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A day out in North Berwick has long been a popular choice for city dwellers, and

hing you ever wanted to know about the SCOTTISH SEABIRD CENTRE

now the seaside resort has an added attraction. Situated on the harbour front, the newly opened Scottish Seabird Centre is an ornithological fun factory devoted to

our seafaring feathered friends:

Scotland has over 10,000km of coastline (enough to reach from here to Hong Kong if you stretched it out, fact fans) much of which is rugged and inhospitable to us that is. But to the thousands of breeding kittiwakes, razorbills, cormorants and shags that flock here each year, it’s a positive des res. In particular, the Bass Rock and Fidra, two small islands just off the North Berwick coast, have proved much sought after properties by the gannet and puffin communities. So where better place to open a centre studying the species than smack bang in the middle

of them.

The centre opened in May, and the word ’interactive’ was obviously paramount in the designer’s mind when piecing together the exhibits. Having watched a short but informative film in the small cinema, you can peruse the video screens, tanks, microscopes, photographs and re-constructions that make up the bulk of the centre. Grab some crayons and do a rubbing; stack some bird bones on a weighing scale to see how light they are; sniff the 'What’s That Smell?’ display or step out onto the viewing deck to use the powerful telescopes. But the undisputed highlight of your visit will be the ’Iive’ cameras positioned on the nearby islands. From the warmth of the centre you can spy on the nesting birds, re-position the cameras and zoom in and out if you spot something interesting.

Any centre specialising in just one field is bound to have a limited appeal but, to be fair, the SSC has really worked to make the subject as interesting as possible to as many people as possible. And in such a great location, it’s well worth adding to

your East Lothian itinerary. (Kelly Apter) Fun Factor 4/5

Informative 5/5 Value for Money 3/5 Added Extras Cafe and large gift shop.

How To Get There By car (on the A198); By train (30 minutes from Edinburgh Waverley); By bus (one hour from St Andrew Square).

How much it costs £4.50 (£3.20). When it's open Daily 10am—6pm.

I Scottish Seabird Centre, The Harbour, North Berwick, 07620 890202.



Celebrating Scotland's Crafts Until Sun 30 Jul, £3 (£1.50); children under 18 free. Royal Museum of Scotland, 2 Chambers Street, 247 4219. A month long festival celebrating Scotland’s indigenous crafts, providing visitors with the opportunity to rediscover Scottish crafts like Fair Isle and Sanquhar knitting, Harris "Need, Orkney Chairs, tartans and kilts, through to workshops and displays.

Scottish Holistic Health Festival Until Sun 23 Jul, Edinburgh City Chambers, High Street/Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, 557 2649. A festival filled with workshops and events including topics such as yoga, food and nutrition and faith healing. On Sat 22 and Sun 23 July there is a free exhibition, open to the public where you can sample treatments such as reflexology and Indian head massage at £5 (£2.50) for a half hour session.

Record Fair Sat 22 Jul, 10am—4pm.

100 THEUST 20 Jul—3 Aug 2000

Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, 220 4349. Your chance to go along and rummage through a vast selection of music, from Kylie to Mozart.

Suffolk Sheep Society Show & Sale Thu 27—Fri 28 Jul, Royal Highland Centre, lngliston, 333 3036. lfcity living is getting you down, here’s your chance to start a whole new career. You can view and buy prize sheep at this event, but beware, it’s a hard life.

Other Events

Geology Walks Thu 20—Fri 21 Jul & Sun 23 Jul, Thu 27—Fri 28 Jul & Sun 30 Jul, 3pm. £5.50 (£2.50—£4.5()). Holyrood Park Car Park, 555 1859. Discover the secrets of Edinburgh’s landscape, from the volcanoes and glaciers that have shaped the land to the people who have used it, in this informative walk on Arthur’s Scat.

Beadwork For Grown-Ups Tue 25 Jul, 7—9pm. £10. Helios Fountain, 7 Grassmarket, 229 7884. Designer Kay Bruce leads a workshop in beadwork. Advance booking necessary.


Camera Obscura

Castlehill, Royal Mile, 226 3709. Mon- Fri 9.30am—6pm; Sat & Sun 10am-6pm. £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. The most recent addition to the venue is the Magic Gallery, giving hands-on experiences of the art of visual trickery. There is also an exhibition devoted to holographs and photography on the lower floors.

Dynamic Earth

Holyrood Road, 550 7800. Mon—Sun 10am—6pm. £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—6pm (last admission 5.15pm). £7 (£2—£5). Although much of the castle’s medieval character was lost when it was converted into 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 its own exhibition, lots of military silverware and, of course, The Stone Of Destiny, used to crown Scottish kings since time began.

Edinburgh Literary Pub Your

Meet at The Beehive Inn, 18—20 Grassmarket, 226 6665. Daily 7.30pm. £7 (£5). Pre-booking required for parties of ten or more. An excellent way to imbibe culture by visiting the favourite watering holes of Scotland’s literary heroes, including Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Irvine Welsh.

Edinburgh Zoo

Corstorphine Road, 334 9171. Daily 9am—6pm. £6.80 (£3.80—£4.80); family ticket £19—23. 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 2.15pm is a must and the newly-built African plains afford a fantastic view of the city.

Gladstone's Land

477b High Street, 226 5856. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 2—5pm (last admission 4.30pm). £3.20 (£2.20). Restored to the splendour enjoyed by the merchant classes in the 17th century, Gladstone’s Land gives an authentic representation of life in the medieval Old Town at the time. Special offer throughout 2000 up to three children under 18 go free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Museum Of Childhood

42 High Street, 529 4142. Mon$at 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 I980s computer games, there's plenty here to send you off on a trip down memory lane.

Museum Of Scotland

Chambers Street, 247 4219. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; 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 present day, at which point national heroes such as Billy Connolly and Elaine C. Smith get involved. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings, page 96.

Palace Of Holyroodhouse

Royal Mile, 556 1096. Daily 9.30am—6pm (last admission 5.15pm). £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 of Arthur’s Seat, and magnificent gardens to look at, it’s hard to feel too sorry for her.

Royal Botanic Garden

Inverleith Row, 552 7171. Daily 9.30am—7pm. Free. A sea of tranquillity in the hubbub of the city, the Botanic Garden is home to a wealth of flora 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 96.

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: Arr & Industry and The Ivy Wu Gallery. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings, page 96.

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.

Shaping A Nation

Fountainpark, Dundee Street, 229 1706. Mon—Sat lOam—Spm; Sun 11am—5pm. £5.50 (£4); family ticket £16. The newest addition to the Fountainpark complex provides a fresh look at Scotland’s heritage. Interactive displays and computers give a ‘hands-on’ feel to the attraction, exploring the inventors and innovators who have made Scotland great. The finishing touch is a themed journey on the Turbo Ride.

The People's Story

Canongate Tolbooth, 163 Canongate, 529 4057. Mon—Sat lOam—Spm. Free. Situated in the Canongate Tolbooth, the sights, sounds and even smells of Edinburgh folk from the 18th century onwards are faithfully reproduced.

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. For details of temporary exhibitions, see Edinburgh Art Listings, page 96.