Why Spring is the Perfect Time to Visit Edinburgh

Why Spring is the Perfect Time to Visit Edinburgh

We love Edinburgh all year round but spring can be a fantastic time to see the city at its best. Here are some reasons why we think spring is the perfect time to visit Edinburgh…

It’s actually quite sunny!

March, April and May are some of the sunniest months in Edinburgh with the least rainfall. There may be a winter chill in the air but spring is definitely one of the best seasons to get out and explore the cities streets and parks.

The city is in full bloom

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Spring is one of the rare occasions to see Edinburgh’s beautiful cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Take a walk through the Meadows and enjoy a flurry of pink petals in the sunshine.

It’s not too busy

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Spring is still well before the mega tourist influx August so you can enjoy the city’s best attractions without having to queue (as much).

There is plenty to do

Polargraph at Edinburgh Science Festival

The International Science Festival, the Hidden Door Festival and World Whisky Day all take place before the summer months arrive.

And lastly… you can see the spectacular Beltane Fire Festival

Beltane 09 - Fire

The Beltane Fire Festival event takes place every year on the 30th April and celebrates the beginning of the summer season. This ancient Gaelic pagan tradition involves dazzling fire displays and (probably quite cold) painted performers. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle!

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What is the Scottish Ceilidh and Ceilidh Dancing?

What is the Scottish Ceilidh and Ceilidh Dancing?

Originally the word Ceilidh (kay-lee) descended from the Gaelic word for ‘gathering’ or ‘party’… However, these days when people think of a Ceilidh, they think of a fun-filled night of wild dancing, good music and great company!

A ceilidh is a Scottish social event which involves traditional folk music and dancing. You will normally come across ceilidhs on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. However, there are several venues across Edinburgh and Scotland which regularly host ceilidhs all year round such as Summerhall and the Ghillie Dhu.

To start this article we’d like to have you in the mood. Here is a super nice video that you can play in the background while reading to feel the Sottish spirit.

How does this Ceilidh thing work?

So one of the band members walks us through each dance. He explains each part of it until it seems like we understand. We try it once without music before doing it “full out”. Then, the music starts, he gives us the cue so we all start at the same time and you just hope you remember the moves! Each dance lasts between 5 and 10 minutes. The dance moves aren’t really hard, you just have to remember them!

Here’s an example:

Where does Ceilidh come from?

Dating back to 1875, Ceilidh originates from Scotland and Ireland although its name comes from Gaelic; it’s a combination of Scottish, Irish and English folk music.

Ceilidh music and dancing (pronounced “kay-lee” and meaning “visit”) is becoming more and more popular! We are getting a number of enquiries from brides and grooms to be as well as others planning a celebration, requesting a Ceilidh band for their special event. As so many people are asking all about it we thought it would be useful to tell you what it is, where it came from and why it makes an electric party atmosphere with plenty of fizzing excitement!

Traditionally it is a gathering or social event, and it didn’t necessarily involve any dancing.  These days a Ceilidh is a sociable way to bring people together involving Scottish music and dance.

Join us every Friday

We go the Ceilidh every Friday >> http://inlingua-edinburgh.co.uk/social-programme

What Line-Up?

A Ceilidh band normally consists of two or three people, a fiddler, an accordionist and a ‘caller’ to help everyone get into the swing of things and learn the dances. But, line-ups may also include guitarists, drums, keyboards and whistles amongst other instruments.

Nowadays, the music isn’t always traditional either, it can be very contemporary as there are a number of new-style Ceilidh bands bringing a fresh slant on the old folk songs and even putting a twist on current music. This makes it funky, modern and gives you a brand new sound. There’s plenty of rock and roll influence now as well, so if you really want your guests to get down and groove check-out some of Warble Entertainment’s Ceilidh bands – they are absolutely guaranteed to get even the most reluctant dancer strutting their stuff!

Here a wee list of the usual Scottish dances that you can enjoy at a Ceilidh:

– Virginia Reel
– Military Two-Step
– Cumberland Reel
– Flying Scotsman
– Canadian Barndance
– Cumberland Square 8 (the one with the baskets)
– Circassian Circle
– St. Bernard’s Waltz

What is its role in Scottish culture?

