January is a busy time for holiday home owners as people start to prepare their holiday plans for the year. Some people start their Edinburgh trip planning early, booking a year or more in advance for popular dates, Read more
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.
When you’re on holiday, visiting a local pub might be on the agenda, whether as a means of grabbing a quick refreshment on the way to do something else, or as a destination for an evening with friends or to listen to music.
Stock up on the best local produce at the regular Farmers’ Market in Edinburgh
With Edinburgh Farmers’ Market on every Saturday throughout the year, our weekend break guests are in for a treat when they stay at Craigwell Cottage. It’s a great place to sample the best of local food and drink, and meet some of the producers to find out more.
You can get to Edinburgh Farmers’ Market by walking up the Royal Mile until you reach the Hub (the HQ of Edinburgh Festival at the start of Castlehill). Then take Johnston Terrace on your left and continue down until you see Castle Terrace on your right. You will have walked beneath the south wall of Edinburgh Castle on your route. You can return there for a visit after you have had breakfast or lunch at the Farmers’ Market.
Even if you don’t feel like rustling up a meal while in residence at Craigwell Cottage, you can graze on prime local food at the market itself – breakfast on delicious baked goods, lunch on take-away prime Scottish buffalo burgers or pork rolls, or open up some dressed crab and eat straight from the shell, as we saw some visitors do at this morning’s market.
Scotland has an abundant larder of top quality food, and you’ll find a wide variety on offer each week at the Farmers’ Market. Check their Facebook page to find out who’ll be there each week.
We enjoyed making a quick lunch by following Andrew Fairlie’s recipe for Cullen Skink (buy smoked haddock and leeks at the market), with bread rolls – there will be lots of different types to choose from. You can find out which bakers will be there on the website too.
We hope that you enjoy sampling the best local food and drink at the market. If you go along during your stay, do let us know what you’ve enjoyed and if you have any particular favourites.
One thing which I love to do on holiday is to read books about where we are visiting. Not guidebooks, but fiction set in a particular city or county. Think EM Forster’s “Room with a View” when visiting Florence, or Patrick Gale’s “Notes from an Exhibition” when in Cornwall, and you’ll understand what I mean.
Fortunately for those wishing to visit Edinburgh, there is a wide range of different types of fiction available to choose from – historical tales from Sir Walter Scott to the gritty crime fiction of Ian Rankin, and so much in between. We’ve even had visitors to Craigwell Cottage heading straight to the Elephant House café on arrival, just so that they can soak up the atmosphere which helped JK Rowling to pen the early drafts of her Harry Potter series.
One author I’m really enjoying reading at present is Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve worked my way through most of the 44 Scotland Street series and listened to the podcasts of the Dog Who Came in From the Cold, but the reading I’m doing over this winter holiday season is of the Sunday Philosophy Club series, featuring the moral philosopher, Isabel Dalhousie.
I was completely hooked as I started to read the second of the series, “Friends, Lovers, Chocolate“. Not only had the title captured my imagination, but the opening chapter is set as a mysterious character walks down the Royal Mile towards Canongate Kirk, where he means to visit the grave of Robert Fergusson, the young poet who inspired Robert Burns.
I fear Mr Burns would not be happy if he were to see the statue of his inspiration being treated with such lack of respect.
However, there are others who continue to revere the poet, including the mystery man of McCall Smith’s opening chapter. In the graveyard of Canongate Kirk, you can visit the grave of Robert Fergusson. Robert Burns paid for his gravestone to be erected, and wrote the lines of its inscription:
This simple stone directs Pale Scotia’s way
To pour her sorrows o’er her poet’s dust.
I hope that if you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh, you’ll consider adding some of the Sunday Philosophy Club series to your reading list, and I for one can’t think of a better way to spend some of my leisure time in Edinburgh, sipping hot chocolate in one of the cafés featured in the series, and walking the streets along with the characters of the book.
ScotlandHour – this is one of a series of features for ScotlandHour in January 2013 where the theme is “Burns, Creative Scotland, Arts and Culture”. If you’re thinking of visiting Scotland, or want help in planning your visit here, then join us on Twitter for a monthly chat about Scotland – just search for the tag #ScotlandHour to join in. Many tourism businesses and fans of visiting Scotland join in the chat on the last Wednesday of each month, from 9-10 pm (UK Time) on Twitter. To find out about the full schedule for ScotlandHour 2013, visit my social media for tourism article.