We really like the questions which have been chosen for April 2014’s #ScotlandHour, so we’re writing an article for our guests at Craigwell Cottage who may be interested in using our city centre cottage as a base for walking or other outdoor adventures in Edinburgh or around central Scotland.
We like to participate in the Edinburgh-centric Edinburgh Hour on Twitter – it’s a good way to connect with others around the city and find out more about what’s going on. If you’re thinking about visiting Edinburgh, it can be a good opportunity to find out more about local businesses and places to visit or events. There’s a schedule for each month’s chat, and a theme with questions to keep the conversations flowing. All you need to join in is to tag your Tweets #EdinHour.
In March 2014, the theme is Green Edinburgh, and we’ve been taking a look at some of our favourite green spaces in preparation for the chat.
Q1. Of Edinburgh’s many miles of traffic-free paths, which one’s best for a great day out, or just getting to work?
We like the Water of Leith Walkway, particularly the section between Stockbridge and the Gallery of Modern Art.
From the city centre, it’s also pleasant to walk by the Union Canal from Fountain Park.
Q2. How do you or your organisation reduce, reuse or recycle, what green measures have you taken?
We have a green policy for Craigwell Cottage, and Sandcastle Cottage in Crail. We help guests by providing re-cycling facilities in the cottage as there is no collection from our historic building.
Q3. Which of Edinburgh’s 145 parks and many green spaces do you love for relaxing, frisbee throwing or finding a quiet corner to read?
We’ve chosen 5 which we’d recommend to our guests visiting Edinburgh:
Royal Botanic Garden
Princes Street Gardens
Q4. Which environmental projects, big or small, have enhanced Edinburgh and what issues do we need to address in the future?
We were happy that the Twelve Monuments Project included repairing the Burns’ Monument on Regent Road as it sits above the garden of Nether Craigwell and we didn’t want it to fall down!
We’re eager to see the High School Yards Steps off the Cowgate repaired as they provide a speedy route from the Cowgate up to The Dovecot Studios and the Stag Espresso Café there. We also like the projects which take care of things like restoring street lights.
When asked to provide “Tip from the Locals” for an accommodation website writing about things to do in Edinburgh in January, I thought long and hard about what to recommend. Ideas sprang to mind, like the Turner Watercolours Exhibition, galleries, cafés to visit, museums and more. Lots of indoor ideas as January can be a chilly month in the city. But then my thoughts turned to the types of visitors we’ve had over the years at Craigwell Cottage, and I thought about the Australians and New Zealanders who come to visit Scotland at that time of year to escape the hot summers in their country, or to come “home” to discover the land of their parent’s or more distant relatives birth.
We’ll be welcoming lots of visitors to Scotland in 2014 who are coming to Scotland for many different reasons, but our January visitors tend to already have a link to the country and want to make connections to places where their ancestors have lived, or to find out more about vital links in their more distant past. For this reason, my insider tip relates to Scotland’s People Centre – the combination of Register House and New Register House, which stand at the east end of Princes Street. Outside there is a statue of the Duke of Wellington on his horse.
Inside, you can attend one of the familiarisation sessions to get you started on researching your family history, or if you have already started to build your family tree, you can access original documents which your ancestors have been required to submit when recording births, deaths and marriages. You can do all sorts of research on-line with Scotland’s People records, but for me there is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing an original signature in the records and realising that the person in question actually touched and wrote on that paper.
My “insider tip” is that to the rear of Register House, accessed via path from the front of New Register House, there is a very special secret garden. The garden is planted with more than 50 varieties of plants which have a story to tell and a relationship with Scotland. The Archivist’s Garden is free to enter while the offices are open, and it’s well worth a visit as it’s a tranquil place amongst the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Even on a December day when I visited there were sculptural forms of plants to enjoy.
We’d love to welcome you to Edinburgh in January – find out more about our family-friendly holiday home: Craigwell Cottage. If you visit the Archivist’s Garden on your trip, let us know in the comments below.
Tips for a great day out at Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo is a firm favourite on a visit to Edinburgh no matter what age you are! It’s open every day of the year – including Christmas Day, so whenever you stay at Craigwell Cottage, you’ll be able to pay a visit to Edinburgh Zoo during your stay. You’ll find opening times and admission charges here. Read more
Wandering around Edinburgh this morning reminded me of city walking in Rome – the sort where you move from shady spot to shady spot with frequent stops for coffees and ices.
As I’d arranged to visit a friend with an apartment near Nether Craigwell, I was strolling up the Canongate section of the Royal Mile when I spotted the sign for Dunbar’s Close and thought it would be a good time to go in and explore the shady spaces there. What a treat!
Several others had chosen to take a picnic lunch there, and I was wishing I’d done the same as it’s a real haven of peace among the city streets.
You can find Dunbar’s Close Garden by following the close off the Royal Mile next to the Christmas Shop and opposite the Canongate branch of Starbuck’s.