Have you ever been to Edinburgh? If not, you should. It’s great!
It was my birthday last week, so I popped up to the glorious Scottish city as a belated day trip on Saturday. I managed to fit Celts, Plague, and yarn into just one day! How mad does that sound?!
Here I am on the train, pulling a face because my train was delayed by 27 minutes. Thanks for that.
Never mind. It’s a gorgeous run up to Edinburgh from Newcastle, with fabulous views out over the North Sea.
I arrived in Edinburgh in somewhat glorious weather, and my first stop was the National Museum of Scotland on the George IV Bridge. I’ve been there before for an exhibition of mummies, but this time it was for the Celts exhibition, organised in concert with the British Museum. I took these two photos before I went in, of an Egyptian sarcophagus and a statue of the Egyptian deity, Sekhmet!
There’s much more to see at the museum and one day I will go back up just to nose around!
I wasn’t allowed to take any photos inside the Celts exhibition so here’s a photo of my ticket instead! Organised with the British Museum, it was first on display in London last year, and now it’s in Edinburgh until 25 September 2016. I’ve always enjoyed British Museum exhibitions so I had high hopes for this one.
It follows 2,500 years of history, exploring both art and identity for the Celts. The timespan begins with the first recorded mention of the ‘Celts’ right through to more contemporary influences after the Celtic Revival in the 19th century.
There is a lot of jewellery in the exhibition, and it’s astonishing to see the level of craftsmanship involved in such supposedly ‘primitive’ items. It just made me want to go out and buy a torc, really! The exhibition also features the famous Gundestrup cauldron, as well as weaponry, religious artefacts from the Celtic-Christian fusion, and materials from the Celtic Revival. There are books galore of myths and poems attributed to the Celts, even though many of them are more modern inventions based on what the writers thought about the Celts.
It costs £10 for adults, £8 for concessions, £6.50 for 12-15 year olds, and free for under-12s. My ticket was only £4.50 because I have a National Art Pass!
There’s a free exhibition about the Plague at the National Library of Scotland, also on the George IV bridge. It runs until 29 May.
The name is a little misleading, as it’s not about the history of plague in Edinburgh as I thought it was. Instead, it covers leprosy, syphillis, smallpox, and influenza, as well as plague. Each disease is ‘hidden’ in wooden crates that hold the exhibits, which include books, medicine bottles, and even preserved samples of diseased flesh. The exhibition brings together primary sources about government legislation and folk medicine, as well as looking at the response of sufferers, religious figures, and writers.
I wanted to like it, I really did, but it’s very text-heavy, and there are only so many near-illegible letters and official books you can read in one go. That said, if you’re in Edinburgh anyway, it’s worth a look if you have fifteen minutes to spare.
Doesn’t Edinburgh look glorious in the sunshine?!
And here’s a rather cute piper plying his trade on the Royal Mile.
St Giles looking its best on a rare sunny morning!
The remains of the day in Princes Street Gardens…
The Call – 1914 War Memorial in the Princes Street Gardens.
Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016
That wasn’t the only reason I went up to Edinburgh. I also wanted to visit the Yarn Festival at the Corn Exchange! I’ve been to yarn shows and knitting fairs before, but as this one was specifically about yarn, rather than just crafts, I figured it’d be a good excuse to lust over fancy 4ply.
Look at those colours! It was a good show, even if I did spend way more than I meant to, but being there on my own meant I got a bit lonely, and I ended up punchdrunk with all the options available. So after an hour and a half I hotfooted it back onto Princes Street and did some sketching in the Gardens.
All in all it was a tremendous, if expensive, day trip, and I’m very glad I went!