Posts Tagged ‘Royal Mile’

12 facts you might not know about Edinburgh

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Here are twelve facts that you might not know about Edinburgh.


1) Edinburgh Castle sits on Castle Rock, a 700 million year old extinct volcano. At 1pm every day (except Sundays), the ‘One O’Clock Gun’ fires a shot from the castle.

2) The Royal Mile is actually one mile and 107 yards long.

3) Edinburgh is the greenest city in the UK, it has 112 parks and more trees per head of population than any other city in the U.K.

4) Much of J K Rowling’s inspiration for the Harry Potter books derived from Edinburgh. In fact, she wrote the majority of Harry Potter books while living in the city and you can visit the Elephant House Coffee Shop and Balmoral Hotel where she spent time writing the novels. You can also visit the Edinburgh locations which inspired the books including GreyFriars Kirkyard and Victoria Street (Diagon Alley).

5) Edinburgh Zoo is home to the world’s only knighted penguin and his name is Sir Nils Olav. The King penguin’s role includes inspecting the Norwegian Guard on their visits to the Scottish capital and since his knighthood in 2008, he’s since been promoted in the ranks to Brigadier.

6) St. Margaret’s Chapel, located within the walls of Edinburgh Castle, is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh. It was built around 1130, in memory of Queen Margaret, who is said to have died from a broken heart after the death of her husband, Malcolm III of Scotland.

7) “You’ll have had your tea?” was once a common Edinburgh greeting and is still used today as a way to avoid putting on the kettle. It is believed the phrase originated in the 18th century with a nobleman named Mackintosh of Borlum who didn’t like the sound of tea-slurping at social gatherings.

8) The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world. There are over 3000 shows staged with a total of 50,000 performances across 300 venues. The population of Edinburgh doubles in size during Fringe with people travelling from every corner of the world just to experience it.

9) Edinburgh has not always been the nation’s capital. Edinburgh replaced Scone as the capital of Scotland in 1437.

10) Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall has a small window high above the fireplace known as “laird’s lug” (lord’s ear) which was used for eavesdropping. The window allowed castle residents to eavesdrop on conversations taking place in the Great Hall.

11) The National Monument on Calton Hill is known as “Edinburgh’s Folly” or “Edinburgh’s Shame.” It was modelled on the Parthenon in Athens, but funding for the building ran out and it was never completed.

12) Over 75% of the buildings in Edinburgh are listed. With more than 4,500 buildings making the list, Edinburgh is home to the most listed sites in the UK after London.

Pigs in the city

Monday, July 15th, 2019

As Britain’s second most visited city after London, Edinburgh truly is a world class place to visit at any time of year.

Almost every inch of Scotland’s stunning capital city is a reminder of its fascinating history. Once you explore the narrow, cobbled alleys of the Old Town and the elegant crescents of the New Town, you’ll soon see why they’ve been jointly awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. With so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to start exploring. But we recommend a great place to start is the Royal Mile, home to the iconic Edinburgh Castle at one end and the Palace of Holyroodhouse (the Queen’s official residence in Scotland) at the other discover here. As you make your way along the Royal Mile, you’ll pass St Giles Cathedral, The Real Mary King’s Close underground tour and the amazing Scottish Parliament building.

There’s always something going on in Edinburgh but if you are interested in arts and culture then a visit to one of Edinburgh’s Festivals is an absolute must. Each August, people from all over the world flock to the city for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world and the iconic Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. And come December, if you are looking to celebrate the New Year in style then don’t miss the city’s spectacular Hogmanay celebrations.

And if you enjoy a little retail therapy, Edinburgh certainly won’t disappoint. Head to world famous Princes Street and George Street and for luxury brands look no further than Multrees Walk and Harvey Nichols in St Andrews Square.

After setting the scene like this we are very proud to be located in two of Edinburgh’s most famous and iconic streets and thought it would be fun to let you know some interesting facts about them and the vicinity.

Did you know that JK Rowling based magical shopping street Diagon Alley in Harry Potter on Victoria Street ?

The street is of course located in the Grassmarket, which was from 1477, one of Edinburgh’s main market places, a part of which was given over to the sale of horse and cattle (the name apparently deriving from livestock grazing in pens beyond its western end.

In 1803 William and Dorothy Wordsworth took rooms at the White Hart Inn, where the poet Robert Burns had stayed during his last visit to Edinburgh in 1791.

In his 1961 film Greyfriars Bobby, Walt Disney chose a lodging in the Grassmarket as the place where the Skye terrier’s owner dies (depicting him as a shepherd hoping to be hired at the market rather than the real-life dog’s owner, police night watchman John Gray.

The Canongate is the lower section of the famous Royal Mile and ends at the Palace of Holyroodhouse which was built in 1501.  It was only incorporated into the city of Edinburgh in 1865 before that it was a separate burgh and had a history and culture all of its own.

Did you know that Bovril can trace its roots back to the Cannongate?  An early version of the drink was made by a Cannongate butcher John Johnstone who developed “Liquid Beer” by using spare beef and gelatine.  He emigrated to Canada and there further marketed his drink coming up with the name Bovril (from Bovis Latin name for a cow and the word Vril).

Like many other streets in the New Town, Hanover Street was named in honour of the monarchs on the throne at the time of its construction.

The Hanoverian dynasty ruled Britain from 1714 to 1901, and George III was the reigning monarch at the time of Hanover Street’s construction in 1786.

After the First World War there were proposals to change the name to something less German-sounding, but they were unsuccessful and Hanover Street remained.

