Apex Hotels Blogs

Award for Apex Chairman

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Norman Springford wins the HIT Scotland Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sponsored by Brakes and trade magazine Caterer & Hotelkeeper. The HIT Scotland industry award recognises an individual who shows dedication to raising standards and a passion for the industry that goes beyond their job description.

Norman Springford is presented with HIT Scotland Lifetime Achievement Award

David Cochrane, Chief Executive for HIT Scotland says "HIT Scotland are delighted to present Norman Springford with this award. Norman is a highly respected Scottish businessman who has achieved great things for our Industry and Apex Hotels are doing fantastically well in such challenging times. There was an overwhelming amount of nominations and it was a unanimous decision from the judges."

Collecting the award on Mr Springford’s behalf was Angela Vickers, Managing Director for Apex Hotels.

The award was presented by Steven Carter, Chairman for HIT Scotland and Hotelier of the Year alongside Paul Wilson, Chair of the Industry dinner and Arlene Bonomi, Sales Director for Brakes.

Norman Springford says "We are absolutely delighted, but as everyone realises, this is very much a team award, and it is great to see them recognised for all the hard work that they have put in over the years."

The dinner was held at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday 30th March for over 400 guests. Guests were in for a culinary treat with an International themed dinner prepared by a team of Hilton chefs from around the world, flown in especially to create each course.

Money from the event benefits HIT Scotland, a charity working to raise professional aspirations across the hospitality industry. Over £2 million has been raised by HIT Scotland since the Trust’s inception in 1994. Nearly 10 000 students have benefited from the bursary scheme and they have awarded over 700 scholarships, placing talented workers on ‘money can’t buy’ learning experiences or placements at top hospitality schools around the world.

Norman Springford will join a list of deserving winners including last year’s winner Joe Queen, Executive Chef at Hilton Hotels. Other recipients include Peter Lederer, Neil Thomson, Ken McCulloch, Avril Robertson, Peter Taylor, Tony Jackson, Stewart Cameron, Andrew Fairlie, James Thomson, Tony Jackson, Stewart Cameron, David Cochrane, Larbi, Willie Pike and joint winners Eddie Friel and Jack Munro.

Chelsea Flower Show

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The RHS Chelsea Flower Show (22 - 26 May 2012)

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the event of the year for all garden and flower enthusiasts. Exhibiting for five days in May, this iconic event showcases the latest trends in gardening. The world’s leading garden designers all come together to display their innovation, knowledge and passion towards garden design.

Chelsea Flower Show entry

At the heart of Chelsea is the Great Pavilion, a covered space the size of two football pitches, where specialist growers exhibit everything from the familiar to the exotic, making it the main attraction for most Chelsea visitors.The 2012 Chelsea Flower Show will host many new features including ‘Fresh’ - a brand new area that includes modern, inventive gardens, offering ingenious new products. The newly extended food court will ensure you are kept refreshed and relaxed all day long. Be sure to visit the ‘RHS Environment’ area, which displays clever, innovative solutions to tackle problem areas head on.

Visitors will see the cutting edge technology in the latest garden design, in addition to enjoying over 100 floral displays from all over the world – making the Chelsea Flower Show the best in the world.

Amateur gardeners flock to the Chelsea flow show for inspiration and leave with new dreams firmly planted in the mind of each visitor. In 2011, Diarmuid Garvin’s Irish Sky Garden was the first garden to be suspended in the air – one can only guess what the 2012 event will have in store!

Chelsea Flower Show website

Edinburgh Marathon

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Edinburgh Marathon Festival (26 - 27 May 2012)

Not every festival in Edinburgh revolves around parties, bars and late nights. The Edinburgh Marathon has grown over the past ten years to become a mini-festival in its own right, with 26,000 runners turning up for a total of eight races.

Edinburgh Marathon runners - Rebecca Lee Photography

© Rebecca Lee Photography

The marathon itself is the main event: 26.2 miles running eastwards from the city centre to the finish in Musselburgh, dropping 40 metres in altitude on the way. 40 metres may not sound like much, but it's part of the reason that a recent study by Runner's World found this to be the fastest marathon in the UK.

The fast course attracts competitive runners but it's also a little kinder to everyone else. Many of the runners will undergo this ordeal to raise money for good causes: so far it has raised £30 million for hundreds of charities.

It's not just about the marathon, though: there's a half marathon, 10k, 5k, junior races and even a mascot race. Edinburgh has a compact city centre, so the sudden arrival of thousands of runners means there's a real sense of being part of a major event.

