Additional reporting by Sarah Turnbull and Phyllis Stephen

With an extra couple of days off work at the beginning of June to celebrate HM Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne, we thought you might like a few tips on how to fill them with some leisure activity. Some of these are royally related, and others are just things that we think might be fun! If you have any other ideas then please feel free to add them below.

1 – Palace of Holyroodhouse and The Queen’s Gallery (Royal Collection Learning) The Palace of Holyroodhouse is hosting family events from 2 – 5 June 2012. This is a great opportunity to get the whole family involved in the festivities by learning what life is like when HM The Queen comes to stay at the Palace. There will also opportunities to create your own Royal Crown Jewels.

2 – The Royal Yacht Britannia.  Pretend you are actually royal by visiting the yacht that the Queen used for family holidays and other business related trips. Visitors will be invited to share in the taste of Jubilee cake, sparkling wine, and take home a souvenir rosette on 4 June.

3 – Handel’s Royal Music: Academy of Ancient Music On 4 June 2012 The Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Richard Egarr, as well as the Choir of the AAM, will be performing some of Handel’s masterpieces at the Usher Hall. Handel composed several pieces for royal occasions such as the Coronation Anthems, which marked the coronation of King George II and Queen Caroline in 1727. Other works performed will be the Music for the Royal Fireworks, Water Music Suite and Handel’s famous Hallelujah! and Amen from the Messiah.

4 – Street Party Celebrations  – Throughout the city there may be street parties held to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. It could be the perfect opportunity to get together  with your neighbours and also to celebrate 60 years of the Queen’s reign. If your street would like to host a party you will need to fill out a notification form. This will provide the Events Team with information both for emergency services and public safety. If food and refreshments are to be served then the Events Team will put you in touch with environmental health to give you advice. Once the Events Team has cleared you, the party will become official. Please contact the Events Team for further information if you are interested in hosting a street party.

5 – Jubilee Celebrations at the Zoo – From 2 – 5 June Edinburgh Zoo will be hosting a range of exciting civilities to celebrate HM The Queen’s Jubilee.  The activities include a themed treasure hunt as well as arts and crafts for all the family. Crafts include writing a card for HM The Queen or creating a crown.

6 – See Holyrood House alight  – Holyrood House will be lighting a beacon along with 2,000 other locations on Monday 4 June as part of the celebrations. A full list of all the London celebrations is here on the BBC website. All are encouraged to light a bonfire or beacon, even if it is just in back gardens. These are set to echo the beacons that were lit to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The lighting of beacons will be led by the Queen, who will ignite the National Beacon after a concert at Buckingham Palace.

7 – The Big Lunch is an event encouraging people to hold old fashioned community lunches. The idea is for each home in a community to bring a table and a picnic on Sunday 3 June. Edinburgh City Council are supporting the initiative by helping people with road closures for communities  to take part in the event.

8 – Historic Scotland have many lovely buildings including castles for you to visit. More details here. 

9 – Musselburgh Races takes place on Saturday with the first race at 1.55 p.m. With £150,000 in prize money and a £5500 one carat diamond prize for the best dressed race goer, the East Lothian course is going all out celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend festival.

10 – Royal Mile Jubilee Party. 100 guests will be invited to afternoon tea, with a Scottish twist. As part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, an Afternoon Tea Party will be held on West Parliament Square, beside St Giles’ Cathedral. Invitations can be won on Twitter or Facebook.

11 – Get along to the award-winning Mercat Bar & Restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End for a fun, friendly and informative Scottish themed wine tasting and lunch event on Saturday 2 June 2012 from 1:30pm.  Those attending will learn all about the Chardonnay through to the Shiraz, guided by wine expert Ian McNeill.  And of course, there will be plenty of opportunity to taste the wines!

Ian was president of the Institute of Wines & Spirits (Scotland), a trainer in the field and a life-long aficionado of this fine drink.  With his fantastic wealth of wine knowledge, he’ll not only make the afternoon educational but also great fun.

There will be a delicious Scottish lunch to accompany the wine tasting.  Enjoy haggis balls to start followed by Loch Fyne mussels with the Mercat’s truly special cranachan with chocolate wine for dessert!  It’s only £20pp for the three-course meal and a generous amount of wine!  To book call 0131 225 8716 or email The Mercat Bar & Restaurant, 28 West Maitland Street, Edinburgh, EH12 5DX.

12 – The Singing Kettle back in Edinburgh on 3 June 2012 and the Festival Theatre is the place to be when Cilla, Artie, Gary and Kevin arrive with their brand new show “Shake Rattle and Roll”. Cilla Fisher from the group said, “We’re all really excited about returning to the Festival Theatre with this new show, we always get a great welcome in Edinburgh and it’s one of our favourite venues on the tour. The show is full of audience participation, new songs and lots of weird looking musical instruments. We’re also encouraging the audience to join the band and bring their own homemade shakers or rattles, in fact anything that will make a noise, to the show.”

