If you visit Edinburgh, you will surely have heard the name
Arthur’s Seat. A famous landmark, visited by tourists and locals alike and a
great view point to see all around Edinburgh, if you manage it all the way to
the top. It lies East of the city centre, approximately 1 mile from Edinburgh
Castle and is 250.5 metres in height.
As well as being a popular site to visit for walking and
hiking, Arthur’s Seat is also a site of special scientific interest, being
important for its geology, various species of plants and animals and also their
habitats. Indeed, if you have an interest in volcanoes and how they change the
landscape, you should definitely visit and do a bit of research on Arthur’s
Seat and the surrounding areas.
In history, Arthur’s Seat was used as a hill fort. Indeed, Hill fort defences are visible round the main massif
of Arthur’s Seat at Dunsapie Hill and above Samson’s Rib.
As you walk up the hill, the first thing that strikes you is how
many people are visiting this area. Very easy to get to, with Holyrood Park
just below, the Scottish Parliament building, Dynamic earth and The Palace of
Holyrood House are also very near, public transport regularly passes this area.
As well as this, there are car parking spaces at the Holyrood Park side. You
are never alone while walking up Arthur’s Seat, there’s always someone to nod
hello to as you pass.
The climb from the Holyrood Palace side is fairly easy up until
the higher points, where it becomes rocky and not for those who aren’t sure
footed, however, even if you only manage to go partway up, you can still be
stunned by the lovely views of Edinburgh.
If you’re a budding writer or film maker, Arthur’s Seat is
inspiring, being the focal point of many famous book and films such as The
Underground City by Jules Verne and One Day by David Nicholls.
Whoever you are, if you are coming to Scotland and you have the
ability to use your legs, Arthur’s Seat should be on your go to list. You won’t
be disappointed and you’ll be able to take photographs to impress your friends.
Winter Sundays in Edinburgh can be a bit slow. There’s lots
to do but if you are feeling the cold and just want to be somewhere warm, what
do you choose to do? Cinema, bowling, etc are all great but sometimes you feel
like being in touch with nature again and one place you can do that is Butterly
and Insect World at Lasswade.
On their website, there’s plenty of information about what they offer as well as the standard opening times and prices. https://www.edinburghbutterflyworld.com/ . Bear in mind that the ticket price is a day ticket so even if you go out for lunch or a walk around the nearby garden centre and shopping complex, as long as you keep your ticket you may go in and out as often as you want in that day. That means you can make a day of it in the area because, serviced by the same car park, you have Dobbies Garden World and its lovely cafe and shops such as Lakeland and Shuropody, etc https://www.dobbies.com/find-a-garden-centre/edinburgh/
When we went on Sunday, the first thing that struck me was
how small it was. However, we found that you could easily spend a couple of
hours there just sitting and giving the butterflies a chance to come to you,
which they did. While we strolled through, it was lovely to feel the warm,
almost tropical temperatures and enjoy seeing the butterflies glide past us and,
a couple of times, land on our hair and clothes! There are seats strategically
placed to allow visitors to spend time just absorbing the quiet atmosphere and gaze
at the various types of butterflies flying freely in this purpose made
environment. On the way in you can purchase an identification catalogue which
shows the types of butterflies you might see and allows you to tick them off as
you identify them; a great thing for the kids.
In this area, there are other animals to see too. We spotted
some bantam hens wandering about. There were tortoises and terrapins.
When we’d have enough of serenity we decided to challenge
our fears a little and entered the reptile house. Again, not a huge place but
it had enough to keep us curious. Snakes, lizards of various kinds, various
insects and Spiders! Some of the biggest, hairiest spiders! Fortunately, these guys were all behind screens and
visitors could look on without worrying about one crawling up their leg. There was also an area for nocturnal animals;
slightly darker and here you could see various small nocturnal animals.
On the way out we had the obligatory look around the gift
shop and there you could buy novelty items, big or small. Many things were offered
at pocket money prices but there were also more expensive items if you wanted
something a bit special.
After our visit to Butterfly World we had a little stroll through the shops and the garden centre and noticed that there is a farm shop selling food as well as a butchers, a cycle shop and many others.
