Tag Archives: Edinburgh

What to do in Edinburgh, the best Edinburgh attractions and places to stay in Edinburgh.

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh2

Damian Ortega’s ‘States of Time’ at the Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh

The ‘States of Time’ exhibition by the Mexican artist Damian Ortega at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh runs until 23 October 2016.

All the work featured was created specifically for the ‘States of Time’ exhibition, which focuses on the interaction of the forces of nature and the earth. Most of the work was made using clay.

I wasn’t that keen on the first piece I saw ‘Broken Sac’. It was like one boulder surrounded by smaller stones.  I later read that the work was inspired by a crab on a beach making a home by digging out small balls of sand from a larger mass.

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh8

The five sculptures in ‘Eroded Valley’, depicting river erosion in a plain, were more appealing to me.

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh1

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh4

‘Eroded Valley’ reminded me of ‘Bed’ by Antony Gormley, which I’d see at Tate Britain in London. The bed in Gormley’s work from 1980-81 was created with 8,640 slices of white bread which he dried and tipped in paraffin wax.

gormleys-bed-in-tate-britain-london

In a small room off the main exhibition space on the ground of the Fruitmarket Gallery, there were three sculptures hanging from the ceiling. I thought of them as a cross between mobiles (defined as decorative hanging sculpture suspended so that it can move freely in the air), and unevenly beaded door curtains.

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh6

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh5

There was another set of mobiles/beaded curtains hanging above the stairs to the first floor. In the video about the exhibition Ortego likened this installation to clouds, entitling it ‘Altocumulus’.

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh3

A large display cabinet housed ‘Abrasive Objects’. a variety of clay models of tools.

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh10

The clay used in ‘Icebergs’ had been painted and glazed.

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh11

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh

I thought that ‘Lava Waves’ evoked a feeling of movement and unleashed energy.

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh12jpg

damian-ortega-states-of-time-at-fruitmarket-gallery-edinburgh7

If you’re in central Edinburgh before 24 October 2016, I recommend that you pop into the Fruitmarket Gallery to see ‘States of Time’ by Damian Ortega. It’s free to enter. The gallery is open seven days a week from 11am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, and noon to 5pm on Sunday.

travelodge edinburgh central waterloo place room

Review of Travelodge Edinburgh Central Waterloo Place

I stayed at Travelodge Edinburgh Central Waterloo Place for 2 nights over the Easter weekend. I’d been swithering about spending some time in Edinburgh that weekend. When I spotted a 20% off Travelodge discount code, reducing the price for a two night stay on the Sunday and Monday night to £72 (on the non-refundable Saver rate), I decided to book,

travelodge edinburgh central waterloo place exterior

The Travelodge Edinburgh Central Waterloo Place is in a great location. It’s a five minute walk from Waverley Station, virtually opposite the St James shopping centre, yet in a fairly quiet street.

There are some on street parking spaces close to the hotel, which are free overnight. I arrived after 7pm so I was able to park on a single yellow line right outside the hotel to unload my luggage and check-in.

The lobby at the Travelodge Edinburgh Central Waterloo Place is small. It has a couple of chairs and vending machines.

travelodge edinburgh central waterloo place reception

I was allocated a room on the top floor at the back of the hotel, with two large windows overlooking a side street. This was perfect for me, as it was nice and quiet.

view from room at travelodge edinburgh central waterloo place

I generally try to book a family room at Travelodges, in order to have a bit more space. But there were only family rooms available when I booked.

The bed was very comfy and curtains shut out most of the light in the morning.. Travelodge offer 30 minutes free WiFi, it’s £3 per 24 hours. I used my own WiFi hotspot using tethering from my mobile phone.

I thought that a strip light above the desk would be a good idea, as the lighting wasn’t adequate when I was working on my laptop at the desk.

Review of Travelodge Edinburgh Central Waterloo Place

When I arrived back at my room around 3.30pm on the Monday, my room hadn’t been clean. A member of staff did arrive around 4.30pm to service the room, but I said not to bother as I was only there for another night.

I was very happy with the location and my room at the Travelodge Edinburgh Central Waterloo Place. I thought that at £36 a night, it offered good value for money.

the potting shed edinburgh sea bass and mussel main course

Review of the Potting Shed Edinburgh

I paid £26 for a Travelzoo voucher for a three course meal for two people at the Potting Shed in Edinburgh.

We ate at the Potting Shed on a Monday evening. It was quiet when we arrived at 7pm. By 8pm it was busier; mainly with customers drinking from the selection of craft beers.

The interior is a bit makeshift, sacking on the roof and various garden implements hanging from the ceiling and walls.

the potting shed edinburgh interior

When I phoned to book a table, I was advised that there wouldn’t be a full menu that evening. Once I established that there would be at least three choices for each course, I proceeded with the booking.

