Great bar on the Shore area of Leith in Edinburgh.
Extremely friendly and efficient staff. Feels like a French bar with dark wood and a fire in the corner.
This bar also has a separate eating area though you can eat in bar as well. We had a great fish pie (£8.50) and a steak and kidney pie (£9.50).
The bar, unlike some on the Shore area, is kids friendly.
3-4 The Shore, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6QW
+44(0)131 554 5666
Google map: bit.ly/HEVn49
Good location for food and drink. The menu while on the face of it looks like a typical bar menu is inventive. You'll find things like rabbit burgers and pheasant on the menu that you wouldn't normally find in a bar. The food is very much moving towards 'gastropub' territory.
On Saturday nights the bar is packed as they have live music. Even when it is quieter it is nice to sit down with a nice pint.
A great example of a city farm, Gorgie Farm has been open since 1982 and is just a bus ride out of the city centre. Take the family - it really is the perfect way to spend an hour or two away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh. There are a number of animals to see in fields, stables and sheep houses and smaller animals and reptiles can be found in 'The Pet Lodge'.
The Farm operates solely on donations, so although admission is free, see if you can spare a few pounds to keep this great community project going.
51 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2LA
+44(0)131 337 4202
Google map: bit.ly/njy7eS
* Rachel is our Been there local for Edinburgh. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/edinburgh-local-rachel-brown.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/RachelBrown
With it being Children's Book Week I can only encourage all families to get out and visit some of the amazing places here in the UK that have links to brilliant children's books. In Scotland you could visit the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, JM Barie's birthplace in Kirriemuir. Crossing the border Harry Potter fans should visit Alnwick Castle before hitting Seven Stories in Newcastle, currently the only exhibition space in the UK dedicated to the celebration of British children’s literature. Crossing the Pennines you'll find the World of Beatrix Potter at Bowness-on-Windermere with the National Trust owned former home of Beatrix Potter nearby. Moving further south there are two delights for Dahl lovers - the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery in Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury and The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden. London is home to a wealth of children's literature attractions: Discover – The story making centre in Stratford is a good place to start and a visit to the Illustration Cupboard (just of Regent Street), an art gallery representing contemporary book illustrators from around the world is a must. If you're looking for locations which feature in children's literature (although they may not have actual visitor attractions there) the website Storybook England is brilliant (www.storybookengland.com/). Pack a picnic, a good book or two to read together and visit a location from a favourite book of your childhood!
Informal curries cooked and served in the grounds of the Edinburgh Central Mosque. Tasty, portions big enough to satisfy my growing 14 year old, variety enough for a seven year old, and catering for both vegetarians and carnivores. Best of all perhaps: a fabulous variety of non-alcoholic drinks from cans of coconut milk to doubtful highly coloured fizzy concoctions. A treat for all the family without breaking the bank. Take a jumper as the eatery is open air (marquee style roof to keep off the rain).
Potterrow, behind the National Museum of Scotland, near to the University - the minaret is a clue.
Google map: bit.ly/b3P3jl
Chop Chop has to be the best Chinese restaurant ever! The dumplings are to die for at this family friendly, family run business. If you visit Edinburgh you have to visit Chop Chop. Right next to Haymarket Station. PS: they've just opened one in Leith.
Absolutely fantastic tapas in this place on the Shore in Edinburgh. Genuinely Spanish taste as well as being child friendly. Great value.
19 Shore Place Edinburgh EH6 6SW
Mon - Sat:
12:00 - 01:00
12:30 - 23:00
Borthwick is a 15th century castle, 15 miles from Edinburgh Centre. We stayed there with our three children recently. The kids were totally in awe of the castle and the historic atmosphere that oozes from its pores!
To add to the experience we also dined at the castle, as a treat. The castle offers an option of children's menus, either a standard three-course menu, with kids' favorites (fish fingers, sausages etc), or a half adult portion, they really did offer an option to suit all.
The children were so well behaved, totally engrossed in the castle's history, and the memorabilia which is displayed in each of the rooms. Followed by historic tales and ghost stories by the castle staff, it set the kids up with tales and stories to keep them amused all the way home!
Visit Edinburgh in the middle of winter - at Christmas or at New Year...?
Yes, and I recommend it!
The locals are full of bonhomie; every pub or eatery with a fireplace is welcoming; and the locals, who act as tourist guides at the castle and other touristy places, are happy to see you and have a chat.
Crowds? No ... have have the castle and the whisky tours all to yourself.
You can even venture out of town and maybe have a hit at St Andrews ('cos there is noone else there playing).
There is also the added bonus of Scottish New Year celebrations. Something everyone should do at least once in a lifetime: Hogmanay.
Downside? It's cold - very cold; sleeting and snowing, but hey, nothing a couple of jackets, coats, mufflers, gloves and hats can't fix.
Seriously: go and visit in winter;
it is a different place.
Luca's is one of the best ice cream restaurants in Britain and has almost 100 years of history to prove it.
In cornets, you get a choice of vanilla, strawberry or chocolate - none of the fancy flavours as all their expertise goes into making these just wonderful (you can get tubs of different flavours). Soft and creamy, they're popular all year round. And in winter in Musselburgh, that's saying something.
