Telephone Booking Fringe 0131 226 0000 International Festival 0131 473 2000 Book Festival 0845 373 5888 Art Festival 07500461332

Activities & Events Public Evenings Fri 14 Aug, 7–8.45pm. £4 (£3). Royal Observatory Visitor Centre, Blackford Hill, 668 8404. See the Royal Observatory’s telescope dome, go on a journey through the Solar System, and hold a meteorite. If it’s clear, observe the skies using the telescopes which are available for public use. FREE Lothians Conservation Volunteers Until Sun 16 Aug, 9.30am–5.30pm. St Andrew Square, 229 0463. Weekly volunteering on outdoor conservation tasks. You will need to book in advance to ensure a seat on the minibus. Garden Guides Tours Until Mon 31 Aug, 11am–noon & 2–3pm. £3. Royal Botanic Garden, 20a Inverleith Row, 248 2937. Get the most out of your trip to the Botanics by taking a tour with one of the experienced guides. Choose from a morning or afternoon tour. Tickets can be bought at the Botanics Shop, Palm House Reception Desk or East and North Gates. Living History Sat 15 & Wed 19 Aug, 2.30–5.30pm. Included in admission: £5.50 (£4.50; family ticket £10-15). Georgian House, 7 Charlotte Square, 0844 493 2117. Costumed guides at the Georgian House are really getting into their roles this summer: ask them anything you like about life 200 years ago, but they will know nothing beyond 1820. Learn about the lives of rich and poor in this fascinating and transformational period of history. The Red Bus Beach Trips Sat 15 Aug, 10.30am. £7 (£4; family ticket £20). Yellowcraigs Beach, Dirleton, East Lothian, 07599 912687. A day at the beach with transport on a 1962 red double-decker routemaster bus. Leaving from central Edinburgh but with pick-ups on request. FREE Minibeast, Monster Beast, Beasts of the Bog! Sun 16 Aug, 11am–3pm. Holyrood Park Education Centre, 1 Queen’s Drive, 652 8150. Find out about some monster beasts from around the world, then go and hunt for some wee ones in Hunter’s Bog. Booking is recommended.

✽✽ Cachín Cachán Cachunga! Mon 17 Aug, 7.30pm. £3. The Street, 2

Picardy Place, 556 4272. Interdisciplinary arts event. See Hitlist.

Books ✽✽ FREE Edinburgh Book Fringe Until Sat 22 Aug, times vary. Word

Power Bookshop, 43 West Nicolson Street, 662 9112. Word Power goes renegade with its very own Book Fringe. See Hitlist.

✽✽ FREE West Port Book Festival Thu 13–Sun 16 Aug, times vary. Various venues, West Port. Readings, happenings and workshops, in ‘Edinburgh’s Soho’. See Hitlist. FREE The Birthday of Sir Walter Scott Sat 15 Aug, noon. Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunks Close, 55 High Street, 524 0160. A short address and a glass of wine. See www.eswsc.com for more information.

Exhibitions FREE Storytelling Pick & Mix Until Sat 5 Sep (not Sun), 10am–6pm. Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, 556 9579. A collaborative exhibition by children’s illustrators Cate James and Vicki Gausden. FREE Under Lock and Key Telling Tales from the Vaults Until Thu 20 Aug (not Mon), 10am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm. Museum on the Mound, The Mound, 243 5464. 300 years of security is brought to light through visual displays

Festival Around Town

National Gallery of Scotland: Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, The Mound, 624 6200. Writer Gordon Burn, a friend of Hirst’s, discusses the artist and his work. FREE Adult Education Open Evening Tue 18 Aug, 6–8pm. Royal Botanic Garden (Conference Room), Inverleith Row, 552 7171. Find out about and meet the tutors for the Adult Education courses in the coming year. You can also sign up for any that catch your interest. FREE In the Loop Wed 19 Aug, 6.30pm. National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, 623 3845. A walking tour of the current exhibition, The Original Export: Stories of Scottish Emigration for the hard of hearing. To book contact 0131 229 3555, 018001 229 3555 (typetalk) or susan@artlinkedinburgh.co.uk Workshops Men in the Kitchen Mon 17 Aug, 7–9.30pm. £40. Cookingmania, 75a Main Street, Davidsons Mains, 3362012. Men- only practical cookery classes. FREE Life on the Lion Sun 16 Aug, 11am–3pm. Holyrood Park Education Centre, 1 Queen’s Drive, 652 8151. Join the Artist In Residence for a variety of workshops throughout August. Meet birds of prey, handle monsterbeasts and much more. Please contact the Ranger Service for further details. FREE The Drawing Room Thu 13 Aug, 5.30–6.45pm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 75 Belford Road, 624 6410. Explore different ‘mark- making’ processes in these monthly experimental drawing sessions. Each workshop is led by a contemporary artist and all materials are provided. Suitable for over 15s. Please book in advance. Bollywood Dance Workshops Thu 13, Fri 14 & Thu 20 Aug, Thu 8pm; Fri 7pm. £56 for eight weeks (£32 for four weeks). Meadowbank Sports Centre, 139 London Road, 661 5351. Shake it like a Bollywood picture with this dance class inspired by the moves seen in Indian film. There will be two choreographies (four weeks each). Tickets from j.e.weintritt@gmail.com Silk Flowers Sun 16 Aug, 10.30am–3.30pm. £15. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 529 3963. Learn the delicate techniques involved in silk painting and create a cushion and hanging for your home. Ages 16+. Must be booked in advance. FREE Workshop: Beyond Google Wed 19 Aug, 2–3.30pm. National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, 623 3918. An introduction to Credo Reference and Oxford Reference Online.

