On a night in December 2014 when the weather outside was frightful, I was delighted to be welcomed to the Scotch Whisky Experience, along with a group of travel bloggers for the Edinburgh Travel TweetUp (#EdinTravTweetUp). The team there made us all very welcome, and had a few surprises for us as they prepared for the 2015 Year of Food and Drink.
When you’re staying in a city centre cottage, in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, there’s so much to do within a few hundred yards of your front door. Here is a quick selection for you to try
- Visit the Scottish Parliament
- Visit the Queen’s Gallery
- Visit the Palace of HolyroodHouse
- Visit Dynamic Earth
- Visit the Museum of Edinburgh
Where do you like to visit around the Canongate section of the Royal Mile?
We’ve been watching in amazement as one of the local Museums in the Canongate section comes to life again following a refurbishment, and this morning there was an opportunity offered to local tourism businesses to familiarise ourselves with what is on offer at the Museum of Edinburgh.
I’m very pleased to report that there is a lot for you to see there, and it’s only a very short walk from Craigwell Cottage. If you’re interested in the history of the development of the city of Edinburgh, I’d recommend the new exhibit called Foundation Edinburgh – the Story of a City. Entrance to the Museum is free, but to see the 17 minute film there is a charge – with a family ticket selling at £10. Proceeds will be used to continue the development of further galleries within the museum.
If you’re in Edinburgh on a family history trip because you want to see the place where ancestors of yours lived, then the Museum of Edinburgh would be an ideal starting point as there is a good range of different items on display covering social history – from wooden water pipes to ceramics; a shiny display of the silversmith’s art to stone carvings salvaged from buildings in the local area. There is an area where younger members of the group can enjoy dressing up in clothes from olden times, and drawing, crafts or sitting in the quiet area reading one of the books about local stories.
We recommended a visit as something to do on a rainy day in Edinburgh, but it’s definitely a place to visit even if it isn’t raining!
When our son is asked to recommend his top things to do on a day out in Edinburgh, a visit to the Camera Obscura on the Castlehill section of the Royal Mile is always near the top of his list. He’s been recommending it to incoming guests at Craigwell Cottage since he was five years old, and at the grand old age of 10 he shows no sign of getting tired of making repeated visits there.
There’s so much to see, and photo opportunities at every turn, so our only complaint is that there still isn’t a season ticket or annual pass option for visitors who visit as often as we do. It’s an easy walk from Craigwell Cottage – up Campbell’s Close, then turn right at the Royal Mile and continue up to the very top section of the Royal Mile – Castlehill – where you will find the Camera Obscura on the right hand side.
Although it’s a mostly indoor activity, it’s good to visit on a day where the weather is good to make the most of the great views from the top, and the Camera Obscura itself as it relies on good light levels for maximum clarity. The rest of the attraction is devoted to a wide variety of optical illusions, holograms and tricks with light. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera! In 2012, the addition of wi-fi Internet access throughout the building encourages visitors to upload photographs to Flickr, Facebook or Twitter as you go round the many floors of the 5-storey high building. Definitely a ‘must see’ on your visit to Edinburgh. We’d allow 2 hours for a visit there to make sure you see all that’s on offer.
If you base yourself at Craigwell Cottage for your stay in Edinburgh, you will be within easy walking distance of the City Centre Art Galleries. A short stroll up Calton Road turning up New Street and into East Market Street will bring you to the nearest of these, the City Art Centre, which often hosts interesting exhibitions. Directly opposite is the Fruit Market Gallery. Another short stroll, cutting through the beautiful East Princes Street Gardens, will bring you to the National Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy situated at the bottom of the Mound, and linked by the Weston Link. In the Weston Link you will find a cafe and restaurant, and there are often opportunities to participate in art-based activities and create your very own masterpiece.