Saturday, December 30, 2006

Webcam of Princes Street, Edinburgh

Follow this link to see the view from a webcam on Edinburgh's Princes Street, the main shopping thoroughfare. In the early hours of Hogmonay (local time in Edinburgh, the date shown above this post is US time), known elsewhere as New Year's Eve or in some countries Sylvester, you could see the preparations being made for the annual street party to celebrate the New Year Scottish style.

Whatever the time of year though, it's worth taking a look.

On the same page as this webcam you will also find links to other webcams all around Scotland, such as the Mull of Galloway, Scotland's southernmost point in Galloway.

Check out Scotland Secrets for tips on other aspects of Scotland.

Webcam of Princes Street, Edinburgh

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Edinburgh Castle may cut ticket prices to attract more visitors

If the high price of getting into the famous castle overlooking Scotland's capital has so far put you off looking at it from the inside, there may be hope yet. In an effort to increase income (in view of a projected shortfall in earnings of £500,000) Historic Scotland, the manager of the famous landmark, is looking at various alternatives. GDBFVDH14201824

Options being examined at Edinburgh Castle include a cheaper entry price after 4pm and reduced admission in the winter months.

It is definitely worth going in, once on the inside you can stay there for hours, there is so much to see in the various museums and outdoors as well.

If you are a member of Historic Scotland entry is free (we joined as a family at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, it cost £58 a year for 2 adults and 2 children; in the second year you also get free entry to over 500 historic sites in England, Wales and the Isle of Man ), and you get 20% reductions on all sorts of things, including the electronic hand-held "speaking" guides.

A money saving tip with regard to these gadgets: just get one for your child, if you have one, and share it - it costs a lot less than for an adult (and another 20% off for members!).

Read more here: News - Scotland's holiday industry - Castle may cut ticket prices to attract more visitors

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Edinburgh is travellers' favourite outside London

Edinburgh is in the news again, this time as THE place to go for "locals" other than London.

Hotel company did a survey in various countries of the "favourite destination for locals outside their capital city".

In the UK over 50% picked Edinburgh. So presumably these were English people being surveyed, as Edinburgh is of course the capital for Scots!

If you want to find out a bit about what you can do in other parts of Scotland, check out my site Scotland Secrets.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Overseas visitors to Scotland's capital Edinburgh top a million

Scotland and in this case it's capital Edinburgh have been experiencing a rise in popularity with visitors from overseas. Recently Edinburgh has complained that the national tourism body VisitScotland doesn't do enough for it and there has been talk of setting up their own organisation again, but now, with visitor numbers to Edinburgh at over a million a year, officials are saying the figures should silence the critics.

Meanwhile the rest of the country feels the opposite - most promotion focuses on the capital and the icons to the detriment of all else in Scotland.

Certainly since the centralising that has been going on in the tourism promotion sector has gathered momentum, with the regional tourist organisations becoming mere offices of VisitScotland, the impression is that less and less is done for less iconic regions, such as Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire or the Borders, or far-flung corners of the north of Scotland, while the big cities of the Central Belt (i.e. Edinburgh and Glasgow) and a handful of other icons attract the bulk of attention and funding.

On the other hand, VisitScotland has a range of sectoral promotions running, such as walking or hiking vacations, cycling and mountain biking, Scotland golf vacations, fly fishing and wildlife (e.g. bird watching vacations). These do tend to highlight those areas that offer the particular pastime and thus appeal to the kind of people that might profit from regional and local strengths around Scotland.

Does anyone - from Scotland or outside Scotland - have a comment on this? News - Scotland's holiday industry - Overseas visitors top a million

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Edinburgh - New bus tour serving up city's literary fare News - Scotland's holiday industry - New bus tour serving up city's literary fare
Here's yet another way to see the Scottish capital Edinburgh and discover - or rediscover, if you're an avid reader - something about some of the people who have contributed to the city's reputation as a centre of culture: "The Edinburgh Literary Bus Tour has been set up by the organisers of the city's successful pub tour, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary."

Edinburgh was designated a Unesco city of world literature in 2004, and this is a bus tour with a difference to highlight that: "Actors will perform a one-hour script on the bus as it moves between locations, with examples of the work of authors from past and present included in the script. "

Some of the famous names and places associated with them which are covered by the tour include David Hume, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark ("The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"), Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin.

The tour, which will run twice daily, is expected to attract a more family-orientated audience than the pub crawl, er, pub tour (Freudian slip there).

According to Morris Paton, the managing director of the Scottish Literary Trust Ltd, the launch of the tour is a sign of the growing interest in Edinburgh writers.

"There's been such a renewed interest in Scottish literature generally, especially some of the contemporary writers, that it has taken off and there's huge demand for things like this. "

So, if you're thinking of a trip to Edinburgh, check it out!

Friday, May 19, 2006 News - Sir Walter Scott joins Da Vinci Code trail

Today the film "The Da Vinci Code" opens, and in this connection the Scotsman newspaper published this item telling us that the home of the famous Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, Abbotsford (Galashiels, near Melrose and Selkirk in the Borders region of Southern Scotland) has now joined the trail of Da Vinci Code fans and conspirational theorists - because the library ceiling there is a copy of (relatively) nearby Rosslyn Chapel, in which the story culminates.

Because of the library design, and references in his works to the Knights Templar and "caskets" (two of the clues in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code book and the film with Tom Hanks), many fans are convinced of the link between the creator of the historical novel genre and the Holy Grail. The administrators of Abbotsford have examined the idea, but they conclude that there is no evidence to justify the speculation.

Nevertheless, as the the great writer's home has been in danger of being closed owing to low visitor numbers and a corresponding lack of funding (a donation of £10 million has apparently been sought), they are perfectly happy to welcome fans of the Da Vinci Code who make the short trip from Rosslyn on their pilgrimage through France, England and Scotland to all things connected - however tenuously - with the theory it contains and the locations where the film was made. By the way, at the Scotsman website you can watch a series of five video podcasts about Rosslyn Chapel. News - Sir Walter Scott joins Da Vinci Code trail

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Galloway Garden Festival

If you are within driving distance of Southwest Scotland this coming weekend, and are into gardens and gardening, you might want to check out the annual Galloway Garden Festival at Lochinch Castle (home of the Earl of Stair) near Stranraer. It runs from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday (20th) and from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday (21st). Check out the calendar at Dumfries and Galloway Info for more details and a link to the festival website (under "More Information").
Galloway Garden Festival News - Scotland's holiday industry - Boom for online tourism as bookings soar by 76%

Online is obviously the way to go in Scottish tourism!
Tourism in Scotland is increasingly profiting from the internet, as the article below in The Scotsman shows. Nevertheless, not all operators in Scotland are happy with the set up of the private booking company working on behalf of and under the name of Visit Scotland. For example ADGAP, the Association of Dumfries and Galloway Accommodation Providers has set up its own website because its members feel the "official" site does not serve either the providers nor the visitors nearly as well as it could, but mainly serves its own bottom line! News - Scotland's holiday industry - Boom for online tourism as bookings soar by 76%

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hello and Welcome to Scotland Secrets

Welcome to the Scotland Secrets blog. Every few days or so we'll be updating the content here, so check back often.

Best wishes,
Paul D. Chilvers-Grierson
Scotand Secrets