.3800. The seasonal celebrations get underway with the lights switch-on. Leith Christmas Tree Lights And Decorations Switch-On Sun 10 Dec. 4pm. Free. Kirkgate, Leith, 473 3800. Leith‘s illuminations and decorations are unveded.

Newhaven Christmas Lights Switch- On Mon 11 Dec, 6.30pm. Free. Victoria Primary School, Newhaven Main Street, 473 3800. Newhaven gets in on the Christmas action, switching on the Chrimbo lights.

Southside Christmas Lights Switch- On Wed 13 Dec, 6pm. Free. St Patrick Square, 473 3800. More festive illuminations brighten up the streets of the Southside.

Other Events

Popular Observing Fri 1 Dec at Fri 8 Dec, 7.30pm. £1. Royal Observatory Visitor Centre, Blackford Hill, 668 8405. View Saturn with its rings and Jupiter and its moons from one of the telescopes of the Royal Observatory.

Life Under Siege Thu 30 Nov, 10am—4pm. Free. Edinburgh Castle, 225 9846. Alba Adventure Company present a re-enactment of Jacobite rebellion in the historic setting of Edinburgh Castle. Quiz Night Mon 4 Dec, 8pm. Free. Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 228 1404. Test your general knowledge in this monthly quiz with some free booze as an added incentive.

AIDS Awareness Week Until Sun 3 Dec, 10.30am-4pm. Free. Simpson House, 52 Queen Street, 225 6028. A week of events to raise awareness of AIDS and HIV. On display is a Memorial Quilt from Milestone House, you can contribute your message to the ‘Tree Of Life’, and participate in ‘Times of Reflection‘.

Finishing Touches Thu 30 Nov, 6pm. Free. Waterstone’s, 128 Princes Street, 226 2666. Rachel Barrie of Glenmorangie gives a guided tour of whisky with tastings. Over 18s only.

All ForA Prince Fri 1 Dec, Thu 7, Fri 8 Dec 8; Thu 14 Dec, 10am—4pm. Free. Edinburgh Castle, 225 9846. Alba Adventure Company present tales of life in the Jacobite army in 1745. Astronomical Journey Of Discovery Fri 1 Dec & Fri 8 Dec, 7.30pm. £1. Royal Observatory Visitor Centre, Blackford Hill, 668 8405. View the observable universe through the centre’s 6in telescope, exploring the moon, planets and stars. The evening is complemented by a presentation on a different topic each week. On Fri 1 Dec, Russell Eberst gives a talk on ‘The Night Sky in December‘, and Fri 8 Dec, Dr John Cooke gives a talk on ‘Mapping the Nearest Stars’.

Benefit For Refugees Fri 1 Dec, 7.30pm. £6 (£3). St Bride’s Centre, 10 Orwell Terrace, 346 1405. Benefit night in aid of Refugees Welcome Here and Refugee Survivors Trust featuring the Helen Reeves Band, The Itinerants, BOM & Carlos Arredondo and Maggie Holland.

Travelling With Our Cameras Fri 1 Dec, 7.30pm. 70p (35p). Harry Miller Hall, The Pleasance, 332 2758. Photographic evening with George and Isobel Harrison.

Adult Workshop Sat 2 Dec, 10.30am—3.30pm. £4. City Art Centre, 2 Market Street. 529 3993. Advance booking required. Textile artist Moira Dickson provides instruction on making a small bag or purse. Part of the To Boldly Sew exhibition.

Body & Soul Psychic Healing Fair Sat 2 Dec, noon—8pm. £2 (£1.50); under 165 free. Bruntsfield Primary School, 12 Montpelier, Bruntsfield, 226 7601. Lots of stalls overflowing with ideas and therapies including tarot readings, complementary medicines, hypnotherapy and feng shui.

Edinburgh Printmakers Open Day Sat 2 Dec, noon—5pm. Free. Edinburgh

Carberry Candle Cottage Musselburgh. Edinburgh. 665 5656. Mon—Sat 9am—5pm; Sun noon—5pm. Free. If you’ve a passion for candles. then take a drive out to this treasure trove of all things was. Their factory shop is full of perfumed, aromatherapy and feng shui candles. plus a bargain clearance corner. Professionals are on hand to demonstrate the art of candle making. or you can have a go at carving your own.

Printmakers. 23 Union Street. 557 2479. Browse the Christmas exhibition, sup some festive refreshments or take part in the print raffle at the annual open day. Plant A Tree For The Environment Sat 2 Dec, 10am—3pm. Free. Cammo Lodge Visitor Centre, Cammo Estate. Cammo Road; Cairnmuir Road North Car Park, Corstorphine Hill; and The Visitor Centre, Hermitage Of Braid, 69 Braid Road, 447 7145. Mark the millennium by planting your own native Scottish tree with the help of the countryside rangers. Record Fair Sat 2 Dec. l()am—4pm. Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, 226 2428. Record fair.

