Edinburgh Fringe 2010 Family Reviewers

Dan from Potted Panto with McNaughton Family Reviewers

Our 2edinburgh blog is designed to give a flavour for things to do and places to go when visiting Craigwell Cottage, our little city centre cottage (with parking) right in the heart of the city of Edinburgh.

We occasionally review special events and happenings in Edinburgh, but as a family we’re not able to cover a vast range of different types of event, preferring to focus on little news items about permanent attractions or events which are annual occurrences in the Edinburgh calendar.

This year, our family was given the opportunity to undertake a very special assignment – that of guest reviewers at some Festival Fringe performances on behalf of the review site Edinburgh Spotlight. We were very excited to be asked, and as soon as the Fringe Programme was issued we pored over it working out and planning which shows we would ask to review, and fitting reviews in as best we could with other holiday activities we had planned.

As first time reviewers we really had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, but the owners of Edinburgh Spotlight were very helpful and patient with us, explaining what would be required. We also opted to go to some shows simply as ‘the audience’ so that we could relax and enjoy them without having to exercise our critical faculties.

Our first reviews of CBBC’s Dan and Jeff in Potted Panto, and the West End Glee Club have now been published, and you can find our other reviews by following the links below We hope you enjoy sharing our experiences.

Hairspray

Sausage & Samosa

Dr Bunhead is Volcano Head

Azincourt performed by Willington School

James Campbell’s Comedy and Song for Kids

Things that go…bump, rattle, klunk, cackle, woo!

Water Babies – Stage Stars Young Actors Company

Fabulous Female A-Capella – In the Pink

Dandelion’s Story – Modl Theatre

Shipwrecked – The Amazing Tale of Louis de Rougemont as told by Himself

Time-Tastical Productions – Dr Austin and Sparks in Space

Indefinite Articles – Pinocchio

Thanks Edinburgh Spotlight for this opportunity to experience so much of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2010.

Local Shops for Self-Catering at Craigwell Cottage, Edinburgh

Local Shops for Self-Catering at Craigwell Cottage, Edinburgh

One of the first things that you will want to do on arrival at Craigwell Cottage is to make sure that you have arranged sufficient supplies to cater for your immediate needs. We do leave small supplies of tea, coffee, salt, pepper, sugar for you, but if you have a requirement for us to do some shopping ready for your arrival we’d be happy to provide this service for you. We will charge any groceries purchased at cost, with a small charge of £5 for the service. Please contact us by e-mail if you would like to discuss your requirements.

There are a couple of local convenience stores within walking distance of Craigwell Cottage which are useful for immediate needs such as bread and milk. You’ll find Canongate Stores by crossing Calton Road, going up Campbells Close opposite Nether Craigwell, and turning right when you reach the Royal Mile.  Crossing over the Royal Mile and taking one of the closes opposite will bring you to Holyrood Road where there is a small branch of Tesco Express, open long hours, for most everyday needs.

For wonderful Scottish speciality foods and treats to take home, pop in to see Beth and Fiona at Cranachan and Crowdie (pictured above) at their shop in the Canongate.  They’ll make you very welcome and may have samples to taste too.

For a traditional afternoon tea, pop in to Clarinda’s Tea Room (where Campbell’s Close meets the Royal Mile) – they open early in the morning for cooked breakfasts and you won’t be able to resist going back later in the day for reasonably priced lunches or delicious home baking and pots of tea.

The nearest Marks and Spencer Simply Food store is in Waverley Station, which is a short walk up Calton Road. You’ll find the entrance to Waverley Station on the left side of Calton Road and a footbridge takes you to Platform 2 where the Marks and Spencer Simply Food Store is located.

There is a large branch of Marks and Spencer at 54 Princes Street where you’ll find a food hall in the basement.

There is a Sainsbury’s Central situated on St Andrews Square, which you’ll find immediately behind Jenners the famous Princes Street Store.