Oink Collection

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

It’s a Wrap. Movie Locations in Edinburgh

Friday, April 1st, 2016

With our two great locations in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town in Victoria Street and the Canongate on the Royal Mile, the Oink team enjoy celebrity spotting particularly during the Edinburgh Festival but also benefit from being one of the prime locations for the many movies that are filmed in Edinburgh.  Recent movies filmed here have included One Day and Sunshine on Leith where key Edinburgh landmarks such as the Mound (scene of the song 500 miles) were showcased to a worldwide audience.  There is one film though that has been synonymous with Edinburgh for showing the darker side and that is Trainspotting and in the past few weeks the Oink team along with many in Edinburgh have been talking and spotting the filming taking place for the sequel likely to be called Porno (if it’s true to Irvine Welsh’s sequel book) which is due for release on the 27th January 2017.

All this movie talk got us thinking and we decided to take a look at what has been filmed at or near our two outlets.

Arthurs Seat
Edinburgh’s extinct volcano looks down on the city and particularly the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament (not forgetting our Oink Shop just up from the parliament on the Canongate) and is the scene of movies such as One Day, the 2004 version of Greyfriars Bobby, Battle of the Sexes starring Peter Seller and Chariots of Fire.

The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile linking Edinburgh Castle at the top to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom is a fabulous backdrop for films with the many closes going off the street and its rich history it is arguably a Directors dream location.  Films shot here include Cloud Atlas shot at the City Chambers where Frobisher (Ben Wishaw) escapes down a drainpipe leaving behind Sixsmith (James D’Arcy).  And in Parliament Square Emma, Dex and friends meet up after a long evening in One Day. It is also the Christmas Market scene in the 1996 film Jude.

The Grassmarket
This is the location for many movies and TV shows including Pramface, Complicity, Filth, Book of Blood, Outcast, Mausam and Taggart.  And an old movie but a classic is the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.  The Grassmarket is the scene in the film when Miss Jean Brodie (Maggie Smith) instructs her girls on Mary Queen of Scots and Mussolini two historical characters not often linked.

James McAvoy filming 'Filth' outside Oink on Victoria Street in Edinburgh

James McAvoy filming ‘Filth’ outside Oink on Victoria Street in Edinburgh

Victoria Street
Finally in Victoria Street we have seen quite a few films and TV filmed including James McAvoyy in Filth which was filmed just outside Oink allowing us to take the photo we have included in this article.  Other films shot here include One Day, Case Histories (which again gave viewers a clear shot of our Victoria Street Oink Shop) Driving Lessons starring Julie Walters and Cloud Atlas starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.  Before our time but the 1986 Scottish Film Restless Natives was filmed here with a motorbike chase sequence right above Oink at Victoria Terrace.

We hope we have given you a flavour of some of the movies shot in Edinburgh.  If you would like more information VisitScotland in association with Film Edinburgh, This is Edinburgh and Transport Edinburgh have produced a Edinburgh Film Map so you can see Edinburgh through the lens of the Movie Camera as you travel around the city.

And if you do decide to do the Edinburgh Movie Trail and find yourself popping by our Canongate and Victoria Street Shops, then you have a great excuse to enjoy an Oink or a Grunter.  You might even spot a famous face while you are enjoying your roll.

The Oink Story – This little piggy went to market

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Let us introduce ourselves to you. We are Adam Marshall, pig farmer and Sandy Pate, sheep farmer from Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.

As working farmers, we had the simple idea of bringing our quality natural product from the farm to the city. Passionate about good honest food we wanted to introduce a very different food concept to Edinburgh with our fresh and delicious Scottish hog roast rolls.

Coming from families who have farmed in Berwickshire for many generations we like to think we know a thing or two about good meat.  We began by specialising in hog roasts and brought our freshly carved hog roasts to the Edinburgh Farmers Market at Castle Terrace back in 2001. In fact we are the only business who has attended every single Saturday Farmers Market to feed hungry regulars with hog roast and our own delicious bacon. Our delicious hog roast rolls (pulled pork as some of you know it) were such a runaway success with the public that we decided to open our first shop in Edinburgh – and that’s when Oink was born.

Oink was launched in Edinburgh’s Victoria Street in the Summer of 2008 and we have been serving delicious hog roast rolls to hungry workers, locals, students, festival goers, shoppers and tourists 7 days a week ever since! We opened our second shop in the summer of 2013 in the Canongate area of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile. We also operate our highly successful Oink mobile catering service for both hog and lamb roasts and regularly cater for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions as well as every kind of corporate event.

Having seen the growing popularity of hog roast through our Edinburgh Farmers Market stall and knowing that it’s the ideal quick and tasty meat to serve hot on a roll like bacon, we decided to go one better and open a shop specialising in just that. We hit upon the name of Oink of Edinburgh to set it apart. It’s a fun name which has certainly attracted a lot of attention. We have built up a huge loyal following from students and tourists and from hungry office workers on the run. They know they will get good, speedy service from us and a high quality tasty product.

Not only is our hog roast very tasty but the pigs are farm reared by myself on my farm in Berwickshire and are fed natural, local foodstuffs. The meat is very high quality and will not disappoint in terms of taste. Our own bacon is superior to many supermarket brands too and we do feel that our customers do get a true quality product when they come into Oink.

In the past a traditional hog roast was a true celebratory feast which would feed many people and there was minimum wastage. TV Programmes such as “The F Word” with Gordon Ramsay, who is obviously an advocate of rearing quality pork, have started to bring this back into vogue but we have been doing the hog roasts since 2001 so we were ahead of the trend.

Customers want to know where the meat has come from and how it was reared. We have farming in our blood and customers know they can buy with confidence from us. What began at Edinburgh’s Castle Terrace Farmers Market back in 2001 has gone from strength to strength – we knew that the demand was there back then as our stall was always busy but little did we know how our concept would grow into the Oink that so many people love and enjoy today.

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