3D/ZD Craft 8: Design Fair Sat 2 & Sun 3 Dec, Sat 10am—4pm; Sun 10.30am—5pm. £1.30 (90p). Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, 661 6600. The very best in contemporary and traditional craftwork sold direct by the makers. Women Of Egypt Sat 2 Dec, 2—4pm. £4 (£3). The Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, 467 5585. Explore the connection between the throne. the land and women in Egyptian and Celtic myth at this Egyptian Roots talk.

Edinburgh Farmers Market Sat 9 Dec, 9am—2pm. Castle Terrace, Fresh produce on offer from over 30 stalls in the very heart of Edinburgh with food ranging from the traditional to the exotic.

The Holly And The Ivy Sun 10 Dec, 2-4pm. Holyrood Park, 668 8600. A gentle winter walk taking in the trees, astrology and Celtic legends of the area. Mulled wine and mince pies to finish (50p charge). Meet at Meadowbank car park.

Intercourse Wed 13 Dec, 8pm.

Dynamic Earth

Holyrood Road. Edinburgh. 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

Edinburgh, 225 9846. Daily 9.30am-Spm. £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.


artificial \kl slope i\ the [‘L‘rlcc‘l place Io learn or hone skiing and snowboarding skills. Mountain bikers cart lake the chairlift before enjoying the ttew 600 metre downhill mountain bike trail. The centre also houses a competitiver priced

ski repair arid maintenance facility.

Museum Of Ci'tildho-odw V i 42 High Street, Edinburgh, 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. Front antique dolls to 1980s computer games.

there's plenty here to send you off on a trip down memory lane.

Museum Of Scotland Chambers Street. Edinburgh. 247 4219.

Mon—Sat l0am—5pm; Sun noon—5pm; Tue l0am—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.

Newhaven Heritage Museum Newhaven Harbour, Edinburgh, 55] 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.

Holyrood Tavern, 9 Holyrood Road, 557 4972. Meeting to challenge the way we think about sex and discuss issues of sexuality.


Auld Reekie's Ultimate Ghost & Torture Tour

Meet at The Tron Church, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, 557 4700. £6 (£4—£5). 7pm, 8pm, 9pm & 10pm daily. Find out about Edinburgh’s grisly past in the company of a costumed guide on this city tour, which also takes in an underground haunted vault featuring fully operational Pagan temple (harvests guaranteed or your money back then?)

Spanish fire in Leith

Edinburgh Zoo

Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, 334 9171. Daily 9am—4.30pm. £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 2.15pm is a must and the newly-built African plains afford a fantastic view of the city.

Midlothian Ski Centre

Biggar Road, Hillend, Edinburgh, 445 4433. Mon—Sat 9.30am—9pm; Sun 9.30am—7pm. £6 for a one hour session (under 18s £4). Europe‘s longest

at. EI Foc Del Mar - sounds exotic! It means ’fire on the sea' and is an open air spectacular of street theatre and fireworks presented by Spanish company XarXa. A few fireworks is hardly a Spanish fiesta No, but the Spanish theme is also adopted by Leith’s bars and restaurants, and afterwards there’s a club night in Java recreating the sounds of Ibiza.

Count me in. Anything else we should know? Watching the extravaganza is completely free, but those fashion-conscious organisers have warned against wearing shell-suits. Not that you would, of course.

a; E/ Foc De/ Mar, Fri 8 8 Sat 9 Dec, 8.30pm. Procession begins by Ma/ma/son Hotel, Leith. For more info call 4 73 3800.

Royal Botanic Garden

Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, 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 from all over the world. The glasshouses give you the opportunity to check out tropical plants as well.'The site 1 also hosts art exhibitions, horticultural courses and various countryside events, including daily guided walks in the

Royal Yacht Britannia Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh. 555 5566. Daily 10.30am—6pm. £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.

Writers' Museum

Lady Stair’s House, Lady Stair’s Close, Edinburgh, 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.


Scott's Selkirk Sat 2 & Sun 3 Dec, Ham—4.30pm. Free. Town Centre, Selkirk, 01750 20054. Experience the festive atmosphere of the Royal Burgh of Selkirk and step back in time by visiting Selkirk’s market, take a ride in a horse and carriage and join the lantern lit procession through the town centre. Victorian Family Christmas In The Castle Sun 3 Dec & Sun 10 Dec, 10.30am—12.15pm & 1—4.30pm. £5 (£3). Culzean Country Park, Maybole, 01655 . 884400. Take a step back in time to get into the festive spirit and experience a Victorian Christmas.

Musselburgh Races Tue 12 Dec, 12.20—3.20pm. £7—£12 (£4). Musselburgh Racecourse, Linkfield Road, Musselburgh, 665 2859. Family race day with children’s entertainment.

30 Nov—l4 Dec 2000 THE “ST 95