston, Edinburgh, EH27 8BB
www.jupiterartland.org

Let’s Get Tattoed

Let’s Get Tattoed

Pictures by CJCS via Flickr – All rights reserved.

If you’re a fan of the City of Edinburgh, you probably know all about its summer festivals. The Edinburgh Fringe is most probably the world’s largest arts festival and usually runs throughout the entire month of August every year. Among the hundreds of shows offered to the public stands the exceptional Tattoo set-up.

Did I say tattoo? Why, yes indeed! But it might not be exactly what you have in mind. By tattoo, you should understand a military music performance or display of armed forces. The term originated in the 17th-century and comes from the old Dutch phrase “doe den tap toe” which means “turn off the tap”. It refers to the ancient drum signal for tavern owners to stop serving drinks to soldiers at a reasonable enough hour. Later on, the term “tattoo” was used to talk about evening musical entertainment played by soldiers.

During the Edinburgh Festival, the Royal Military Tattoo performs every night in front of up to 8,800 people and brings together performers from over 45 different countries. The show has been taking place since 1950 and now allows around 220,000 lucky spectators to enjoy the live performance every year. It takes place on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle and combines everything from military music to dance, theatre performances, and even amazing firework displays!

If you’re planning on coming to Edinburgh this summer, don’t miss out on this breath-taking performance. Be sure to book your ticket in advance because they sell like hotcakes every year! It would be a shame not to go, but don’t take my word for it: if you’re still unsure, check out the videos below from previous years!

 

 

 

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival 2018

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival 2018

It’s a well-known fact that the City of Edinburgh offers an abundance of festivals all year long to its citizens and countless tourists and May is no exception. A couple of weeks ago, the Leith-situated Biscuit Factory welcomed the second annual Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival. And it delivered!

 

 

The London-based company is all about promoting and celebrating modern beer culture: with some 40 different breweries, around 3,500 visitors over three days, music, DJs and incredible street food, the key word of the weekend was: “discovery”. The organiser, Greg Wells, tells it himself in the preliminary note to this year’s magazine: “Please feel free to try everything on offer. You are a kid in a sweet shop”. … And try, we did!

 

 

With the sunny weather on our side, we entered the festival with smiles on our faces, received our wristbands, magazines and glasses, and boldly made our way into the amazing venue. Take a look at the pictures and videos below for a sneak peak of what was on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those who missed this year’s festival, do not despair; the Edinburgh Craft Beer festival WILL be back in June 2019! In the meantime, for the most impatient of you, you can still get tickets for this summer’s London Craft Beer Festival (3rd-5th August). Hurry up before they are all gone!

 

 

Experience a proper hill walk on an ancient volcano in the heart of Edinburgh!

Experience a proper hill walk on an ancient volcano in the heart of Edinburgh!

Pictures by Louison Guicheteau all rights reserved.

Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano, is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh which form most of Holyrood Park. It is situated just to the east of the city centre, about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 250.5 m (822 ft), provides excellent panoramic views of the city and beyond, is relatively easy to climb, and is popular for hillwalking.

Though it can be climbed from almost any direction, the easiest and simplest ascent is from the east, where a grassy slope rises above Dunsapie Loch. At a spur of the hill, Salisbury Crags has historically been a rock climbing venue with routes of various degrees of difficulty; however due to hazards rock climbing is now restricted to the South Quarry and a free permit is required.

It is also the site of a large and well preserved fort.  This is one of four hill forts dating from around 2000 years ago.  With its diverse range of flora and geology it is also site of Special Scientific Interest.

Experience a proper hill walk in the heart of the city. Arthur’s Seat’s rocky summit towers over Edinburgh, with fabulous views in all directions, and the extensive parkland surrounding it is an oasis of calm as a retreat from the busy city.

 

Within the park you can also visit St Anthony’s Chapel – a 15th century medieval chapel, Salisbury Crags – a series of 150 foot cliff faces dominating Edinburgh’s skyline as well as Duddingston Loch – a fresh water loch rich in birdlife.

Mythology

Arthur’s Seat is often mentioned as one of the possible locations for Camelot, the legendary castle and court of the Romano-British warrior-chief, King Arthur.

Tradition has it that it was at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, covered by the forest of Drumselch, that Scotland’s 12th-century king David I encountered a stag while out hunting. Having fallen from his horse and about to be gored, he had a vision of a cross appearing between the animal’s antlers, before it inexplicably turned away, leaving him unharmed. David, believing his life had been spared through divine intervention, founded Holyrood Abbey on the spot. The burgh arms of the Canongate display the head of the stag with the cross framed by its antlers.

The slopes of the hill facing Holyrood are where young girls in Edinburgh traditionally bathe their faces in the dew on May Day to make themselves more beautiful. The poem ‘Auld Reekie’, written by Robert Fergusson in 1773, contains the lines:

On May-day, in a fairy ring,
We’ve seen them round St Anthon’s spring,
Frae grass the cauler dew draps wring
To weet their een,
And water clear as crystal spring
To synd them clean