All in all, we had a lovely time and I would certainly recommend this day out. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities and especially if you have any little ones interested in bugs and beasties.
Edinburgh has visitors all year round from all over the world. The busiest time, of course, is the late summer when the Edinburgh Festival https://www.eif.co.uk/ is in full swing however, when that frenzy has ended until next year, the city is a bit calmer and this gives visitors the chance to explore with greater ease.
We decided to do just that and from the bus stop at Polwarth Church we discovered from a lady called Elsie that we could get the number 10 or the number 27 and that would take us to the city centre, where we could get off at Princess Street. The bus ride was entertainment itself, with the majority of the people making their way to hear Doddie Weir, a famous Edinburgh Rugby Player, say a few words in the centre of town. The bus ride was full of lively people, mainly enjoying life and I must say, I enjoyed the buzz and the chat and so did Elsie. In fact, she was very animated and said “it’s jist like the auld days when it’s like this, it’s awfy braw tae huv a blether”. And yes, it was braw.
In the City Centre and Down Leith Walk.
We disembarked from the number 27 bus and found ourselves in Princess Street. It really is the most beautiful street, with the wonderful Princess Street Gardens on one side and on the other side, shops still housed in the beautiful buildings that are famous throughout the world. In spite of the colder weather having arrived, the street was still busy with shoppers and we decided it was time to venture further, to slightly less busy places.
With a keen interest in saving the planet, like most folk these days, I have taken a liking to recycling. Not just plastic bottles and the like, but furniture and other larger items. I’ve always loved antiques and curiosities and the furniture our grannies used to have but due to this love not being shared by all of the household, I invariably don’t get my way. However, now it’s all the rage and growing in popularity, with many more people seeing the point to repairing rather than replacing. So, without hesitation, I made my way down Leith Walk as I sought out The Edinburgh Remakery who, in their website, say Learn, Fix, Shop. https://www.edinburghremakery.org.uk/
Basically, you can go there for lessons to learn how to repair all manner of things or you can just get your broken things repaired at a reasonable cost or you can purchase the things that they sell there. It’s very impressive, the work that they do there; inclusive and benefits the whole community.
What is the Edinburgh Remakery? The Edinburgh Remakery is a social enterprise, community repair hub and second-hand shop based in the Leith area of Edinburgh. Our vision is to create an alternative to a disposable society by making repair education accessible to all, to build a stronger, waste-free community and support vulnerable people within our city. We run workshops and teach different repair techniques and skills around sewing and textiles, IT, phones and computers, and furniture and woodwork. We also refurbish and upcycle second-hand furniture items, textiles, and IT equipment, rescuing these from becoming waste and giving them a new lease of life. We then sell these quality and affordable refurbished items at the Edinburgh Remakery.
This had taken more time that we thought it would. If you ever feel like walking down to the end of Leith Walk, I suggest sensible shoes; it’s a long street. The good thing, though, about walking there is you give yourself the chance to see what’s on offer. Edinburgh Art Shop http://www.edinburghartshop.co.uk/ proved to be a real Aladdin’s cave for the budding artist and we managed to purchase a few goodies there that will keep us busy on a rainy day.
Shopping all done, we decided we needed food so, as we travelled back towards Princess Street, we looked at the various places offering an array of world foods. We didn’t know what we fancied but eventually came across Slum Dog https://slumdogdelivered.com/ , a takeaway with a small seating area that advertised Indian food. The premises looked unpretentious and we hoped the food would be the same. We weren’t disappointed; delicious, freshly cooked food came to our table. The price was very reasonable and the portions so large that we had to take some home and the waiter was the friendliest man ever; he couldn’t do enough for us. What more do you want when you eat out?
Our bellies filled, doggy bag in hand, we decided it was now time to retire and call it a day. Back to Princess Street to try to find the bus back to Polwarth; this was harder than it seemed. We walked along Princess Street and went from one bus stop to another until we were at the end and we still hadn’t unravelled the mysteries of bus catching to go back to our starting point. But, at last, we found a bus stop on Lothian Road and a very nice woman who advised us that our desired chariot would be along shortly. We even managed to download the Transport for Edinburgh app under her friendly supervision which came in very handy indeed. All in all, a good day with lots of good discoveries.