Newhaven Heritage Museum Ncwhaven Harbour. 551 4165. Mon-Sun noon-5pm. Free. Memorabilia and reconstructed scenes tell the story of Newhaven and its sea-going heritage, from its origins as a naval dockyard to its continued use as a fishing port.

Palace 0f Holyroodhouse

Royal Mile, 556 1096. Daily 9.30am—4.30pm. £5.50 (£2.70—£4); family ticket £13.50. Starting life as a 13th century abbey, the palace has evolved into a sumptuous regal residence crammed full of paintings and artefacts dating back primarily to the 17th century. The tower apartments housed a sad and lonely Mary Queen of Scots for a time, but with a spectacular

view ofArthur’s Seat, and magnificent gardens to look at. it’s hard to feel too sorry for her.

Royal Botanic Garden

lnverleith Row, 552 7171. Daily 9.30am—4pm. Free. A sea of tranquillity in the hubbub of the city, the Botanic Garden is home to a wealth of flora and fauna from all over the world. The glasshouses give you the opportunity to check out tropical plants as well. The site also hosts art exhibitions, horticultural courses and various countryside events, including daily guided walks in the summer.

Royal Museum Of Scotland

2 Chambers Street, 247 4219. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun noon—5pm; Tue 10am—8pm. £3 (£1.50—children under 18 free). A 19th century museum housing

international collections of natural history, geology. science, technology and the decorative arts. plus two permanent exhibitions: Art ck Industry and The [9' Wu Gallery.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Ocean Drive, Leith, 555 5566. Daily 10.30am—6pm (last entry 4.30pm). £7.50 (£3.75—£5.75); family ticket £20. The former royal yacht has opened its doors to members of the public after a £25 million refit. The on-shore visitor centre contains historical information on the boat and its furnishings while, on the yacht itself, members of the public can have a good nosy round the royals' former quarters.

Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre 35-1 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, 220 0441. Daily 10am—5pm (last admission

4.15pm). £5.50 (£2.75—£3.85); family ticket £13.50. Take a romp through the traditions and history of yer national drink at this fully interactive attraction. Highlights include a lesson from a ghost master-blender, a barrel-car ride through whisky history and a well-stocked bar in which to test your newly-acquired expertise.

The Turbo Ride

Fountainpark, Dundee Street, 229 1706. Daily 11am-10pm; Fri & Sat 11am—11pm. £3.50 (£2.75); family ticket £10. Step on board the world’s most exciting motion simulator for a thrilling ride. Using flight simulation technology, digital sound and a five storey high screen, the Turbo Ride throws you right into the middle of all the action, in films such as Dino Island and Red Rock Run.


Everything you ever wanted to know about


It may look like a poor person’s Millennium Dome from the outside, but there’s nothing poverty-stricken about Scotland’s newest visitor attraction. From the moment you walk up the illuminated entrance steps the whole venue screams 'no expense spared' and if it seems a bit on the small side, here’s the secret: it’s

all underground.

Upon arrival, visitors are allocated the next available tour time, and after a short wait it’s down to 'The State Of The Earth’, a waiting lobby filled with video footage and displays. Then the fun really starts. History has taught, or rather history lessons have taught us that whilst the past is eminently fascinating, learning about it often isn’t not so with Our Dynamic Earth. A ‘Time Machine' (i.e large lift) takes you back 4500 million years to ’How It All Started', a short film about the Big Bang which you view from the bridge of a space ship. Then it's on to 'Restless Earth’, which triggers numerous squeals as the floor shakes and volcanic lava trickles towards you; followed by ’Shaping The Surface', a 3D journey over mountains and glaciers during which the earth begins to resemble

the place we know and love today.

From this point on you’re free to wander at your own pace through room after room of videos, photographs, touch screens and text exploring evolution, the oceans and the polar regions (complete with huge iceberg) plus a wonderful re-

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creation of a tropical rainforest, which bursts into life every hour. The tour comes to a close with the 'Showdome', a huge auditorium which affords you a well- earned lie down as you witness events from around the globe, projected onto the ceiling. Here you have your conscience gently pricked, as you‘re asked to consider whether we bestow enough respect on a planet which has taken so much time to evolve to our needs. (Kelly Apter)

Fun Factor 5/5

Informative 5/5

Value for Money S/5

Added Extras Cafe and Gift Shop.

Where it is Situated by Holyrood Palace and the site of the new Scottish Parliament, look for the big white tent and you’re there.

How much it costs £5.95 (BSD—£4.40); family ticket £16.50. The annual season ticket at £9.95 for adults is a definite winner if you're planning to go

more than once.

When it's open Winter opening hours until 2 Apr: Wed-Sun loam-5pm (last

tour 3.45pm).

Our Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, 550 7800.