The food hall in Jenners is worth a visit too – you’ll find speciality foods and whiskies there. The Edinburgh Evening News Article comparing up-market food shopping in Edinburgh gives a comparison between Jenners, Harvey Nichols, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose. Finding this reminded me that there is a food department in Harvey Nichols but to date I’ve not managed to add this particular store to my list of shopping experiences.

We’ve also explored the area around the top of Easter Road to find more local stores within a short walk from Craigwell Cottage. I’d definitely recommend the bakery and cafe called The Manna House which you can find at No 22-24 Easter Road. A wonderful patisserie and bakery shop with croissants, cakes, scones, speciality breads. Definitely worth a quick early-morning stroll there to find breakfast. If you read the Guardian Review of this local treasure, you will be drooling already! The locals rate it highly too – another rave review to read.

If you’ve come by car to stay at Craigwell Cottage there’s a large Sainsbury’s Store at the Meadowbank Retail Park if you want to do a supermarket shop to stock up.

For our weekend visitors, you’ll be delighted to know that there are several weekend markets around the city.  The Edinburgh Farmers’ Market is at Castle Terrace every Saturday from 9 am till around 2 pm – graze on fine local foods or bring delicious flavours of Scotland back to prepare at Craigwell Cottage.  In Stockbridge on a Sunday, the Stockbridge Market is a lovely place to stock up with delights for your evening meal or even souvenirs to take back from your trip.  Wander along there after a trip to the Royal Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, or follow the Water of Leith Walkway from the Gallery of Modern Art One/Two for a Sunday treat.

Susan McNaughton
Updated March 2015

Dynamic Earth Visit

As agreed with Lottie and Scottie yesterday, it was to be a trip to Dynamic Earth today. So after our delicious breakfast from The Manna House, it was off up Campbell’s Close to the Royal Mile, then over the road past Canongate Primary School and up to Bull’s Close to find a shortcut through to Dynamic Earth. Plenty of photo opportunities en route as we passed the Scottish Parliament building with its interesting ultra modern facades. Lottie had been watching some kids show on BBC this morning about kids setting rules for their parents and says she’s banning me from taking more than 5 photos a day.
Susan McNaughton
October 2008

Preparing to market Craigwell Cottage

On the evening our conditional offer was accepted we started to draft up a website which we will use to market the property. Is it sufficient to use www.2edinburgh.com for this purpose? I’ve set up a subdomain www.craigwell.2edinburgh.com for the purpose – is this attractive enough?

We also need to think about our strategy for marketing. It’s a fantastic property, and ‘ticks all the boxes’ for self-catering properties.

  • It has PARKING adjacent to the property inside a gated courtyard.
  • It has TWO BEDROOMS and will be furnished to sleep 4 – one double and one twin room
  • It has a shared garden to the rear of the property which is accessed by climbing very steep steps which reach up past the roofs of the townhouses opposite, but when you get up there it’s worth every step. Phenomenal VIEWS over Holyrood Palace, Holyrood Park, Salisbury Crags, and down to East Lothian.
  • It is within easy walking distance to Holyrood Palace, The Royal Mile, Dynamic Earth, The Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh City Centre

We need to think about:-

  1. Listing the new property on VisitScotland.com in lieu of our current holiday rental property, Sandcastle-in-the-City
  2. Working out which ‘free listing’ sites are worth listing on
  3. Contacting the staff at AboutScotland.com to see if they’d be interested in taking us on now that we have an interesting and unusual property to rent and not just a ‘run of the mill’, albeit luxurious one-bedroomed property.
  4. Are there ‘cottage’ sites which we could advertise on, given that we’re going to call the property Craigwell Cottage and it is a semi-detached cottage style property?
  5. What are the key attractions close to the apartment which would be of most interest to potential guests.
  6. Getting good photographs taken.
  7. Letting the guests who’ve already advance booked Sandcastle-in-the-City know that we’re offering them a superior property for their stay, but also accepting that they may have definite reasons for staying in the New Town rather than the Old Town.