Leith, 555 5566. See the Britannia in all her Christmas glory and enjoy complimentary mulled wine and shortbread. See Hitlist. Theatre Tour Sat 4 Dec, 10.30am. £9.50 (£6.50). Playhouse, 18–22 Greenside Place, 0844 847 1660. See behind the scenes at the country’s largest purpose-built theatre. Living Lauriston Sat 4 & Sun 5 Dec, 2pm & 3pm. £5 (£3; family ticket £12.50). Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. Edwardian living history tours revealing a glimpse of how folk prepared for Christmas a hundred years ago. FREE Christmas Shining Lights Sun 5 Dec, noon–4pm. National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, 225 7534. Create a sparkling festive tree decoration inspired by the Shining Lights exhibition. FREE Light a Light Mon 6 Dec, 6.30pm. Charlotte Square Gardens, 551 1381. The annual tree lighting ceremony and carol service for St Columba’s Hospice. Death of the Resurrectionists Mon 13 Dec–Thu 16 Dec, 2pm. £5 (£3). Surgeons’ Hall Museum, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Nicolson Street, 527 1649. Explore the darkest recesses of the Surgeons’ Hall Museum to uncover the story of Robert Knox and his dealings with celebrity murderers of the moment, Burke and Hare. Booking essential. FREE RBGE Show and Tell: Alpines & Rock Garden Wed 15 Dec, 1.30–3pm. Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, 248 2979. Did you know the RBGE has a team specially devoted to alpine and rock gardens? Meet them and hear more about their work. FREE Queen’s Medical Research Institute Public Lecture Series Wed 15 Dec, 5.30pm. The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Little France, Old Dalkeith Road, 242 6162. A talk on fertility after chemotherapy. Booking essential. Christmas Lecture: Question Time with Malcolm Appleby Wed 15 Dec, 6.30pm. £5 (£4). National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, 225 7534. Christmas lecture at the museum with the all-important mulled wine and mince pies of course focusing on the suitably sparkly crafts of silver engraving and goldsmithery, as practised by artisan Malcolm Appleby. FREE Christmas Lecture Thu 16 Dec, 5.30pm. Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, 248 2979. The culmination of the Botanical Society of Scotland’s autumn lecture programme is entitled ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The Evolution of Begonia Diversity in Mexico’. Fairs & Markets Edinburgh’s Christmas Until Tue 4 Jan, times vary. Prices vary. City Centre, 529 4310. A winter wonderland in Edinburgh, with fairground rides, ice rink, a host of colourful lights and the fabled German Christmas market. The Big Christmas Fri 3 Dec, 7pm & Sat 4 Dec from 10am. Entry £5 on Fri; free on Sat. The Edinburgh Academy, 54 Henderson Row, 624 4927. Classic Christmas fair with over 40 stalls and a food hall. Live pipe music on Saturday. St James’ Christmas Fayre Sat 4 Dec, 10am–1pm. £1. St James’ Church, Rosefield Place Portobello, mailbox@stjamesparishchurch.org.uk. Annual fayre with stalls selling home baking, hand knitted woolies, second hand books, Christmas crafts, bottles and more. FREE Morningside Makers Market Sat 4 Dec, 10.30am–4.30pm. Columcille Centre, 2 Newbattle Terrace, 447 7404. A new monthly boutique craft and design market. FREE Coburg House Open Studios Event Sat & Sun 5 Dec, 11am–5pm. Coburg House Studios, 15 Coburg Street, 554 6888. Open day and sale at Coburg House Art Studios. FREE Christmas Clothing, Crafts and Jewellery Fair Sun 5 Dec, 12.30–5pm. The Banshee Labyrinth,


Silent fright 29–35 Niddry Street, www.thebansheelabyrinth.com Stock up on Christmas gifts or treat yourself. Edinburgh PBFA Book Fair Sat 11 Dec, 10am–5pm. £1. Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, 220 4348. Sellers exhibit interesting second hand and antiquarian books, maps and prints. FREE The Bruntsfield Craft Market Sat 11 Dec, 10am. Eric Liddell Centre, 15 Morningside Road, 446 3321. Sale of cards, jewellery, Harris tweed goods, German baking and glassware. FREE Magpie Market Sun 12 Dec, 12–4pm. The Lot, 4–6 Grassmarket, 225 9922. Contemporary craft and design.

Sport Edinburgh Christmas Walk Sun 5 Dec, 11am–1.30pm. £8 (£5; under 5s and dogs £2). Inverleith Park, Arboretum Place, www.mssocietyscotland.org.uk Help to raise funds for MS Society Scotland by trotting, galloping or sauntering around the Botanic Gardens.

