church brasses and ancient Pictish replicas - as well as lots of crayons so you can get rubbing.

Camera Obscura

Castlehill, Royal Mile, 226 3709. Mon—Sun 10am—5pm. £3.95 (£1.95—£3.15); family ticket £11.50. Pick up a pedestrian in your hand at this attraction, which gives visitors a real- time, 360° image of the city. There is also an exhibition devoted to holographs and photography on the lower floors.

City Of The Dead’s Haunted Graveyard Tours

Meet by St Giles Cathedral, Royal Mile, 0790 1970672. Thu~Sat 8.30pm. £5 (£4). Join this spooky tour if you dare, and you’ll be guaranteed all manner of paranormal frights, including the infamous McKenzie Poltergeist. You have been warned. '

Dynamic Earth

Ilolyrood Road, 550 7800. Wed—Sun 10am—5pm. £5.95 (£3.50—£4.40); family ticket £16.50. With volcanoes erupting beneath your feet, a tropical rainstorm pouring down, earthquakes and tidal waves at every turn, the history of the earth has never been more interesting. Edinburgh 's latest visitor attraction uses stunning new developments in interactive technology to piece together the history of the planet, creating a thoroughly modern way to step back in time.

Edinburgh Castle

Castlehill, 225 9846. Daily 9.30am—5pm (last admission 4.15pm). £6 (£2—£5). Although much of the castle’s medieval character was lost when it was converted into a barracks in the 19th century, continuing excavations aim to redress this. Other attractions include James IV’s famous cannon, Mons Meg, the One O’Clock Gun with it’s own exhibition, lots of military silverware and, of course, The Stone Of Destiny, used to crown Scottish kings since time began.

Edinburgh Zoo

Corstorphine Road, 334 9171. Daily 9am—5pm. £6.80 (£3.80—£4.80); family ticket £19-£23.50. Widely accepted as one of the finest zoos in Britain, there’s plenty here to while away an afternoon, or even a whole day if you take your time. The penguin parade at 2pm is a must and the newly-built African plains afford a fantastic view of the city. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings page 85.

Huntly House

142 Canongate, 529 4143. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm. Free. Packed with historic artefacts, this restored 16th century mansion tells the story of Edinburgh’s past and its people and houses important collections of Edinburgh silver and glass, Scottish pottery and shop signs. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings page 85.

Museum Of Childhood

4211igh Street, 529 4142. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm. Free. Founded in 1955, the museum has five public galleries with all manner of archive material and old toys relating to childhood through the ages. From antique dolls to 19805 computer games, there’s plenty here to send you off on a trip down memory lane. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings page 85.

Museum Of Scotland

Chambers Street, 247 4219. Mon—Sat lOam—Spm; Sun noon—5pm; Tue 10am—8pm. £3 (£1.50—children under 18 free). Devoted solely to the history and heritage of Scotland, the building contains five thematically-arranged exhibitions, moving from pre-history, through the Industrial Revolution, to the l: .t 11 .x at Which (Will! national

heroes such as Billy Connolly and Elaine C. Smith get involved.


Newhaven Heritage Museum Newhaven 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. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings page 85.

Old Town Weaving Compan

555 Castlehill, Royal Mile, 226 1555. Mon—Sat 9am—5.30pm; Sun 10am-5pm. £4 (£1); family ticket £8. Watch tartan appear before your eyes at this weaving wonderland. You’ll get the chance to try your hand on a real loom and visit two mixed-media exhibitions, Story Of Weaving and Highland Dress Through The Ages. And if you’re feeling brave you can dress up in ancient Scottish costume and have your photie taken.

Palace Of 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. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings page 85.

Royal Botanic Garden

lnverleith Row, 552 7171. Daily 9.30am—6pm. 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. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings page 85.

Royal Museum

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 & Industry and The Ivy Wu Gallery. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings page 85.

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 royal’s former quarters.

Shaping A Nation

Fountainpark, Dundee Street, 229 1706. Mon-Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 11am-5pm . £5.50 (£4); family ticket £16. This brand new addition to the Fountainpark complex opens on Fri 17 Mar, and promises a fresh look at Scotland’s heritage. Interactive displays give a ‘hands-on’feel, and the finishing touch is a journey on the Turbo Ride.

The Turbo Ride

Fountainpark, Dundee Street, 229 1706. Mon—Thu 4—10pm; Fri 4—11pm; Sat noon—11pm; Sun 1—10pm. £3.50 (£2.75);

ON YOUR DOORSTEP Everything you ever wanted to know about CEROC

First things first, if holding hands with a stranger and standing in close proximity to unfamiliar members of the opposite sex fills you with dread, then Ceroc is not the dance for you. If, on the other hand, dancing with more partners in one night than you managed during the entirety of your teenage years appeals then read on.

Since its inception in wartime France, when American Gls brought rock ’n' roll (and a few other things) to the Gallic shores, Ceroc has become the fastest growing partner dance in the UK. And by partner we're talking male/female, which may come as a shock to any first-timers thinking they'll dance with a pal until someone better comes along. Ceroc is a 'male-led dance’ and men and women have very different steps to learn, meaning unaccompanied ’ladies' have to stand to one side until enough men arrive to relieve them of their wallflower status which mercifully isn’t long. The class is structured so that you change partners every five minutes, ensuring everyone gets a decent turn (it also means if you’re stuck with someone with two left feet, a good dancer is just minutes away).

The beginners session takes you through four basic steps, which when run together build up quite an impressive little dance although with over 450 steps in the Ceroc repertoire there’s still much to learn. A standard 45-minute class will leave most people quietly confident, enabling you to jive with the best of them during the lights down/music up freestyle session at the end. A recommended six classes later and you’re ready for the intermediate group, and before you know it, you’ll be strutting your stuff at the monthly parties, taking part in Ceroc weekends and entering championships. The broad age range, relaxed atmosphere and good gender mix mean everyone should feel comfortable, with or without a companion (although it's also a great place to ’meet people’, if you know what I mean). The Auld Alliance has never been so much fun. (Kelly Apter)

Fun factor 4/5

Value for money 4/r,-

How much it costs £5 (£4)

Where 8: when it's on 7.30—10.30pm on Tue & Thu at St Stephen's Church Hall, St Stephen St, Edinburgh and Wed at the Tartan Club, Fountainbridge Brewery, Edinburgh; Wed at Glasgow University Union, University Avenue. Plus venues in Dundee, Falkirk and Aberdeen.

I Ceroc Scot/and: Te/ 07324 673209 for more info or visit their website at www. cerocscot/and. com

from a local philanthropist in 1880, the observatory now acts as the major seismic station for south west Scotland as well as filing daily weather reports to the Met Office. The telescopic equipment is still operational and the building houses a library of specialist books.

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 the action, in films such as Dino Island and Red Rock Run.

Motherwell Heritage Centre

1 High Road, Motherwell, 01698 251000. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; 'l'hu 10am—7pm; Sun noon—5pm. Free. The centre’s fully interactive exhibitions tell the story of Motherwell's people and landscape from Roman times, through the Industrial Revolution, to the present day. Highlights include computer consoles which enable you to follow local people as they journey through life, and the tower, which allows you to new the effects of Motherwell‘s industrial heritage on the landscape of North Lanarkshire.

Writers' Museum

Lady Stair’s House, Lady Stair’s Close, 529 4901. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm. Free. A treasure-house of items relating to three of Scotland’s most famous writers: Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott.


Coats Observatory

49 Oakshaw Street West, Paisley, 889 2013. Tue-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 2—5pm. Free. Built as the result of an endowment

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