When we arrived there was no note of my booking. Our son Gary ordered a beer described as chocolately. When the beer arrived it looked more like lager, so he queried if it was the correct order. A couple of minutes later the correct beer appeared.

I started with Scallops, which were very tasty, But I would have liked more salad as an accompaniment.

the potting shed edinburgh scallops starter

You had to search under the salad to find the few blobs of Goat’s Cheese Mousse in Gary’s starter.

the potting shed edinburgh goats cheese mousse starter

My Sea Bass and Mussel main course was good, but again I’d have liked more vegetable to balance the dish.

the potting shed edinburgh sea bass

The addition of bacon topping and cheese sauce meant that Gary’s Venison stuffed with Haggis ended up as right mismash of flavours.

the potting shed edinburgh venison stuffed with haggis main couse

As I hadn’t found the meal filling, I opted for the Cheese Board as dessert. It was a wise choice, as I was able to share it with Gary. I’d have liked more crackers for the amount of cheese served.

the potting shed edinburgh cheese board

Gary’s Churros with chocolate sauce were over sweet.

the potting shed edinburgh churros

When I went to pay for the drink I was charged the wrong amount. Between no trace of the booking, the incorrect beer being brought to the table and the the mistake in the bill, I found the service to be poor. There appeared to be plenty of staff on duty. Perhaps giving each member of staff defined duties, instead of everyone mucking in would lead to improved customer service?

Overall, we didn’t enjoy the food. The ingredients were of good quality, but the small servings, the lack of vegetables and some weird flavour combinations didn’t work for us.

Our issues with the food could be rectified by offering customers a bread basket, serving more vegetables, sticking to simpler flavours and using less sugar in the Churros. None of these suggestions would cost much.

premier inn edinburgh central lauriston place bedroom

Review of Premier Inn Edinburgh Central Lauriston Place

I stayed at the Premier Inn Edinburgh Central Lauriston Place on a Monday night in early November 2015. It cost £29 on the non-refundable Premier Saver rate, booked two months in advance. It’s unusual to find such low rates on a weekday night at a Premier Inn in Edinburgh, I assume that’s because it was low season.

premier inn edinburgh central lauriston place exterior

The Premier Inn Edinburgh Central Lauriston Place is in a great location. It only takes a few minutes to walk to the Grassmarket, the National Museum for Scotland and the Meadows. It’s around 15 minutes to walk to Edinburgh Waverley railway station.

You can get a reduced rate at a couple of fairly nearby multi storey car parks, at a cost of £12 for 24 hours. This is a big reduction, as my Dad told me he paid £23 at one of these car parks for around 7 hours. There’s pay and display parking from 8.30am to 6.30pm in the street opposite the hotel. It costs £2.40 per hour, with a maximum stay of four hours. As i planned to depart after the morning rush hour, I brought my car at 6.30pm and paid £2 to park until 9.20 the following morning.

The receptionists were very friendly. My room looked towards some traditional flats. There was a bit of traffic noise when the window was open, but I didn’t hear any exterior noise once I closed the window.

premier inn edinburgh central lauriston place view from bedroom

The room had air-con, which would be useful in the Summer, as I thought that the room was pretty warm for early November. The room was on the small side compared to most Premier Inns at which I’ve stayed at previously. The room was in pristine condition. It even had fluffy towels.

premier inn edinburgh central lauriston place

I didn’t try the free WiFi, as I prefer to set up my own WiFi hotspot as long as I have enough data left on my monthly contract. This is for two reasons, in most cities I get a faster signal through tethering, and I don’t have to give any personal details to register for the accommodation WiFi.

I was very happy with the standard of my room at the Premier Inn Edinburgh Central Lauriston Place. If you manage to find a room here for under £30 a night, it’s good value for money.

Dodo installation at British Art Show 8 at Scottish National Gallery for Modern Art Edinburgh

British Art Show 8 in Edinburgh

The British Art Show 8 is in Edinburgh until 8 May 2016. It’s spread over three venues; the Rice Talbot Gallery at the University of Edinburgh, Inverleith House in the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One.

I visited the exhibits at the National Gallery.

I loved the ‘Diagrams of Love: Marriage of Eyes‘ rug by Lender.

Diagrams of Love Marriage of Eyes by Lender British Art Show 8 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Edinburgh

The rug is used in the performance of the ‘Children of the Mantic Stain‘ by Northern Ballet. You can watch a video clip of the ballet.

Diagrams of Love Marriage of Eyes by Lenderat British Art Show 8

The ‘Feed Me‘ flim by Rachel MacLean is featured on the British Art Show 8 poster outside the Scottish National Gallery of Art. It’s a rather disturbing blend of fairytale, horror movies and TV talent shows depicting the sexualisation of children and the infantilism of adults.

british art show 8 poster

The sculptures by Magali Reus were inspired by interior mechanism of locks.