Based in a musical garden full of funky looking plants and lots of surprises, the Singing Kettle bring the sounds of the garden to life as they plant some magic seeds… and watch them grow! Scotland’s number one family show offers a superb singalong, action packed, fun adventure as only the Singing Kettle know how to deliver.

Tickets are available from the Festival Theatre Box Office 0131 529 6000 or online from  Visit for more information.

13. Gardening Scotland is on at Ingliston this weekend from 1-3 June. More information on What’s On Scotland’s website.

14. Plu is on at Leith Links. What is Plu? Children’s Entertainment from 10 till 5 from 1-3 June 2012. More details on What’s On Scotland. 

15. Martin Aelred is performing for charity at the Astley Ainslie Hospital on Friday 1 June at 7p.m. to raise funds for Headway. More details on What’s On Scotland. 

16. Missed the Steven Spielberg film War Horse? Well you can see it on the big screen on Friday at Brunton Halls Musselburgh at 7.30p.m. More details on What’s On Scotland. 

17. Portobello Market is at Brighton Park on Saturday 2 June. You are promised traders and entertainment.

Tian Tian

18. Photography tours of the Zoo will be run on Saturday morning. Information here.

19. Drummond Court Summer Slam Jubilee Basketball Tournament The city’s basketball players will come together this Sunday 3 June at Drummond High School’s outdoor court to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

This event will unite Edinburgh’s urban cultures at the city’s most popular and legendary outdoor court, whilst celebrating a national royal event. Edinburgh’s top DJs and breakdancers will be on site to provide entertainment, whilst a BBQ and ice cream van will provide refreshments for both players and spectators.

The tournament is on from 12:00 to 19:00 and is open to all players aged 16+, both male and female, in teams of five. Winners will be crowned ‘Kings/Queens of Drummond Court’ and will receive medals. Teams will abide by streetball rules and a referee will be present. Tournament entry is £2 per player.

The highly anticipated event will hopefully lead to more of its kind, bringing together Edinburgh’s different communities whilst expanding the amount and level of organised basketball in the capital.


20. And as well as watching from home on your own TV, you can watch the Diamond Jubilee events from London on the big screen in Festival Square on Sunday and Monday. More details here. And a full list of all London based events here on the BBC website. 

21. Stockbridge Market is on Sunday, and then starting in June they are open on Thursdays too!

22. Read about 1952 when the Queen’s father died and she actually became Queen, although she was not crowned till the following year following a period of mourning, on the City Library website Tales of One City. 

23. Volunteers still needed to help out at Bethany’s Sportive event on Saturday 2 June 2012. More details here. Or you could register and take part in this cycling event to raise funds for the charity! 72 or 102 miles…..

24. At Edinburgh Castle on 3 June 2012 there is a treasure hunt with a prize of £500 running from about 14.00. More details here. 

25. The Scottish Gallery has new exhibitions from 4 June 2012. One of these is a family affair! The Michie family are one part of the gallery’s offering. This is what they say:-“It is not uncommon for some artistic talent to pass onto the next generation and for a number of siblings and children to pursue a similar creative pathway. Anne Redpath is recognised as one of the greatest painters of her generation; her reputation grew beyond the confines of Scotland in her lifetime and continues to grow. Two of her sons, David and Alastair have pursued careers in painting, although quite separately. They both used their own family name, Michie, that came from their father James and for many it will be his group of paintings which provides the surprise in this family exhibition.”

26. All the Edinburgh Museums and Galleries are open over the weekend according to their website and have much to offer for all ages.

27. The Meadows Festival is on 2 & 3 June 2012.

28. If you can’t get to London for the river pageant then go for a coffee or a cruise along the canal with Zazou Cruises.  Or you can perhaps hire your own boat from Re-Union Canal Boats.

29. A Light and Life Outreach Fair is being run in Wester Hailes Education Centre on Friday from 6.45 to 8.45  Spiritual readings and de-stressing massage.

30. Edinburgh Ceilidh Club meets on Tuesday 5 June 2012 at the Bongo Club 37 Holyrood Road at 8.30p.m

31. Do you enjoy photography? Then join up for a free account with Blipfoto and add your own daily snaps of our beautiful city. We have our own account here. 

32. If you want to learn how to be an even better photographer then you could sign up for a course at Stills on Cockburn Street. 

33. You could learn how to use the flying trapeze… although you will have to go to Glasgow for the day long course… Aerial Edge are running it here!

