This year’s Edinburgh Festival is approaching fast. The internationally acclaimed Fringe Festival is already in its 66th edition, and this year it will be held between the 2nd and the 26th of August at different venues throughout the Scottish capital. The Fringe is the perfect excuse to visit this magical city, which offers visitors plenty of opportunities to shop, eat out, discover its surrounding natural landscape, and visit its fascinating museums and galleries. If you are planning to attend this year’s edition of the Edinburgh Festival, you may want to consider that accommodation gets filled quickly around the festival dates. It is recommended that you stay near the heart of the action in the centre of the city, in one of the best hotels for the Edinburgh Festival, and get ready to discover the fantastic city of Edinburgh. Whether you are visiting the Fringe Festival for a couple of days or for the whole month, planning your visit and deciding on which shows you want to attend is the single best thing you can do. According to the organisers, this year there will be more than 2,400 events on offer during the festival, including cabaret performances, children’s shows, comedy, theatre plays, dance, exhibitions, concerts, opera, musicals, and many more. With so many shows to see, you can save cash with an all-inclusive holiday deal, so that you don’t need to worry about anything else other than enjoying your time in the city. To help you with your booking decisions, here’s a list of the shows that have the most potential to become hits.
The List is a touching theatre play directed by Muriel Romanes, who in 2011 won the Best Director title at the CATS Awards. The play describes the story of a woman trying to adapt to a new way of life in rural Quebec, and it deals with the subjects of loyalty, friendship, and isolation. The List will be performed at the Summerhall.
Also at the Summerhall there’s Gym Party, a show that is as funny and brilliant as the company that performs it. Made in China sold out all tickets at last year’s festival, so their new play is definitely one to watch out for!
This show has high chances of becoming a total hit at this year’s festival. Where the White Stops has already won the IdeasTap Underbelly Award, and critics have praised the perfect combination of music and storytelling, without forgetting that the play touches on subjects that are easy to identify with; like thirst for adventure and fear of stepping into the unknown. You can catch this show at the Antler theatre.
If you are in for some comedy spiced with a good dose of irony, Making News is the show to watch. The play is a critical look at the Saville Enquiry and the circumstances that surrounded it, so it ticks all the boxes from controversial to witty and well-written. This play will be performed at the Pleasance Courtyard.
Trucks, trucks, trucks. Then a few motocross bikes, and more trucks, trucks, trucks. It can only mean one thing! Truckfest Scotland is back in town.
Every year the biggest, brightest and noisiest machines make their way to the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston to delight crowds of spectators who all have one thing in common – a love of big rigs with engines. It’s a mechanical extravaganza filled with displays of new models of trucks, provided by some of the biggest names in British hauling. And let’s not forget all those entertaining shows in the main arena too.
This year’s highlights will see Lisa Kelly and Alex Deborgski from popular TV show Ice Road Truckers go head to head in a truck-off with Matt Ekins, Ashley Maddox and Mick Leech of Scottish trucking company, Eddie Stobarts. The Stobart’s big screen, known affectionately as Teletubby, will be sitting pride of place over the main arena, making sure even the youngest Truckfest visitors get a good view.
Other highlights include the chance – for the first time – to ride in a monster truck as Mudzerella shows off its moves, and then there’s some freestyle motocross action for visitors who still think that the most fun comes on two wheels.
Truckfest Scotland is an excellent family day out, with two days of mayhem, loud engines and big wheels to enjoy. Finish the school holidays in style with a weekend pass to the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston and get a bird’s eye view of the action.
3rd and 4th August 2013
Buying your tickets in advance lets you take advantage of a discount on sales. To pick up your tickets, visit Truckfest online at www.truckfestscotland.co.uk or telephone 0844 854 0064 twenty-four hours.
The attached Google Map shows the location of the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston. Use the zoom feature to get an overall view.