Here are some tips which might help as the big day approaches:

  • If you've fallen behind your training schedule, don't try to catch up by cramming in extra mileage near the end of your training. You want to get to the start line carrying no injuries. It's tempting, but it's not worth the risk and won't gain you much anyway.
  • Make sure you'll be running in kit you know you'll be comfortable in. Don't make any rash last minute changes of footwear or clothing if you can help it.
  • A related tip: if you know where to expect blisters and chaffing, do something about it. Consider (and try in advance) vaseline on your feet, plasters over your nipples or even pre-applying blister plasters over likely hotspots. It can make all the difference to your enjoyment of the race!
  • Pack sun block! Even on a mediocre day you will be exposed for a long time. On a sunny day it will be essential. Recent years in Edinburgh have seen some very hot days - consider a hat!
  • Find out what the drinks stations on the course will offer. If it doesn't work for you, you'll need to carry an alternative. It's also worth memorizing where to expect them.
  • The first section is a long, steady, gentle, descent - but don't be tempted to go off too fast or you'll pay for it later.
  • Don't panic! Let the atmosphere carry you along - you'll be amazed what a difference it can make.

The marathon expo is a great source of last minute nutrition, hydration and kit bargains. However, if you can't make it, Edinburgh has several excellent running shops with really knowledgable and enthusiastic staff:

More information

Ignite 2012 Dundee

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Ignite 2012 (17 - 27 May 2012)

Building on the success of last year’s ‘Ignite Your Weekend’ programme, which attracted over 15,000 people to events in Dundee - this year’s 'Ignite 2012' festival brings ten days of events celebrating creativity in Tayside and Fife.

                 3 DJCAD degree show

Events have been organised by a group of cultural organisations, from universities to major arts establishments. Highlights will include:

  • Degree Show 2012 at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
  • Creative Dundee’s Pecha Kucha Volume 3
  • Museum of the University of St Andrews Murder Mystery Night
  • V&A at Dundee’s keynote annual lecture

The festival is supported by the V&A at Dundee, an exciting new design museum planned to open in Dundee in 2015.

"The forthcoming arrival of V&A at Dundee has shone a spotlight on cultural activity in and around Dundee and Ignite is a great way of celebrating and highlighting the region’s thriving creative sector. There is a genuine culture of collaboration and support across the cultural sector here, and V&A at Dundee is proud to be a part of this". Philip Long, Director of V&A at Dundee.

The programme of events will be published soon on the V&A at Dundee website.

London May 2012

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What's on in London in May 2012?

Event of the month

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show (22 - 26 May 2012) - The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the event of the year for all garden and flower enthusiasts. Exhibiting for five days in May, this iconic event showcases the latest trends in gardening. The world’s leading garden designers all come together to display their innovation, knowledge and passion towards garden design. - Find out more in our Chelsea Flower Show blog post.

Christian Louboutin Exhibition (1 May - 9 July 2012) - The iconic French shoe designer Christian Louboutin comes to London, presenting his first UK exhibition, displayed at The Design museum. This innovative, iconic designer has pushed boundaries and broken barriers in high fashion, show design for the last two decades. - Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD - www.designmuseum.org

2012 Hours to Go: An Evening of Athletics and Entertainment (5 May 2012) - The official Olympic countdown has begun, join in on the countdown celebrations and mark the official ‘2012 hours to go’! The evening will see a number of celebrities and athletes entertain an audience of 40,000 at London’s Olympic Stadium. - Olympic Park, London - www.london2012.com

The London Pet Show (12 - 13 May 2012) - Calling all animal lovers! The London Pet Show is the perfect opportunity to meet, experience and learn about hundreds of different breeds of animals. Now in its second year, The London Pet Show is an exciting, dynamic event that is full of animal action. - Earl's Court Two, Warwick Road, Earl's Court, London, SW5 9TA - www.londonpetshow.co.uk

Camden Crawl 2012 (4 - 6 May 2012) - The Camden Crawl is a celebration of Camden’s musicians and talent, covering a two mile stretch of historic pubs and venues that have produced some the UK’s top musicians, spearheaded by the legend that was and still is, Amy Winehouse. - Camden - www.thecamdencrawl.com

The London Wonderground (8 May - 30 September 2012) - This summer will see the park between the Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye transformed into The London Wonderground. Artists and performers from La Clique, Circa, Acrobat and Circus Oz will wow the crowds, performing cabaret, music and circus acts throughout the summer of 2012. - Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX - www.southbankcentre.co.uk