Sculptures by Magazine Reus at British Art Show 8 at Scottish National Gallery of Art Edinburgh

The ‘Dodo‘ installation by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin charts the changes in the coastline of San Carlos in Mexico brought about by the filming of the ‘Catch 22’ movie in that location. I liked the projection of the blades of a turbine onto a screen.

‘The ‘Kipper and the Corpse’ by Stuart Whipps is composed of parts of a Mini built at Longbridge in 1979, laid out on pages of the Sun newspaper dating from that year. The car will be rebuilt during the final stop of the British Art Show in Southampton later this year.

Parts of Mini made at Longbridge in 1979, exhibit at British Art Show 8

Below are my two favourite paintings from the collection by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

twice done at biritsh art show 8

‘The Twice Done’

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, British Art Show 8

‘A Radical Under Beechwood’

Mikhal Karikis ‘Children of Unquiet’ is an intriguing film about a former geothermal power station and the now deserted adjacent worker’s accommodation in Italy. The sounds produced by the geysers and the water in the factory’s pipes are reproduced by children playing around the site.

premier inn edinburgh centre haymarket bedroom

Review of Premier Inn Edinburgh City Centre Haymarket

I stayed at the Premier Inn Edinburgh City Centre Haymarket on a Sunday night in November 2015. It cost £29 for the night on the non-refundable Premier Saver rate, booked a couple of months in advance.

premier inn edinburgh centre haymarket exterior

It’s the largest Premier Inn at which I’ve stayed. It’s located a two minute walk from Haymarket Railway Station, where you can take a bus or tram to and from the iairport. There’s onsite guest parking, on a first come first service basis, charged at £8 per 24 hour period. This is a reasonable price for the convenience.

I was allocated a room at the back of the hotel, overlooking the car park and the back of traditional apartment blocks. This suited me, as it was nice and quiet.

premier inn edinburgh centre haymarket view from my room

The room was large, but looking slightly tired compared to some of the newer, or recently refurbished, Premier Inns at which I’ve stayed.

I liked the fact that the room had two armchairs, as well as a chair at the desk. Premier Inn now offer free WiFi. I didn’t try it, as you had to register to use it, and I had enough data available that month to tether through my Three Mobile monthly contract.

premier inn edinburgh centre haymarket desk area in bedroom

The bar and restaurant area on the ground floor was pleasant. I hung around there for a few minutes after the noon departure time, as the nearby restaurant at which I planned to have lunch, Mr Basrai’s World Cuisine, didn’t open until 12.30

premier inn edinburgh centre haymarket restaurant

In summary. I thought that the £29 room at Premier Inn Edinburgh City Centre Haymarket offered good value for money for comfortable, quiet, centrally located accommodation.

main course at kalpna vegetarian indian restaurant in edinburgh

Review of Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant Edinburgh

The Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, in St Patrick’s Square Edinburgh, offers a daily lunch buffet for £8 per adult between 12 – 2pm.

Although I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t eat much meat, so I thought I’d give the Kalpna a try.

kalpna vegetarian indian restaurant edinburgh exterior

Exterior of the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant

The Kalpna is attractive inside with mosaics on the wall.

kalpna vegetarian indian restaurant edinburgh the interiorjpg

Interior of the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant

I knew from reading the restaurant’s website, that the buffet selection was limited ; two starters, three main courses, two salads, rice and bread.

lunch buffet at kalpna vegetarian indian restaurant edinburgh

Lunch buffet at the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant

I enjoyed the broccoli pakora starter.

starters at kalpna vegetarian indian restaurant in edinburgh

Starters at the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant

My favourite curry was the spinach and mushroom.

kalpna vegetarian indian restaurant edinburgh main coursejpg

Main course at the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant

There was some kind of milk pudding at the right hard side of the buffet with a sign saying that it cost an additional £1 each. I thought that, for the price of £8, desserts should be included in the price.

I found the food at the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant to be very tasty and nothing was too spicy for me.

I’m not sure that I’d return to the Kalpna. The (non vegetarian) lunch buffet at the Red Fort Indian Restaurant in Drummond Street, which also costs £8, offers a wider choice of starters and main courses. The price also includes a soft drink, plus the choice of ice cream or a coffee to finish.

interiir of Shamoli buffet restaurant in edinburgh

Review of Shamoli Restaurant in Royal Mile Edinburgh

We had lunch at the Shamoli restaurant in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. It’s somewhere that I’ve been meaning to try for years, after seeing a person with a board advertising the restaurant at the crossroads between the Royal Mile and North Bridge.