32 - 38 High Street,
Tel 0131 665 2237
The Water of Leith Walkway will take you along about 12 miles of river through the heart of Edinburgh from Balerno to Leith. One of the nicest stretches is the walk from Stockbridge to the Dean Gallery and Modern Art Gallery, which consists of a mile of picturesque woodland, including a Victorian mineral well guarded by a rather grand nymph-type and wander through the very pretty Dean Village. The best bit is that when you get to the fantastic galleries, you can reward yourself with chocolate cake (Dean Gallery Cafe - highly recommended). Alternatively, walk in the opposite direction (towards Leith) and after three miles pop out onto The Shore in Leith for an excellent feast and pint at the King's Wark.
This restaurant serves high-quality authentic Italian food and has an excellent wine list. It's open seven days a week - from 8am Monday to Saturday (Sunday opens later) and has tables outside, which is good if you have a dog! They are child friendly, service is of the highest standard and staff are super friendly. It was voted new best restaurant last year by The List and the interior is stunning.
103 George Street, next to Castle Street;
tel: 0131 225 1550;
A lovely out-of-town place with a wonderful pub, The Cramond Inn, which has a big beer garden and parking space, and serves loads of good and traditional food for really good prices and has also drinks from a small, independent brewery Scintilla and spectacular beers and ales.
Its near the wonderful seaside promenade, with about 45 min if walked in full.
The path to Cramond Island is only walkable when the tide is out, so take some water with you in case you'll get trapped there with the tide rushing in.
Nice for doggies, kiddies and their owners as there is a big beach, too.
Take bus no 41 directly to Cramond or 42 to first walk the seaside promenade to Cramond;
Cramond Inn: 30 Cramond Glebe Road, EH4 6NP;
tel: 0131 336 2035;
To get a real flavour of the celebratory nature of the locals and the town, it is a good idea to visit just before or at Christmas time, when the Christmas fair is on in the city centre. It brings alive the kid in you with a ferris wheel, a very enchanting fortune teller and other rides. Besides, you can gorge on mulled wine every evening and eat scrumptuous street food while you browse through local knick knacks at the German market or empty your purse at the high street big brand sales. Very memorable!
Various locations in the centre of Edinburgh;
This fantastic pub in Leith has spectacular views of the Firth of Forth (try and get an outside table for the best views) and the staff are really friendly. It is 'the' place in Leith to grab a drink or a quick meal (the lamb stew is the best dish). It's great for families as children are allowed in the conservatory upstairs.
Trinity Cres, Leith, Edinburgh
Tel: 0131 552 1233
Jam-packed full of famous writers, poets, novelists and journalists – plus some you’ve never heard of! Lovely, relaxed venue in Charlotte Square Gardens. If you love books, you’ll love this festival but be warned, the big names sell out quickly so get booking. Look out for Harold Pinter, Charley Boorman, Antonia Fraser, Andrew Motion, Owen Sheers, Stephen Venables and Sarah Waters among the 600 authors.
There is also a mix of ticketed events and free drop-in workshops and storytelling sessions for kids, as well as some great events for teenagers this year, including a debate on climate change with Joss Garman and Sandy Starr from the Manifesto Club.
12th to 28th August 2006, Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh; tel: 0845 373 5888;
Closest station: Edinburgh Waverley;
At the far end of the Royal Mile is the Outlook Tower, and inside is one of the most remarkable of inventions from the mid-nineteenth century, a Camera Obscura. To visit this is to fall in love with Victorian technology with its gleaming brass and polished mahogany.
Climb to the top of the tower and enter a darkened room with a white circular table in the middle. At the appointed hour a guide appears for the ritual. Above the table in the summit of the tower is a complex arrangement of ropes and pulleys that ingeniously manipulate a variety of lenses. The guide, by means of these, can make images of the streets below appear on the white table, complete with people and traffic. So clever is the system that it is possible to zoom in on individuals, who appear with the most startling clarity.
Visit the Camera Obscura and be captivated by its archaic charm. There is a fascination about this mechanism, which ensures that any subsequent visits to the city will include a return to the Outlook Tower.
And forget the camcorder.
Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh;
tel: 0131 226 3709;
A warren of underground streets and houses hidden beneath Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Costumed guides take you around this amazing site, revealing the stories of the former residents. Very eerie and supposedly very haunted. Great for adults and older kids alike.
Mary King's Close, off the Royal Mile;
Bookings: 08702 430 160;
A small, "independent" cinema just up the road from the larger and more obvious Odeon and Filmhouse. It has an old-fashioned entrance, with the films and times chalked up on a blackboard on the way in. Shows a mix of independent, art-house and cultish mainstream films, with midnight specials and Sunday double-bill matinees. Friendly young staff (apparently there's a waiting list to work there), old-fashioned foyet snack shop, and a small bar/cafe in the back. A really nice cinema experience.
Home Street (top end of Lothian Road).
0131 228 4141
Served by buses: 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 23, 27, 37 to Tollcross
or the 23, 27 to Lauriston Place.
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