Last night Edinburgh Castle came to life with lasers, lights, fire jugglers and even a fiery dragon, and the family all loved it.
With many locations around the city now being lit up for the festive period I thought I know what to expect. Projected imagery morphing the sides of each building into movable objects, wonderful illusions and clever trickery turning the castles buildings into 3D canvases.
Castle of Light had all this but also took it to the next level by introducing characters, and telling some of the history of Edinburgh’s stunning fortress as we walked around the cobbled walkways.
My two eight year olds loved it and I was impressed by the projections, especially St Mary’s Chapel as a treasure box. The fun element was all around but I was blown away by the drawings and emotion of WW1 commemorative piece on the War Museum.
Fun, moving, thought provoking and educational. Top marks.
The Castle of Light is on until 22nd December and although not inexpensive at £18 for an adult (concessions are available) this is so much more than just a light show.
Edinburgh Zoo is currently lit by an installation of over 450 dazzling giant lanterns.
Each night during the winter Edinburgh Zoo has been transforming from a world class animal attraction destination into a world of light and wonder as the Giant Lanterns of China illuminate a mile long trail of life size animal lanterns and performing artists.
As the animals are tucked up inside visitors walk around the circular route seeing some fantastic creations including those I have sketched above. On our night the rain fell but that made for some fantastic reflections on a cold January night. There are food outlets along the route offering warming snacks and drinks, we all enjoyed some yummy hot chocolate as we walked around.
The Sketcher twins were amazed by all the lanterns, it felt like we were in the show, surrounded by colour. The craft that has gone into creating these beautiful structures was inspiring and I reccomend you see this wonderful show before it ends on the 25th February.
Because of the rain (and the frozen fingers!), I took photographs on the night and then created the montage sketch at home, with ink and watercolour paint.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is currently running a magical outdoor trail of light celebrating Christmas.
You have just two more chances to see this years Christmas at the Botanics, a stunning light show which is fast becoming another must do annual event in the capital.
I visited it’s the family and seeing the gardens lit up is truly a magical experience for all, the Sketcher twins (age 6) in particular love seeing the trees in a rainbow of colour.
For me I loved the ‘singing’ tall trees, each one lighting up the surrounding vegetation in a different colour and tone, creating a choir of trees. As people stopped to listen to the illuminated towering figures I sketched in pencil,colouring later from memory.
If you can I recommend you grab one of the last tickets (either today or Saturday) to this magical experience, there are many highlights in the mile long trail as it winds its way around the famous grounds. It’s always great to see a well known place in a new light.
This sketch was drawn in pencil, with watercolour.
A splendid show in Edinburgh as the sun falls on the Street of Light.
This week we have had some stunning sunsets in the capital, and sun rises too as the weather stays mild and wet. I captured this one on George Street recently as the sun fell and the city began to sparkle with the bulbs of Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations.
After last year’s successful Royal Mile residency for the Street Of Light the walk though light show has now moved to the West End of George Street.
It’s great to have Edinburgh’s Christmas stretching out to the West End as many of the markets and rides are in East Princes Street Gardens.
I recently took the family to the European Market but on a weekend the crowds are too squashed to be comfortable with little ones so it was nice to have the George Street attractions and the Scottish Market to visit instead. (I recommend visiting the European Market mid week as we did, much easier to move around).
The Scottish Market in West George Street is a winter showcase of some of the best craft, food and drink that Scotland has to offer, and includes a favourite of mine: Mimi’s Bakehouse.
Both the Street of Light and the Scottish Market will be on George Street until Christmas Eve.
My sketch is drawn with black ink and a watercolour wash.
As green spaces are turned orange with fallen leaves and the evenings are getting darker quicker, it is time once again to wrap up warm and head to Edinburgh’s Botanic gardens for a light show to amaze and stimulate.
After being out of the country for a week it was great to be back in Edinburgh and what better way to soak up the autumnal weather which greated us but with a walk around the Botanics. Usually a haven of peace and calm, for a short time every autumn the famous landscaped gardens are transformed into a trail of colour, sound, light and projection.
There are food and drinks carts to warm you as you walk – the marsh mallows, hot chocolate and mulled wine went down very well with the Sketcher Clan.
I captured a few of the sights in my sketch book but there was so much more to see, we all enjoyed changing the colour of the trees with little touch screens, and especially the water show on the duck pond which had all the crowd gasping and cheering.
Head along to see the event which runs to November 6th, it will put you in the cosy wintry mood for sure. Book via the links below, tickets cost around £7.50 to £15.00.
All sketches were made with black fine liner and a watercolour wash.
Last night I attended the first showing of the Street of Light, as 60,000 bulbs lit up the famous cobbled high street in Edinburgh.
The huge (19m high) installation came to life as lights flashed in time to recordings of the Edinburgh Choral Union Choir. A series of illuminated arches cross over the Royal Mile and created a tunnel of bright light which thousands of wide eyed people slowly walked through.
I drew these sketches during the 20 minute show, the first from the entrance and the second from half way down. I loved being surrounded by the lights and festive music, and although busy it wasn’t too packed. I wouldn’t have any worries about taking the Sketcher Twins (aged 4) up to see the show, I’m sure they’d love it.
The Virgin Money Street of Light is supported by the Royal Mile Business Association and is part of Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations. The event will run daily until Christmas Eve, and is a free event although you should reserve a ticket at the link below to ensure entry in case it gets busy.
As night fell on Edinburgh last Friday evening the Sketcher twins, my wife and I all entered the gates of a place we thought we knew well…
The Botanic Gardens are one of my favourite places in Edinburgh, an ever changing world of colour, peace and beauty, with stunning views over the city. Since the twins arrived four years ago we have visited often and like to think we know the gardens well, stunningly beautiful yes, but perhaps not surprising any more.
That was until we entered ‘Botanics Lights 2015 – Seasons in Colour’, a magical evening of light, sound and nature combining to create a wonderful journey for both young and old. Designed by leading Scottish lighting artist Grant Anderson working with composer Claire McKenzie to create a unique night-time experience, including interactive light shows and hypnotic displays throughout the gardens.
Following the pathways we were all in awe, the children especially; the ‘magic house’ (Inverleith House, above) and the lightning tree were amongst their favourites, as was jumping over the swinging spot lights. For me I could of watched and listened to the illuminated Glasshouse and its orchestral rhythms for hours.
These are my sketches from the evening, some hastily scribbled in the dark, others from memory whilst sipping a mulled wine in the warmth of the gardens restaurant.
Botanics Lights 2015 runs nightly until 22 November, an adult ticket costs £14 but you can get a family ticket for £38. For more information follow the link below.