How early should I book for Hogmanay and New Year in Edinburgh?

Fireworks on Calton Hill

Torchlight procession – Fireworks on Calton Hill


Having received an enquiry to book Craigwell Cottage for 2013/14 New Year celebrations this morning (on 12:12:12), I took the opportunity to look back over the last 6 years of bookings for guests bringing in the New Year in Edinburgh.  Our earliest booking came in a full 18 MONTHS before celebrating the New Year 2009/10 from guests who came from the Netherlands.  They were certainly well prepared to enjoy the celebrations.

We’ve welcomed guests to our little cottage from all over the world in the years since our first guests arrived from Belgium back in April 2007.  Our New Year guests have come from Germany, the Netherlands, Canada (via Bulgaria) and England (after Christmas in the USA).  Wonder where our next guests will come from?

The New Year celebrations in Edinburgh are certainly well established in the world’s great places to celebrate the start of a New Year, and we love the fact that the celebrations can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  The Torchlight Procession is a firm favourite with our family, and we’re looking forward to trying out the new route this year from the National Museum of Scotland down over North Bridge and up onto Calton Hill.  We’d also like to make it to the “Big Bang”  street theatre on the 1st of January 2013 – although as always when the family is involved, we’ll have to wait till the last minute to see how the plans for the day work out.

This year, we’re also very excited to be attending a Blogmanay Tweet-up at Skyscanner HQ with Kash (@Budget Traveller) and many other travel bloggers who are coming to find out why so many people choose to celebrate New Year in Edinburgh.

If you’re planning to visit Edinburgh for Hogmanay and New Year celebrations, we’d be very pleased to welcome you to our little Edinburgh city centre cottage, and we’ll even teach you a New Year toast: “Lang may yer lum reek”!

Weekend breaks in Edinburgh – Edinburgh Farmers’ Market

A weekend break visit to Edinburgh Farmers' Market

Edinburgh Farmers' Market

Some of our guests come to Edinburgh to have a break from everyday routine, and like to eat out while they’re here.  Others arrive keen to find out more about the wonderful Scottish produce on offer here, and are delighted to find that if they’re here on a Saturday morning they can head to the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market to stock up on goodies for their stay.  We’ve got a reasonably well-equipped kitchen in Craigwell Cottage, and think that most keen cooks would find it possible to rustle up a feast there.

We really are lucky that in recent years the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market has settled to a regular Saturday morning slot at Castle Terrace, and as Edinburgh residents who live within walking distance of the Market we make forays there as often as we can to stock up.  If you’re resident at Craigwell Cottage, then walk to the top of the Royal Mile then take a left at the mini-roundabout by the Hub and go down Johnston Terrace where you’ll see the Farmers’ Market to your right on Castle Terrace.

We like to buy fresh seafood from one of the seafood stalls, follow it up with a purchase of meat from one of the many different producers, some fresh vegetables, bread and maybe some cheese and oatcakes or something sweet for dessert.  There is also an opportunity to stock up on preserves, oils and soaps – all of which might be a great souvenir or gift to take home from your weekend break in Edinburgh.

If you can’t bear to wait to get there for the surprise of which producers will be in attendance on any given day, then our top tip is to follow Edinburgh Farmers’ Market on Facebook where they regularly post the ‘running order’ for each market and keep us updated with news.

You’ll find some recipe books in our book case if you need inspiration or want to make up a shopping list before you go to the market, but if you’re in any doubt remember to ask the stallholders – often they’ll give you recipe leaflets or provide you with inspiration on how to prepare the delights you’ve purchased.  Or for an easy evening meal, smoked salmon, dressed crab, fresh salads, a wide variety of pies, oatcakes, cheese or baked goods will give you a fabulous repast for little effort.

Let us know what you enjoyed buying and cooking on your stay, by leaving a comment below, or letting us know via the Craigwell Cottage Facebook page.  Happy shopping!


Things to do in Edinburgh – August Bank Holiday weekend

Taking a city break in Edinburgh for the August Bank Holiday weekend means that you’ll have plenty of activities to choose from, with our top attractions like Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, Royal Yacht Britannia and the Royal Mile. But if you’d like to try a host of different activities, we’ve put together a little list to suggest some different ideas for you.

Ten things to do in Edinburgh – 26 – 29 August 2011

  1. Visit the Elizabeth Blackadder Exhibition at the National Gallery of Scotland.
  2. Go to a show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  3. The Edinburgh International Book Festival is staging its final events of the year this weekend
  4. Find a haven of peace in the city by visiting the Royal Botanic Garden
  5. Have fun at the Free Fringe on the Royal Mile or Mound Precinct
  6. Go for afternoon tea – the Signet Library is only open from 5 – 29 August for a very elegant Champagne Afternoon Tea
  7. Visit the Camera Obscura
  8. Go underground and find out about Edinburgh’s Old Town life at Mary King’s Close
  9. Climb a hill – we’re right between Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill
  10. Debate the future of the web at Edinburgh Tech Festival.

We’d love to welcome you to Edinburgh!