Most people in Scotland know how to ceilidh dance.  They were taught in gym lessons at school.  It is often used to bring together two sides of a family at a wedding to start the party, or as a celebration at a work, Christmas or corporate party.

Who is a Ceilidh Suitable for?

The beauty of a ceilidh or Barn Dance is that everyone can take part, young or old, experienced dancers, to beginners and even those with two left feet! No experience is necessary! It doesn’t matter what age, ability or personality type a person is – everyone loves to get involved and no experience is necessary! It is very easy to pick up.

The dances are all varied and there are plenty of paces available, fast, slow and even mid-tempo – so if some of the dances are hard to keep up with that’s your cue to take a break and perhaps enjoy a glass of champagne or wine before you get involved again. Party-goers love the flexibility of a Ceilidh because you may get moving when you want and take a break when your feet can’t keep up any more.

If you ever get the chance to go to a Ceilidh, don’t hesitate and just go! This will be the best memory of your time in Scotland! It may seem intimidating to go to a Ceilidh, but don’t worry if you don’t know the moves, somebody will help you!

Ceilidhs are a lot of fun and they play a regular part in our social programme, so you will have plenty of time to practice once you’re here!

Glasgow Film Festival 2019

Glasgow Film Festival 2019

Glasgow Film Festival is one of the leading UK film festivals and takes place Wednesday 20 February – Sunday 3 March.

 

Across 12 days, the city-wide celebration of cinema will host 7 world premieres, 102 UK premieres and 49 Scottish premieres

The event feature new local and international film from all genres; mainstream crowd-pleasers to groundbreaking art-house experimentation; the return of well-loved classics alongside rare cult gems; with filmmaker guest appearances, interactive workshops and discussion panels to complete the mix!

Watch the video to get an overview of Glasgow Film Festival in under 4 minutes!

 

Six out of the ten nominees for the prestigious Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award are new features directed by women.

Tickets for the full programme go on sale Thursday 24 January at 12 noon for GFF members, and on general sale on Monday 28 January at 10am.

 

www.glasgowfilm.org/glasgow-film-festival

Harry Potter: Walk in the Footsteps of the World’s Most Famous Wizard

Harry Potter: Walk in the Footsteps of the World’s Most Famous Wizard

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for quite some time, you must have heard of Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. After 7 novels and 8 movies the worldwide phenomenon has attracted countless tourists and fans in London and Oxford, but did you know that Scotland is closely related to this magical world?

Here are some famous sites every Potterhead should visit on their next trip to Scotland!

The Elephant House, Edinburgh

The Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, moved to Edinburgh in 1993 and The Elephant House is one of the cafés she used to go to in order to write her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone. The coffee house is constantly flooded by fans trying to retrace the steps of their favourite author, and maybe, who knows … get inspired themselves!

Victoria Street, Edinburgh

As Rowling lived in Edinburgh for several years, it’s only natural that she looked around her for inspiration when writing her novels. For example, Victoria Street was her main inspiration for the mysterious and magical Diagon Alley, where the young Harry Potter bought his first year’s school supplies. If you dare venture into this wizarding street, don’t hesitate to stop by Diagon House or The Boy Wizard, two Harry Potter Shops where you will find all the magical supplies you need.

Tom Riddle’s Grave, Greyfriars Kirkyard

Victoria Street is not the only part of Edinburgh that inspired the author. With a 7-novel series, you can imagine the number of characters evolving in Rowling’s work and all the names the author has had to make up for them. Hidden away in Greyfriars Kirkyard, some very interesting tombstones can be found, which most likely helped Rowling in the naming process of some of her characters: Tom Riddle, McGonagall, Moodies, etc. Walk down the graveyard’s alleys for more spooky discoveries!

 

 

The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

This beautiful Victorian luxury hotel was once Rowling’s safe haven. She frequently visited the hotel while she was finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Room 552, now renamed the J.K. Rowling Suite in her honour still holds the desk and chair where the author sat to write.