34. VisitScotland have some ideas for you to go mountain biking in the Pentlands just outside the city. Where do you like going?

35. There is a special day excursion from North Berwick to Kyle of Lochalsh by steam train on 2 June. More details here. 

36. There are many companies offering bus tours leaving from Edinburgh, but this one goes to Stirling Castle, another royal venue.

37. Get out of town for a few nights under canvas. But the best kind of canvas! Go Glamping in East Lothian near a private beach. Heaven. Harvest Moon Holidays have it all sorted for you.

38. Warm up your vocal chords and join a choir. Sing in the City is just one of many in the capital. Any others we should know about?

39. Climb Arthur’s Seat! (and come back down safely please!)

40.  Vogrie Park are having a Diamond Jubilee party on Sunday 3 June. Bring a picnic anytime from 1pm.

41. Camera Obscura is one of Edinburgh’s best loved tourist attractions. It has been there for 150 years and is a great way to see the city.

42. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Printing and Poems drop in for ages five and upwards at the John Hope Gateway from 1 till 4p.m on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

43. Maid of the Forth sails from the Hawes Pier in South Queensferry. They have a BBQ cruise on 1 June 2012 and other cruises to Inchcolm Island throughout the weekend. They also do weddings on Inchcolm so be careful you don’t go on the wrong cruise!

44. Sailing at Port Edgar at South Queensferry is run by Edinburgh Leisure and you can enrol for a variety of courses from sailing to navigation.

45. OneSpa have a Diamond Spa Day on offer to make you feel and look good!

46. The Scottish Storytelling Centre are hosting Sensory O being put on for babies and young children by Scottish Opera on Saturday and Sunday.

47. Doodles at 29 Marchmont Crescent are offering 20% off some of their pottery on 5 June. Join in their tea party fun and paint your own pottery 10.30 till 9p.m. Call to book on 0131 229 1399.

48. Hendersons Wine Bar Thistle Street are putting on a night of guitar music and songs on 2 June from 7.00 – 9.30 pm

49. Rediscover the 70s with a Hawkwind concert at the Queen’s Hall on 2 June 2012 at 7.00 pm.

50. Take the floor at the Edinburgh International Tango Festival. There is a Jubilee Tango night on Thursday night followed by three days of classes and a Summer Ball taking place at The Merlin in Morningside.

51. Order cupcakes for your tea party from Cuckoo’s Bakery. For this week only there is free delivery on all orders placed online.  Cuckoo’s will hand deliver all online orders placed within the Edinburgh city bypass, a service which would usually cost £3.95. With delicious flavours like Strawberry Cheesecake, Black Bottom or Raspberry and White Chocolate, an order of special cupcakes is a perfect way to brighten up your day. The perfect treat for the office or gift for friends or family. You can choose a selection of cakes from Cuckoo’s Cake Menu page The offer is valid on all cupcake delivery orders placed online from Monday 28th May to Sunday 3rd June, and the minimum order for delivery is 6 cupcakes.

52. Walk across the Forth Road Bridge and admire the Forth Bridge which was built 130 years ago and is now being put up for UNESCO World Heritage Status.

53. Order your takeaway from The Jubilee 124 West Granton Road Edinburgh EH5 1PF or

54. Get all the answers to any questions you may have about the Queen’s Jubilee which are here on The British Monarchy website. May be useful for those of you setting up a Royal Jubilee Quiz?

55. Friday 1 June 13.30-16.30 Celebrate The Diamond Jubilee  Come and make some jubilee inspired crafts and join us in a wee party to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Potter Around, Overton Farm, Kirknewton, West Lothian, EH27 8AH  T: 01506 238961 E:  W:

56. The 105th Regiment Royal Artillery is sounding out the gun salute at Edinburgh Castle.  Details: Listen out on June 2 at noon, more here in the Daily Mail

57. Buy some souvenir mugs and crockery including tea party stands on the Royal Britain website… 

58. Beacons are being lit all over the UK and full details of the timings and locations are here. So get out and see them. If you take photos will you share them with us? email them to

59. Take time out on the holiday weekend to book tickets for all the upcoming events in Edinburgh this year. For example, general booking is now available for the Edinburgh International Film Festival which runs from 20 June to 1 July. The Royal Highland Show starts on 21 June, Leith Festival is on 9 June…. Tell us about anything else in Edinburgh this month by adding your comments below!

60. Even though you may have lived here for a time, you could still go on a bus tour. Not quite the chauffeur driven car that HM The Queen is used to but you will learn lots of interesting facts about our wonderful capital city.



  1. After reading your article a lady has since emailed me asking to join our Bruntsfield choir saying that it look exactly like the kind of choir she would love to sing with.

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