Over the last week, Edinburgh’s been getting all sparkly and ready to celebrate the festive season. I’m excited because I’ve discovered a night-time hand-held setting on my camera, which means I might even be able to share some pretty pics with you to entice you to spend a few days with us in the remaining weeks of the year. If, like us, you’re looking for a way to boost your blogging activity during this fabulous winter season, then take a look at the link below to find details of how you can join in the #Blogmanay project. A chance for small businesses like ours to participate in the excitement of welcoming guests to Edinburgh.
Prepare to be surprised by the discoveries you make during Previously…Scotland’s History Festival.
Genealogical research can lead one in so many different directions, and is a hobby which has been growing over the years with programmes such as “Who do you Think You Are” demonstrating the incredible stories which make a family history. I’ve dabbled with collecting stories from my own family history over the years: having conversations with relatives and snatching time every so often to work on a particularly stubborn bit of the story where I get stuck and can’t get further. There’s one particular ancestor who had 12 children and who lived from 1870 – 1945 whose story pulls me back every time I pick up the threads to continue my research.
It was a tale about this member of my family which led me to book for one of the events at Warriston Cemetery during the 2013 Scotland’s History Festival led by Caroline Gerard, one of the Friends of Warriston Cemetery. There’s a Facebook Group you can join too.
On arrival at the event, we were offered the opportunity to contribute an additional £2 over our ticket price (of £4) for the tour to become a Friend of Warriston. As I’d already seen some of the work the group are doing, I was happy to make this small donation. The tour on the 16th November 2013 was the first of two being offered. The next is on 30th November 2013.
One of the surprises about the tour of a graveyard was that it wasn’t at all gloomy! Caroline has such enthusiasm for her subject, and told stories of astronomers and Celtic crosses, solicitors and architects, flora and fauna, musicians and anesthetists – as well as giving some quick sketches of the great and the good of Edinburgh’s bygone days.
The connection to the Beatles song from which I’ve taken the title for this post is the stuff of urban legend. One of the graves which has been recently uncovered by the work undertaken by the Friends of Warriston Cemetery in cutting back ivy from memorials which had disappeared has the following inscription:
“Sacred to the Memory of William Batty Patrick Darby son of William and Elizabeth Darby Professionally known as Pablo Fanque who died 1st February 1852, Aged 13 Months Also of Elizabeth, their Daughter who died at Tuam Ireland 30th Oct. 1852, Aged 3 years and 4 months”
It’s the PABLO FANQUE name which takes this headstone from a memorial of family tragedy to the connection to John Lennon and the Beatles… for Mr Fanque was a Circus Proprietor for 30 years in the golden age of the circus, and is quoted in the song from Sgt Pepper, “For the benefit of Mr Kite” for which John Lennon took inspiration from a poster advertising one of Pablo Fanque’s Circus Performances. The lyrics include the lines:
For the benefit of Mr. Kite
There will be a show tonight on trampoline
The Hendersons will all be there
Late of Pablo Fanque’s Fair, what a scene
An inspiring tour from Caroline Gerard whose stories brought the walk to life. Her enthusiasm for the subjects shone through, for the human and social history; the biodiversity of the area; and the craft of the sculptors on display in the graveyard. Thanks Caroline! I’ll be returning to other aspects of this tour in future blogs.
If you’re inspired to come to Edinburgh to find out more about your own family history, consider coming during November when Previously…Scotland’s History Festival takes place – experts like Caroline are a joy to meet and learn from and could help you take further steps in your own research.
We do hope that you’ll get in touch in your search for accommodation – Craigwell Cottage is very conveniently situated for researching at Scotland’s People Centre (under 15 minutes walk) as well as being next door to New Calton burial ground – a subject for another day.
Since the first “Previously…Scotland’s History Festival”, the number and range of events being staged to market Robert Louis Stevenson Day has been growing, and this year the events take many forms – from a morning walk to Swanston, to readings of his poetry for children, to afternoon tea and an hour of lively discussion. My personal choice of events would be to go on the walk at 10:30; followed by a visit to the Writers’ Museum at 2 pm; then a quick sprint downhill to 17 Heriot Row for Afternoon Tea and a Talk; with the day being rounded off by the discussion at the Royal College of Physicians at 7 pm.
This is of course, just the beginning of an extravaganza of exploration into Scotland’s History – what events will you be going along to?
Read more: Events for Robert Louis Stevenson Day
Scotland’s History Festival: Previously…
We’d love to welcome you to Craigwell Cottage if you’d like to spend a short break in Edinburgh during November – an ideal time to come as the city gets ready to celebrate the festive season, with Light Night being on 24 November this year.
Edinburgh in November – a great time for visitors who are looking to research their Scottish Ancestry. The city is a little quieter before we gear up for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, making it an ideal time for visitors who are looking to do some research into their Family Tree.
On Twitter recently, we were having a chat (#EdinHour) about spooky things to do in October, and a thread of conversation popped up about The Red Lady of Warriston Cemetery. This triggered a memory of an aunt of mine talking about going to visit her granny’s grave, and having to pass the grave of the Red Lady. A quick search on Google, and I was able to see some images of the grave which had been a magnificent memorial in its day, but had now sadly been vandalised beyond recognition.
Of course, it’s not the Red Lady who is my relative, but just that the Red Lady is a grave which my aunt passed by – but, given that I thought that the relative in question was buried in a different cemetery, it’s another clue in my journey to discover more about one particular person who fascinates me in my own family.
I was delighted to find out that the Friends of Warriston Cemetery are running two events during Scotland’s History Festival in November – see the programme for details. The events run on the 16th and 30th November and are led by local genealogist Caroline Gerard.