 

Rowling’s handprint, the Edinburgh City Chambers

The Edinburgh City Chambers is another stop HP fans will not want to miss when visiting Edinburgh. Rowling’s handprints can be found on a flagstone in the quadrangle in front of the City Chambers. The prints were set in 2008 when Rowling received the Edinburgh Award.

 

George Heriot’s School: Edinburgh’s very own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Although nobody except Rowling really knows where Hogwarts really is located, many believe that the castle was inspired by George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh. The gothic architecture of the breath-taking school situated in the city centre will undoubtedly remind fans of Harry’s beloved school. Even the four houses of Hogwarts may have been inspired by the George Heriots School’s four towers!

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Glenfinnan Viaduct – All aboard the Hogwarts Express

Hidden in the depth of the Scottish Highlands, this railway is famous for being featured in the Harry Potter movies. Harry Potter enthusiasts will be happy to know that the Hogwarts Express is no longer only reserved for Wizards: Muggles can now journey across Western Scotland on board the famous steam train just as Harry and his friends did!

Scottish landscapes

Finally, Scotland’s countryside is packed with breath-taking landscapes which are heavily featured in the Harry Potter movies.

The Moon like you have never seen it before at St.Giles Cathedral

The Moon like you have never seen it before at St.Giles Cathedral

A fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound, join the iconic event in Edinburgh this week.

St.Giles Cathedral is hosting the Museum of the Moon, a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. This event starts today and will be in Edinburgh until Sunday 27th January 2019. Measuring seven metres in diameter and featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.

 

 

To celebrate the installation, Burns&Beyond will present an accompanying programme of lunar inspired events, talks and concerts beneath the moon. The Cathedral will has organised candle lit evening sessions 21 – 27 January, allowing ticket holders to witness the installation in full illumination accompanied a lunar inspired soundtrack, composed by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones.

  • 21 January Preview Night Candle Lit Evening Sessions
  • 22 January Candle Lit Evening Sessions + Moon Talks + Clair de lune – Live sounds from NASA Space Station
  • 23 January Candle Lit Evening Sessions + Rachel Sermanni Performance
  • 24 January Candle Lit Evening Sessions + St.Giles Choir Performance
  • 25 January Candle Lit Evening Sessions + Roddy Woomble Performance
  • 26 January Candle Lit Evening Sessions + Martin Green – Disarming Reverberations Performance

Each timed session has a set capacity and we expect sessions to be extremely popular. We recommend you book in advance to avoid disappointment.

VENUE: ST. GILES CATHEDRAL
DATE: 21 – 26 JANUARY 2019
TIME: 7:15PM – 10PM (LAST ENTRY 9:30PM)
TICKETS: £6.50 (INCL. BOOKING FEES)

All details and tickets available here

China’s giant lanterns to light up Edinburgh this winter

China’s giant lanterns to light up Edinburgh this winter

The Giant Lanterns of China return to Edinburgh Zoo from the 16th November to 17th February 2019.

This event is featuring hundreds of gigantic lanterns inspired by mythical creatures from Scottish and Chinese folklore and endangered animals across the world. Over 450 lanterns will be lighting a magical trail around Edinburgh Zoo this winter!  You will be able to spot some unicorns, giants, kelpies and even the Loch Ness monster!

 

For centuries, the Chinese have celebrated the start of their New Year in late January or early February by displaying multicoloured lanterns in a range of shapes and sizes. Along with marking the pending arrival of spring, the custom also serves as a showcase of Chinese artistry.

Escape into a world of folktales and fantasy with over 450 beautifully crafted lanterns lighting a magical trail through the Zoo. For 50 legendary nights, the Zoo will be home to unicorns, giants, kelpies and even the Loch Ness Monster, alongside animals past and present.

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Traditionally, lantern-makers crafted their works of art from bamboo and paper, but these days, Chinese artisans are creating modern-day versions out of metal, silk and energy-efficient LED lighting. Walking through this lantern gateway really enhanced the journey and gave one a sense of awe.

Join a new and exciting adventure as Scottish myths, ancient Chinese legends and incredible creatures come to life.

Tickets for The Giant Lanterns of China are priced from £9.50 for children and £18 for adults and advanced online booking discounts are available. Tickets are available at edinburghzoo.org.uk/lanterns