Tag Archives: Edinburgh

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

Mark by Mark Wallinger at the Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh

Mark by Mark Wallinger is on at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh until 4 June 2017. The Fruitmarket Galley is located in Market Street, close to the southern pedestrian exit of Waverley railway station. It’s free to enter and the gallery is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday 11am to 6pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm.

On the ground floor is the According to Mark installation featuring 100 chairs. Attached to each the chairs is a thread. All the threads converge at a central point on the wall at the front of the installation.

Self Portraits alludes to how all of us can act very differently in various environments and situations.

I am Innocent is a revolving double sided reproduction of Velazquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X.

Wallinger used his own hands in Ego.

Four of Wallinger’s 66 id Paintings are on display.

Below is id Panting 44.

Below is id Painring 50.

The other part of the Mark by Mark Wallinger exhibition is on at Dundee Contemporary Arts, until 4 June 2017.

Now Exhibition at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Edinburgh

The first part of the three year long NOW exhibition is on at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art until 24 September 2017.

A fair part of the exhibition consists of work by the Glaswegian artist Nathan Coley.

It was a bit alarming to see smoke coming for the recently opened Switch House in Coley’s ‘Tate Modern on Fire’.

Another iconic London landmark is featured in Coley’s ‘Paul’

The rear of ‘Paul’ reminded me of a dolls house.

Coley’s installation ‘The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship’ features cardboard models of all the places of worship in Edinburgh listed in 2004.

I loved the texture and colour of the moon in Jock McFadyen’s ‘Calton Hill’.

In the same room Peter Doig’s ‘Milky Way’ is on display.

Another piece which caught my eye was ‘State’ by Louise Hopkins.

China Red Buffet Restaurant in New Market Road Edinburgh

We had lunch at the China Red buffet restaurant in New Market Road,next to the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh, on a Sunday. We’d eaten at the other China Red in Grindlay Street, next to the Usher Hall, on several occasions.

I was keen to try the New Market Road branch as it advertised a double decker rotational food belt. The opportunity to eat at this restaurant to came when I attended the Edinburgh Art Fair in the adjacent Corn Exchange.


The portion sizes were small, which was good if you wanted to try something. The resultant large pile of empty serving dished on the table made me feel greedy. It was a bit frustrating waiting for some dish to do the round if you happened to be chatting when it first passed by.


Most of the dishes which I tried were good. Some of the dishes were lukewarm, as opposed to hot. I mainly stuck to fish dishes, predominantly prawns and salmon. We regularly eat chicken at home, so I try to eat different things when I am eating out. I tried some lamb which wasn’t great.

The only dish that you had to get up from the table to fetch was ice cream.

It costs £15 per adult to eat at the China Red buffet restaurant in New Market Street on Sunday from noon to 10pm. I had a 10% discount voucher, so paid £27 for two diners.

I prefer the more traditional buffet lay out of China Red in Grindlay Sreet, where you go over to the counter to select food. Also the Grindlay Street restaurant is in the city centre; I’m much more likely to be around there than out at the Corn Exchange.

Now 2 at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art Edinburgh

The Now 2 exhibition at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art runs until 18 February 2018. Below are photos of my favourite sections of the exhibition.

Michael Armitage’s large oil paintings on lubago (bark cloth from Uganda) were impressive. They depict scenes in Kenya.

Yto Barrada’s photos are of dolls collected by missionaries in North Africa during the 1930s.

It’s the Turner Prize winning Scottish artist Susan Philipz who has the most floor space at the Now 2 exhibition.

Electra features photos of the remnants of Marconi’s wireless ship called Electra, which was built in Leith. The ship was destroyed during WW2.

The other work by Philipsz Seven Tears spans two rooms. In one, there are works made with salt on canvas. My photos don’t really do them justice, as they have texture and sparkle, which doesn’t come through on the photos.

In the other room, there are seven synchronised record players, each of which plays a single note from John Downland’s Lachramae.

Street of Light Edinburgh

The Street of Light performance in George Street in Edinburgh runs every evening at 6pm and 8pm until 24 December 2016.


The event is free to attend, but you need to book tickets in advance. Even if you don’t get a ticket you can see the show from the pavement on either side.

Street of Light Edinburgh

For some reason, I thought that there was live music from a choir at the Street of Light. But it’s a playback of recorded music.


You need to wear warm clothing as George Street can be a bit of a wind tunnel. I had on double trousers, a jacket with fleece lining, gloves and an insulated hat with my hood up and I was just warm enough.


There are also some pretty light projections on buildings on George Street.




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.


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



‘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.


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.



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’.


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


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



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



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.