The Shamoli is located above the Rabbie Burns bistro and whisky bar. An Indian and Thai lunch buffet costs £7.95 per adult. It says on the sign outside that kids eat free, but I couldn’t see the details on that. I liked the fact the lunch is the same price every day and is served until 4.30pm.

exterior of Shamoli buffet restaurant in Royal Mile Edinburgh

The interior is light and welcoming.

shamoli restuarant edinburgh in the royal mile

I loved the leaded glass windows.

interior of the Shamoli restuarant in Edinburgh

There’s not a very wide selection of food on the buffet.

buffet selection at shamoli restaurant in edinburgh

It was quiet in the restaurant when we ate there, so the fried starters were past their best.

starter at shamoli restaurant in edinburgh

I found all the main courses to be a bit too hot for my taste, even those labelled as medium. My favourite was the Thai Chicken, which although it was labelled as hot, wasn’t as hot as the supposedly medium Vegetable Bhuna. The Nan Bread was good, it wasn’t freshly cooked, but was well preserved.

thai main course at Shamoli buffet restaurant in Royal Mile Edinburgh

There was no dessert included in the buffet

After our buffet lunch at the Shamoli restaurant, we discussed if we’d eat there again. I really liked the ambience, but the food was too hot for my taste, and I missed having a dessert. Therefore, I’d prefer to eat at either the Ashoka Buffet in Hanover Street, or the Red Fort in Drummond Street. My husband also liked the interior. As he enjoyed the Thai food, he said he would go to the Shamoli again.

pickering's gin at summerhall distillery edinburgh - display

Pickering’s Gin Made in the Summerhall Distillery Edinburgh

We visited Summerhall with our son Gary during the Edinburgh Open Doors weekend in late September.

Until 2011,  Summerhall was home to the Royal Dick Veterinary School. I have family connections with the Vet School;  my brother studied there and my husband worked there.

I already knew that Summerhall has been transformed into a creative art hub, as Gary had been to some gigs there. Gary was also aware that there was a brewery at Summerhall.  But we didn’t know that since last year there’s  been a distillery making  Pickering’s Gin at Summerhall.

pickering's gin at summerhall distillery edinburgh - scooter

The head distiller Chris gave a presentation, and then offered some neat samples. As a teetotaller, I didn’t try any. Gary who isn’t a gin drinker, thought it was very good.

pickering's gin at summerhall distillery edinburgh - display cabinet

It’s a pretty small distillery with the bottling done by hand.

pickering's gin at summerhall distillery edinburgh - bottling

There was a vintage Pickering’s Gin delivery van parked outside Summerhall Distillery.

pickering's gin at summerhall distillery edinburgh - vintage delilvery van

I can imagine the trailer, parked in the courtyard, proving very popular at outdoor events.

pickering's gin at summerhall distillery edinburgh - vintage trailer

Usually, you need to contact Summerhall Distillery to book a tour, which costs £10.

my room at the premier inn edinburgh south queensferry

Review of Premier Inn Edinbugh South Queensferry

I stayed at the Premier Inn Edinburgh South Queensferry on a Thursday night in early May 2015.  I paid £35 on the non-refundable advance booking rate, booked on the Premier Inn website.

I’d stayed at the hotel a couple of years ago, when I thought that it was looking a little tired, but I read that the rooms had since been refurbished.

Now, although technically the town of South Queensferry falls within the City of Edinburgh boundary, it lies 10 miles west of the city centre. It’s a good location if you have an early departure or late return from Edinburgh Airport, as outwith rush hour, it takes around ten minutes to drive from the hotel to the airport.

On arrival at the Premier Inn Edinburgh South Queensferry in the early evening, it was hard to find a space in the car park, which is shared with the adjacent Brewer’s Fayre restaurant.

I was allocated a room on the second (top) floor at the front of the hotel. My room had a good view of the construction of the Queensferry Crossing, as well as the current Forth Road Bridge.

view of bridge from room at premier inn edinburgh south queensferry

According to the receptionist, Premier Inn spent £13,000 per room on the refurbishment. It was looking great. There was a well padded golden headboard above the bed. The sofa looked brand new and the Hypnos bed was very comfy.

The desk was large and had plenty of electrical sockets in which to charge my netbook and mobile phones.

desk space in room at the premier inn edinburgh south queensferry

The orientation of the room worked well. it was sunny in the evening, with a welcome lack of morning sunshine. I tried to open the window, but it seemed to be sealed, I assume that was because the room had air-con.

double room at premier inn edinburgh south queensferyy

The bathroom was looking fresh, but still had a shower curtain. I think that Premier Inn should’ve put in a shower screen.

For me, the new and refurbished Premier Inns offer as high a standard of room as I need. Plus, the 2pm check-in and 12 noon check-out times are some of the best in the industry.  If you can get a room for around £30 a night, it’s good value for money. But with rooms in most of the Premier Inns in Edinburgh often costing between £70 – £100 a night, even on the non-refundable Saver rate, I wouldn’t classify Premier Inn as a budget hotel chain.