I’m hoping go on one of the tours to gather some more clues about how to find out more about my own family tree. If you’re hoping to travel to Edinburgh to do some research into your own family tree, then we’d be very happy to welcome you to Craigwell Cottage – your home-from-home in Edinburgh’s city centre.
This month’s #ScotlandHourTwitter chat is about the Great Indoors: Visitor Attractions & Museums – and of course, a Hallowe’en special.
As the weather turned wild and windy on Sunday during our weekend walk through Inverleith Park after a trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens, we thought “The Great Indoors” was indeed a good theme!
Ideas for the great indoors if you’re heading for a short break in Edinburgh:
- Within a mile of Craigwell Cottage, there are so many visitor attractions you can walk to. In our research for #ScotlandHour, we took a look at the ASVA Website which has a list of Scottish Visitor Attractions which you can search by location. There were more than 20 within a mile of EH8 8DR (our postcode).
- As the seasons change, there are fabulous opportunities to take advantage of sunny spells in the weather for walks around the city. The Royal Botanic Gardens has several cafés on-site, which means you can pop indoors, or steam gently in the giant glasshouses while sheltering from the elements.
- Find a pub with a cosy fire and enjoy being indoors after your bracing walk. We found at warm fire and a warm welcome at the Blue Goose Country Pub (opposite the Water of Leith Visitor Centre). We’re on the lookout for more to recommend.
- Sample some real hot chocolate at The Cocoa Tree in Bruntsfield.
- Spend a day exploring the National Galleries on the mound and have refreshments at The Scottish Café – a whole day and no need to go outdoors as you walk between the Scottish National Gallery and The Royal Scottish Academy via the Hawthornden Link.
What are your favourite recommendations for visitors to spend time indoors in Edinburgh?
As I’m sitting researching the 2014 Events Calendar, it’s already looking BIG for Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole, as we prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2014 Ryder Cup, the 2014 Year of Homecoming and the regular events in the Edinburgh calendar – with Christmas and Hogmanay Festivals, the Edinburgh International Festivals in August and the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June. All good reasons to visit Edinburgh, and to book early for dates you’re interested in.
Our weekly lets start on a Friday during July and August, but we’re flexible with dates throughout the year – just let us know what you’re looking for.
2014 Edinburgh Calendar of Events
5 – 20 April 2014 Edinburgh International Science Festival
18 – 29 June 2014 (dates to be confirmed) Edinburgh International Film Festival
23 July – 3 August 2014 Commonwealth Games – with the Diving events being based at the Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh from 31 July – 2 August 2014.
1 – 23 August 2014 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Edinburgh Castle
1 – 25 August 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Edinburgh
8 – 31 August 2014 Edinburgh International Festival – Edinburgh
9 – 25 August 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival – Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
28 – 31 August 2014 Edinburgh Mela
26 – 28 September 2013 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Scotland
30 November – St Andrews Day
30 November – 26 December – Festive Season & Christmas Celebrations
28 December 2014 – 2 January 2015 New Year Celebrations (dates of festivities to be confirmed)
Looks like we’ll be having lots of fun in 2014 in Scotland – would you like to be part of it? We’re booking up fast for dates of big events at Craigwell Cottage – don’t leave it too late!
- Susan -
We’ve been taking a look at what’s on in Edinburgh in November, as thoughts turn to Christmas and fun to be had exploring the city and enjoying shorter daylight hours, and longer hours of darkness. A time for hot chocolate, keeping warm and enjoying the great indoors.
Some ideas to add to a weekend break or short break in Edinburgh:
13 – 30 November 2013 – Previously… Scotland’s History Festival returns around the city, including celebrations for Robert Louis Stevenson day(13 November).
24 November 2013 (Sunday) – no tickets required – Just make your way to Edinburgh’s George Street for Light Night – singing at various stages along the street, switching on the Christmas lights and Fireworks to round off the evening 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm – details at: Edinburgh’s Christmas
30 November 2013 (Saturday) – early purchase tickets available now – our friend Tom Cannavan is one of the 5 wine experts known collectively as “The Wine Gang” who’ll be bringing the Christmas edition of The Wine Fair to Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms on St Andrew’s Day. We heard Tom’s presentation at the Crail Food Festival this year, and he brings knowledge and entertainment to the tricky business of choosing the right wine to complement your Christmas food and drink. A great way to select your ideal accompaniment to your Christmas menus.
Remember, Disney’s The Lion King is on at the Playhouse throughout November and December, finishing it’s only Scottish dates on 18 January 2014.
At Craigwell Cottage, we can offer weekend breaks in November, and we’ve just added some 4for3 mid-week breaks in November and December too. Details here.
Our August guests have had to cut short their month-long stay. There is an opportunity for some lucky visitors to book a short break for the last weekend of August, which includes the Sunday 1 September – the date of the Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks Concert. Featuring music played by the Scottish Chamber and spectacular fireworks from Edinburgh Castle. Tickets for the Ross Bandstand sold out months ago, but why not Check Virgin Money Fireworks Concert Tickets for the latest on tickets for access to Princes Street Gardens…Romantic picnic anyone? Alternatively, there are many vantage points around the city from which you can watch the fireworks display while tuning in to the concert on the radio!
When you’re staying in a city centre cottage, in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, there’s so much to do within a few hundred yards of your front door. Here is a quick selection for you to try
- Visit the Scottish Parliament
- Visit the Queen’s Gallery
- Visit the Palace of HolyroodHouse
- Visit Dynamic Earth
- Visit the Museum of Edinburgh
Where do you like to visit around the Canongate section of the Royal Mile?