Outside the cities Activities & Events British Touring Car Championships Sat 15 & Sun 16 Aug, 9am–5pm. Saturday £13 (£5–£8); Sunday £25 (£7–£13); Weekend £32 (£10–£16). Knockhill Racing Circuit, Knockhill, Dunfermline, 01383 723337. Indulge a need for speed from the sidelines with high octane racing featuring the touring cars of BMW, Honda, SEAT, Vauxhall and more. Scottish Vintage Bus Museum Open Weekend Sun 16 Aug, 10am–5pm. £6 (children £3; family ticket £15). Scottish Vintage Bus Museum, M90 Commerce Park, Lathalmond, Dunfermline, 01383 720241. More motor fun: see vintage buses and commercial vehicles from all over the UK, and browse various transport related stalls. The Scottish National Road Run for vintage commercial vehicles takes place on the Sunday.


Big Red Door Festival Okay, this is where the fun starts, folks. Never mind the host of comedians and

burlesque clubs exported up from London the best cabaret spot in town is distinctly home-grown. Behind The Big Red Door is a very special venue indeed, hand-built from salvaged stage furniture by Te Pooka, Edinburgh’s resident tribe of circus-trained ‘mischief makers’, into something approaching a fairytale wonderland. And during August it turns into a fully-licensed venue with circus acts, experimental theatre, film screenings, mischief and live music every night. It’s about as true to the original spirit of the Fringe as you can hope to get these days, and that’s a wonderful thing. (Kirstin Innes) Behind The Big Red Door, Lady Lawson Street, 229 1480, until Tue 1 Sep, times vary, £2–£10.

and fun interactives about how banks kept valuables safe and what happened when things went wrong. FREE Votes for Women Until Sat 9 Jan (not Sun), 10am–5pm. Museum of Edinburgh, Huntly House, 142 Canongate, 529 4143. An exhibition charting the women’s suffrage movement in Edinburgh. FREE A Stuggy Pren Until Sat 5 Sep (not Sun), 11am–6pm; Sat 1–5pm. Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, 557 2876. A collection of Katrina Lithgow’s photographs of the late Ivor Cutler.

Fairs FREE Antiquarian and Secondhand Book Fair Sun 16 Aug, noon–6pm. Roxburghe Hotel, 38 Charlotte Square, 01763 248400. Sale of antiquarian and secondhand books, and often maps and prints.

Festivals The Edinburgh Military Tattoo Until Thu 20 Aug (not Sun), 9pm; Sat 7.30pm & 10.30pm. £14–£49. Castle Esplanade, Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile, 225 1188. A unique blend of music, ceremony, entertainment and theatre featuring bands from across the globe, set against the magnificent backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Booking essential.

✽✽ Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern

Spirituality and Peace 2009 Until Sun 30 Aug, times vary. Prices vary. Various venues, 331 4469. Festival of debates and events celebrating spiritual peacemaking. See 5 Questions.

✽✽ Big Red Door Festival Until Tue 1 Sep, times vary. £2–£10. The Big Red Door, 10 Lady Lawson Street, 229 1480. A fabulous pageant of freakery and skill from Edinburgh’s most secret venue. Peek behind the red door for theatre, circus, cabaret, music and mayhem with te POOKa, Theatre Paradok, KiN, Steam Punks, Fragments, The Otesha Project and lots more. See picture, above.

✽✽ Festival of Politics Tue 18–Sat 22 Aug, times vary. Prices vary. The

Scottish Parliament, Horse Wynd, 348 5000. Famous names from politics, media and the arts in a wide range of debates and cultural events. See Big Picture. Talks FREE The Art of Spain Thu 13 & 20 Aug, 11am–1pm. National Gallery of Scotland: Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, The Mound, 624 6200. Weekly screenings of the acclaimed BBC Four series, in which art historian and critic Andrew Graham-Dixon argues that the influence of Spanish art across Europe, from the golden age of El Greco and Velázquez to Picasso and Dali in the 20th century, is even greater than that of its traditionally more celebrated Italian counterparts. Centenary Bird Talk Thu 13 Aug, 7.30pm. £6 (members £4). Edinburgh Zoo, Corstorphine Road, 334 9171. A talk about the zoo’s birds and breeding programme, with particular reference to the Steller’s Sea Eagle and the Double- wattled Cassowary. Booking recommended. A Transport of Delight? Fri 14 Aug, 10.30am. £8. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 529 3963. Robin Barnes discusses the first 60 years of British rail travel and its connection to Lauriston Castle. Includes refreshments and a tour of the grounds. Please book in advance. The Fall (and Rise?) of Murillo as One of the Great Spanish Painters Fri 14 Aug, 12.45–1.15pm. Included in admission: £8 (£6). Royal Scottish Academy, The Mound, 225 6671. Dr Hilary Macartney of the University of Glasgow examines the paintings by Murillo that made and broke his esteemed position in Britain as one of the great Spanish Old Masters. FREE ARTIST ROOMS: Agnes Martin Mon 17 Aug, 12.45–1.15pm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 75 Belford Road, 624 6200. Suzanne Dunn gives a talk on the subtle, grid-like paintings of the American minimalist artist. FREE Gordon Burn on Damien Hirst Tue 18 Aug, 12.45–1.30pm.