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In Edinburgh, All the City's a Stage

For one month in summer, the curtain rises on Scotland's frenzy of theater, music and dance

April 02, 2000|THOMAS CURWEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER; Thomas Curwen is deputy editor of the Times Book Review

Edinburgh Book Festival: Runs Aug. 12 to 28. This year's authors include J. K. Rowling (of Harry Potter fame), Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Andrea Dworkin, Sara Paretsky and Tama Janowitz; a complete program will be available at the end of June. For more information: Scottish Book Centre, 137 Dundee St., Edinburgh EH11 1BG, Scotland; tel. 011-44-131-228-5444, fax 011-44-131-228-4333, Internet

Edinburgh International Film Festival: Runs Aug. 13 to 27. Information: Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 9BZ, Scotland; tel. 011-44-131-228-4051, fax 011-44-131-229-5501, Internet

Other festivals: For the Jazz Festival, the fireworks concert (on the last day of the International Festival) and the Television Festival (an industry event), contact the Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board, 3 Princes St., Edinburgh EH2 2QP, Scotland; tel. 011-44-131-473-3800, fax 011-44-131-473-3881, Internet


Playing in Scotland

Getting there: British Airways has connecting service to Edinburgh from L.A. via London; or fly to London on another airline and connect to Edinburgh on British Midland. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $1,016 for the summer high season. You can also take the Great Northeastern Railway (GNER) from London's Kings Cross Station to Edinburgh; round-trip fares begin at about $74. Telephone 011-44-8457-225- 225, Internet

Where to stay: Avoiding the central city's more expensive hotels, we ended up at St. Leonards, a quiet, comfortable B&B 20 minutes from Edinburgh by bus; 480 Lanark Road, Edinburgh EH 14 5BL, Scotland; tel. 011-44-131-453-1968, fax 011-44-131-442-4406, Internet About $60 per person, including breakfast. We spent one night in town at Seventeen Abercromby Place, a Georgian masterpiece in central Edinburgh; tel. 011-44-131-557-8036, fax 011-44-131-558-3453. About $200 for a double room, with breakfast.

Where to eat: On the Royal Mile, the Witchery (local tel. 225-5613) serves Scottish cuisine (seafood, game and poultry) in a 16th century building; dinner about $50 per person, food only. The Abbotsford (3 Rose St., tel. 225-5276), with a beautiful coffered ceiling, has similar fare. Nicholsons Restaurant (6 Nicholsons St., tel. 557- 4567) is the cafe where J.K. Rowling began her Harry Potter books; dinner about $30 per person. The Tower at the Museum of Scotland (tel. 225- 3003) has good food, views; dinner about $40 per person.

For more information: British Tourist Authority, 551 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10176; tel. (800) 462-2748, Internet

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