Tonight is Bonfire Night across the UK! It’s traditionally celebrated by setting off fireworks and burning a ‘Guy’ (an effigy made of straw or paper and old clothes) on a bonfire.
This event held annually on 5th November commemorates the gunpowder plot of 1605 when a group of Catholics plotted to assassinate the Protestant King James (known as James I of England and James VI of Scotland) by blowing up the Houses of Parliament in London. The plan failed and the plotters were found guilty of high treason and were hung, drawn and quartered. Guy Fawkes, the man in charge of the explosives, became the most notorious of the group. Bonfire Night is sometimes referred to as Guy Fawkes Night, and the straw man or ‘Guy’ that is traditionally burnt on the bonfire is named after him.
Whether you live in Edinburgh, or close by, this year there are more events than ever to help you celebrate Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up the House of Lords. If you’re in the city centre then head to Meadowbank Annual Fireworks Display tonight, where gates open at 6pm and fireworks burst from 7.30pm.
During the winter months in Edinburgh, you will have not only the possibility to experience seasonal events but also the opportunity to re-discover the city from a new point of view. From the Christmas market to New Year’s day, Edinburgh has so many different things to do, you will surely find something you love…
The two most famous places to go shopping in Edinburgh are undoubtedly Princes Street and George Street. But the beautiful Victoria Street in the old town is also a great place to find a variety of shops, bistros, restaurants and cafes. It also has its very own dedicated Christmas Shop which is open all year round!
The Christmas Market
The Christmas Market (also called the European Christmas Market) takes place each year from 19th November until the 7th January and is located on East Princes Street Gardens. This market is said to be quite romantic. There, you can buy food, drinks, gifts and crafts from around the world.
Walks in the snow
The Meadows is a large public park. Sometimes, during winter, it’s beautifully covered by the snow and children (but also adults) usually like to play there. There is also the Royal Botanic Garden which is nice to see and walk in when there is snow.
Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay
Edinburgh New Year (known as Hogmanay in Scotland) and Christmas are the biggest and most famous events taking place in winter. During those days, many events and activities will run in and around the city. If you want to have more information on the activities taking place during this time, please have a look at this blog.
Theatre, Ballet, Pantomime…
Edinburgh also has a wide range of different cultural activities for the winter. On the programme: theatre, ballet, circuses and pantomime. Whichever cultural event you would like to watch, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Just remember to book your tickets early! Black Beauty at The Traverse theatre is a famous classic tale which will be performed on stage during December in Edinburgh.
Make a Christmas wreath
On 17th and 18th December, you can learn how to make your very own Christmas wreath from scratch with at Lauriston Castle. During the workshop, you will create a beautiful giant wreath using fresh greenery grown at the castle.
The UK’s biggest touring cheese festival heading to Edinburgh again!
Foodies will be able to taste some of the finest produce being offered by UK traders
Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November 2018
From traditional cheeses to Mozzarella sticks, halloumi fries and the most amazing mac and cheese expect to learn about all types of cheese, wines and the best beers that go along with those cheeses at a day that will melt you into a deep love of all things cheese.
This year’s festival, held at the Corn Exchange, was initially set to run on the Saturday only – but a surge in the demand for tickets has resulted in the Sunday extension. This will be the second time that Cheese Fest has come to the capital, and there will be a host of brand new cookery demonstrations taking place throughout the day. Among those showcasing their skills will be Sean Wilson, an award-winning cheese maker.
The CheeseFest 2018 will bring even more vendors and brand new to Edinburgh …
Live bands and music all day
Outdoor hot food arena and food market open all day
Graffiti artists from across the UK and Europe will descend on the Capital this weekend to work their magic on a stretch of wall close to Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal. The Rock the Dock Graffiti Jam on Saturday 1 September aims to create the UK’s longest legal graffiti wall at Marine Parade.
Supported by the Council, which has helped bring together representatives from various local organisations, as well as clearing and preparing the land around the wall, Rock the Dock will see 60 graffiti artists from Scotland, England, Ireland, Poland, Spain and Germany decorate a section each of the wall.
The Council-owned site forms part of the proposed tram to Newhaven but this initiative is seen as an ideal opportunity to breathe new life into the area prior to work getting underway (should the project get the go-ahead).
With 330m in total being decorated (165m on each side), the temporary graffiti wall will become the UK’s longest, surpassing the current longest one in Dundee by 190m.
The eventis open to all and will run throughout the day between 9am and 9pm, with three free workshops at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Anyone interested in attending a workshop can book a place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s also possible to walk over the causeway to the island at low tide – do keep an eye on the tides though as it is possible to get stranded on the island.
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.
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.
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.
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. It is a popular family beach, which offers a nature trail, barbecue site (which must be pre-booked with the council) and a network of footpaths through the sheltered woodlands and extensive grassland.
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.
This year, the festival will run from 03rd to 27th August.
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.
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!