✽✽ The Great Scottish Santa Run Sun 12 Dec, 9am. £10 (under 12s

£5). West Princes Street Gardens, www.thesantarun.org.uk. See picture, page 32. Talks Pages from a Victorian Scrapbook Mon 6 Dec, 10.30am. £8. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. A look at the scrapbooks of Georgians and Victorians. Booking essential. The Fabulous Life of Mr Universe Mon 6 Dec, 7.30–8.30pm. £3 (£1.50). Royal Observatory Visitor Centre, Blackford Hill, 668 8404. A biography of the universe, from troubled childhood to volatile adolescence and current mid-life crisis. Christmas Tales and Traditions Tue 7 Dec, 10.30am. £8. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. Settle in for some festive tales. Includes refreshments and a tour of the castle. Booking essential. FREE Communicating Vessels: Lee Miller and Woman Surrealists Tue 7 Dec, 12.45–1.30pm. National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, 624 6200. A talk by Dr Patricia Allmer on female Surrealist artists. FREE Museums Collections Centre Tour Tue 7 Dec, 2pm. Museum Collections Centre, 10 Broughton Market, 556 9536. See conservation in action and view some fascinating objects that haven’t been on display in years. Booking essential. Painting the Christmas Story Wed 8 Dec, 10.30am. £8. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. Depictions of the birth of Jesus from the 15th century onwards. Booking essential. FREE What Does Walter Scott Mean to Scotland? Wed 8 Dec, 6–7pm. The Scottish Parliament, Queensberry House, Holyrood, 0800 092 7500. Magnus Linklater chairs a panel of experts to discuss the writer’s impact on Scottish literature and culture. Paradise of Exiles Thu 9 Dec, 7.30pm. £5 (members £3). Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, 248 2979. A lecture on the gardens created by Anglo-American expats in 19th-century Florence. Christmas in the Edwardian Kitchen Fri 10 Dec, 10.30am. £8. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. Ivan Day talks you through the Edwardian Christmas kitchen. Booking essential. Curator’s Choice: Minerals in Ultraviolet Light Fri 10 Dec, 2–3pm. £5 (£4). National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, 225 7534. A colourfully illustrated talk from Brian Jackson on the effects produced by minerals when illuminated by ultraviolet light. Touching Heavenly Bodies Mon 13 Dec, 7.30–8.30pm. £3 (£1.50; season tickets £10 for children and £20 for adults). Royal Observatory Visitor Centre, Blackford Hill, 668 8404. Learn about asteroids, comets and orbits.

Find out what a traditional Christmas would have been like on the Edinburgh closes from the 1500s-1800s on the festive version of the spooky Real Mary King’s Close underground tour. There’s a mug of mulled wine or (non-alcoholic) hot apple cider and a mince pie to calm your nerves afterwards. Tours depart every 20 minutes during the given times. See www.realmarykingsclose.com Mary King’s Close, High Street, Edinburgh, until Sun 19 Dec. Fri & Sat 6–9pm; Sun 3–5pm. £12.50 (£11.50; children £6.50). Booking: 0845 070 6244.

The First Christmas Wed 15 Dec, 10.30am. £8. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. Examine depictions of the Nativity from the Glasgow Museums’ collection. Booking essential. Martin Moran: Scotland’s Winter Mountains Wed 15 Dec, 2.15pm. £8 (under 18s/students/RSGS members free). Appleton Tower, Crichton Street, 650 8445. A celebration of Scotland’s winter landscape, weather and climate. Workshops Glittering Christmas Bowls Fri 3 Dec, 10.30am–3.30pm. £20. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. Make a stained glass bowl and decorate a small panel. Booking essential. Christmas Decorations from Straw Sun 5 Dec, 10am–4pm. £45. Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, 248 2937. Make gifts and decorations from wheat and oat straw. Booking essential. FREE PlayGroup Wed 8 Dec, 8pm. Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 228 1404. New script discussion group from the Traverse, with this session focusing on the current production of The Three Musketeers and the Princess of Spain. Christmas Fibres Thu 9 Dec, 10.30am–3pm. £15. Lauriston Castle, 2a

Cramond Road South, 336 2060. A range of Christmas projects inspired by textiles, including angel cushions. Booking essential. FREE Printmaking Sat 11 Dec, 10am–3.30pm. City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, 529 3993. Use printmaking and painting techniques to make works of art inspired by the words and images in the Art Centre’s current Gaelic language and culture exhibition. Traverse Writers’ Workshops: How To Tell Your Story on Stage Sat 11 Dec, 10.30am–4.30pm. £16 (£8). Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 228 1404. Chris Hannan, who wrote this year’s Traverse Christmas show, leads a practical workshop in bringing stories to the stage. Over the course of the day participants will work on adapting a short tale for the stage. Booking essential. Victorian Christmas Decorations Mon 13 Dec, 10.30am–3.30pm. £15. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. Make your own decorations based on 19th-century examples. Booking essential. Homespun Christmas Wreaths Thu 16 Dec, 10.30am–3pm. £15. Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South, 336 2060. Use country fabrics to make your own festive wreath. Booking essential. 2–16 Dec 2010 THE LIST 33