Flight to the Fringe

Last week we ventured up to Edinburgh for a week long family holiday – the furthest we’ve been from home since having chidren!  And our trip kicked off with some major excitement – Alex and Sophie’s very first flight!  I’d been a bit worried about the flight as I could only get seats on an evening flight after their normal bedtime, so was scared they’d be overtired and cranky, but it worked out brilliantly.

Alex was so excited to be at an airport surrounded by planes and Sophie just loved the attention she got from everyone she met – she just smiled and giggled!  We were flying with Virgin Little Red and they were absolutely brilliant with the kids.  Alex was invited behind the check in desk to press the button to send our bags along the conveyer belt and he was given rather too many chocolate biscuits and sweets by the cabin crew!  And I think it blew his mind to take off and be above the clouds.  Such fun.

Flight to Edinburgh

We arrived at the little cottage we’d hired for the week pretty late, but Grandma and Grandpa had popped in earlier and set up the children’s rooms so they could go straight to bed – phew.

We were staying in a gorgeous cottage on Parkley Farm in Linlithgow – a lovely town West of Edinburgh.  The website doesn’t do the cottage justice – it was absolutely stunning and perfect for families.  I’d highly recommend it. The views were stunning, the cottage itself luxurious and the location really convenient (both for visiting my family and reaching all the attractions)

ParkleyWe sadly didn’t spend much time in lovely Linlithgow, but we did spend a fun couple of hours with my family down by the loch and old Palace.  Once more, Sophie loved the attention:

And Alex loved scooting with his Grandpa down by the loch:

One of the highlights of being up in Edinburgh during August is that the city comes alive with the Festival and Fringe.  I hadn’t expected to be able to partake of any of it with such small children, but was delighted to find there’s a massive range of day time performances for children – so for three days of the week we headed into one of my favourite cities in the world and saw:

  • Aliens Love Underpants – live onstage!  One of Alex’s favourite books, and a great performance.  Alex managed most of it without fidgeting and loved the songs and puppets in particular!
  • Tiddler and other terrific tales – based on a collection of brilliant Julia Donaldson books.  Alex enjoyed the bits based on stories he knows and loves (Monkey Puzzle, Tiddler and a Squash and a Squeeze, but got a bit bored in the sections he was less familiar with)
  • BabyO – Sophie and I finally got to see the Scottish Opera BabyO performance, something I’ve been keen to do for years.  We both LOVED it – an amazing sensory experience of touch, texture, sight, sound and song.
  • Jazzamataz – amazing jazz and jive for toddlers.  We all loved this (Matt even had the honour of being singled out to show the chidlren how to do an elephant noise – I think he’s still traumatised from having the microphone thrust in his face!)!  Here we are waiting to go in, and then learning how to do jazz hands!

FestivalAs always, I couldn’t get enough of the buzz on the streets with music and performances going on everywhere – although the crowds were a bit overwhelming at times for Alex and Sophie.  We did get Alex to experience his very first bagpipe music – and I think he liked it!

We had a great few hours in the brilliant Museum of Scotland – initially just an escape to picnic in the dry, we found some excellent galleries focused on interaction for children.  Alex, unsurprisingly, was drawn to the trains and dinosaurs (!) and Sophie liked climbing up the mineral rock samples and investigating the funny mirrors:

After the craziness of the city, we made sure we made time for some more refreshing activities.  We spent a fabulous afternoon at the Beescraig Country Park enjoying some fresh air. It was lovely to take a peaceful walk / scoot through the dense forest and even better to discover a massive adventure playground!
Beescraig Park

Given we were so close to the Forth estuary, we tried to spend a couple of days by the water.  My parents took Alex, Sophie and I to a beautiful village called Cramond for an afternoon while Matt did a spot of mountain biking in Peebles.  Whilst Sophie had a lovely long nap with her Grandma, Alex and I accompanied his Grandpa on a walk along the gorgeous sea wall (and visited the stunning little ice cream parlour).  I seem to have taken no photographs, but it really was lovely and I hope to go back again to check out the yummy looking pub!

We also spent a lot of time down at the bridges of Queensferry (North and South!).  One of my favourite places, Alex quickly decided he loved it too because of the huge number of trains chugging over the Forth Bridge and the many boats out on the water – and of course, pebbles to throw into the sea!  It was at Queensferry we finally managed to get a decent picture of the four of us (thanks mum):

Family

Alex and his Grandpa got very wet trying to dodge waves on the sea wall – and on a much calmer day, Alex and I explored the waters edge together:

ForthCheck out this lovely mosaic of the beautiful bridge – we found it at North Queensferry station, having actually taken the train over the bridge on Alex’s insisting!

Of course, no trip to Edinburgh with children would be complete without a trip to the Zoo and Deep Sea World!  Edinburgh Zoo was quite a struggle with two little children being on such a massive hill – but it was worth the effort.  Alex was a great age for it – loving the monkeys, lions, pandas, zebras and penguins (he particularly enjoyed the afternoon “penguin walk” when they release the penguins to have a little stroll!  Sophie was less impressed (this picture makes me giggle)

Our final excursion was to Deep Sea World – always going to be a hit with my fish-mad children!   With one of the longest underwater moving walkways in Europe, Alex was in his element – I think we went round it 8 times checking out the sharks, rays and crabs.  He just loved it.  Sophie was particularly interested in the glittering piranhas – and they both enjoyed watching the seals:

Alex was even brave enough to feed a live locust to a lizard (something I don’t think I’d do) – he’s still talking about it and demonstrating how the lizard ate the locust nearly a week later!

Phew – what a busy week!  But I’m forgetting the most special bit of all – seeing the children spend lots of time with their Great Grandma and Grandpa!

GreatGrandparentsIt was surreal and rather nice to see my children playing in the house where I spent so much of my childhood with my Grandparents and Auntie!  It was particularly fun to have my grandparents bring out a box of the little matchbox cars my brother played with when he was little and watch Alex immediately play with them the same way 30 years later – my grandparents’ path is really good for rolling cars down!

Phew – what a long blog post!  It really was a great week away, and I think we’ll be back next Summer to do it all again! I won’t deny it was exhausting at times, but worth the effort – and it was all made so easy by all my family. Thanks everyone!

I’ve crammed in as many pictures I can, but here are all 110 from the week away!

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