Somewhere beneath the bustling streets of Edinburgh, away from the street vendors and mime artists and out of sight of the thousands of people who live and work in the city every day, lies an abandoned street that was once the very heart of the city: Mary Kings Close.
A close is the Scottish word for tenements, a row of tightly packed high-rise apartments with narrow alleys forming streets between them. Often depressing places, a close was a community all of its own, with a rank structure that saw the wealthiest tenants living in relative comfort in the upper middle floors. Those who formed the lower classes were relegated either to the very top floor, where the howling winds and often leaking roofs made life uncomfortable, or to the lowest flats, where living amongst the grime and faeces was part of everyday life. Most of these closes are long forgotten, buried beneath the ever-expanding streets of a constantly modernising city, but the Real Mary Kings Close has been rediscovered – and what a popular tourist attraction in Edinburgh it is now!
Step inside this unique visitor centre and descend beneath the cobbled pavement of Edinburgh’s High Street, and you’ll find yourself standing in 17th Century Edinburgh as it existed all those years ago. You’ll be led by your guide through the maze of underground homes, some still completely intact and others held up by supports. You’ll discover the legends of the Mary Kings Close in habitants, learn the fate of those who died from the Plague, and meet the ghost of a lost little girl. Tales will be told of everyday living, from working in the slaughterhouse to running the market stalls that once lined this cramped alleyway.
The Real Mary Kings Close is a seriously good attraction, and something that shouldn’t be missed on a tour of Edinburgh. Nowhere else will you get such a first hand, visual experience of how life used to be, and when we visited we were impressed by how well it’s run. The guides are well-informed and incredibly believable, the props do the tours justice, and it’s nice to see a historic attraction that hasn’t gone overboard by masking the realism with the hype. There’s the obligatory gift shop, of course, as you’d expect to find in any 5 star tourist attraction, but the trinkets you’ll find here are a step up from the normal tacky tourist rubbish you get elsewhere. The Close isn’t difficult to find, and certainly not expensive – our opinion is that it’s well worth the trip.
If you want to make the experience even more interesting, why not brave a tour at Halloween. We haven’t been on one ourselves, but we’ve heard they’re to die for!
For more luxury travel ideas check our our hotel reviews here.
Apparently, jumping out of trees is additctive. Who’d have thought? So when I was invited back to try another Go Ape course, this time at Beescraig near Edinburgh, I litterally jumped at the chance (no pun intended, sorry!)
This course is hidden away in the remote Beescraig Country Park just outsie Linlithgow, although it’s incredibly easy to get to by car. And the course, although slightly shorter than the Aberfoyle layout, seems to be that little bit more challenging. I don’t know whether it was the fact that some of the zip lines seem as if you’re stepping off into thin air more than the last zip lines I tried, or whether it was the taller trees swaying in the wind that gave it a more daring feel, but my knuckles were definitely that little bit whiter than they had been before.
Beescraig has very varied challenges to try, and as with the Aberfoyle course, they often give you the option of going ‘easy’ or ‘extreme’. I’m proud to say I was extreme the whole way through the course, although I was certainly or a tortoise on those sections than a hare. (And before anyone points it out, yes I know they don’t climb trees!).
It was a superb day. The group ahead of us came dressed for the occasion in cave dweller outfits that brought a smile to everyone’s faces…especially when they hopped onto the zip slides. It’s somewhat unusual to see a club-toteing, potato sack wearing figure flying through the trees. Our instructor, Jo, was competent and fun and let us get our feet off the ground pretty quickly once she was happy we had learned the ropes (there I go again!), which is great when you’re as impatient as I am.
Without doubt this is a fantastic way to spend a few hours, and it acts as a great workout as well, so for all you mummy’s who want to become a bit more yummy, ditch the gym and head to this fabulous Go Ape rope course for some extreme outdoor exercise instead.
Check out our last post to see how the ropes all work…. Go Ape Aberfoyle. And can I just say that none of these pictures are of me. I am nowhere near that graceful!
Candidtraveller loves Go Ape!