In the Night Garden Live (24 May - 9 June 2012) - Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka will all be embarking on a magical adventure, performed live at the O2 this spring as part of their nationwide tour. The live show will recreate the successful children’s program with life-size costumes, incredible special effects and magical music all displayed on a set that is so enchanting you too will believe in the magic! - The O2, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX - www.nightgardenlive.com

Leather Forever Hermes Exhibition (8 - 27 May 2012) - The Leather Forever Hermes exhibition opens its doors this spring, celebrating the 175 years of fascination with leather objects. This event will give you an exclusive insight into the design and creation of these decadent fashion accessories that are now world renowned. Anyone with a passion for designer handbags will be in their element at this exhibition – plus it is free! - 6 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S 3ET - www.viewlondon.co.uk/leather-forever

London Rollergirls (19 May 2012) - The all-female, skater-owned and run Roller Derby League comes to London this spring. The Roller Derby league was the first of its kind, formed in April 2006, officially bringing this exciting sport to the UK and Europe. Make sure you get your skates on and experience this fast-paced event - Brompton Hall, Earl's Court, Warwick Road,SW5 9TA - www.londonrollergirls.com

Dundee May 2012

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What's on in Dundee in May 2012?

Event of the month

Ignite 2012 (17-27 May 2012) - Building on the success of last year’s ‘Ignite Your Weekend’ programme, which attracted over 15,000 people to events in Dundee - this year’s 'Ignite 2012' festival brings ten days of events celebrating creativity in Tayside and Fife. - Find out more in our Ignite 2012 blog post

Dodgy (8 May 2012) - It's time to rewind to the 1990s as a reunited Dodgy are back with a new album which is actually garnering great reviews - Gardyne Theatre, Gardyne Road, Dundee, DD1 5NY - www.gardynetheatre.org.uk

Roddy Woomble (10 May 2012) - Ex-Idlewild lead singer and songwriter brings his solo material to Dundee. Woomble has diversified since the punk rock days of Idelwild, collaborating with a range of folk musicians. Current work seems to be somewhere between the two, though the combination will no doubt be as effortlessly compelling as ever - Gardyne Theatre, Gardyne Road, Dundee, DD1 5NY - www.gardynetheatre.org.uk

Skerryvore (12 May 2012) - A heady mix of rock, funk and traditional Celtic instruments. Think 21st century urban folk rock and you're probably close - Dundee Rep Theatre, tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB - tickets.dundeerep.co.uk

Kidnapped (15 - 16 May 2012) - Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure against the backdrop of the Jacobite rebellion is brought to life in this swashbuckling production - Dundee Rep Theatre, tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB - tickets.dundeerep.co.uk

The Armed Man - Dundee Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra Concert (20 May 2012) - Charity concert featuring Karl Jenkins' A Mass for Peace - Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BB - www.cairdhall.co.uk

Emma's Edinburgh Tales

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Today we have a guest post from Emma's Travel Tales. Emma lives in Glasgow and enjoys visiting Edinburgh, which is approximately one hours drive away. Here are some of her favourite places to see on a trip to Edinburgh.

Emma Gray, travel blogger

Edinburgh is Scotland’s beautiful capital city and is composed of the Old Town of tiny alleyways and cobbled lanes and the New Town’s wider, symmetrical streets. The fusion of old and new comes together to create a stunning city with so much to offer to visitors.

A must see for any visitor to Edinburgh is the imposing Castle which sits elevated above the city on an extinct volcano. With origins dating as far back as 1130 it has been graced with the presence of numerous kings, queens, princes and princesses including Mary Queen of Scots who even gave birth within the walls of the castle. If the Castle’s walls could talk I’m sure they’d have plenty of interesting stories to share.

Just below Edinburgh Castle lie Princes Street Gardens - a large public park with lovingly tended flower beds and the incredibly ornate Ross Fountain. The gardens are the perfect place for a gentle stroll and a spot of people watching. During the annual Edinburgh Festival various events take place within the gardens and around the festive season there are numerous attractions in the gardens including ice-skating, a ferris wheel and a traditional Christmas market.

The Sir Walter Scott monument to the famous author of romance novels such as Waverley and Rob Roy dominates Edinburgh’s main shopping street, Princes Street. It was dedicated to the author after his death in the middle of the nineteenth century and features Scott seated in the centre of the monument with his beloved dog. The monument is open to energetic visitors who can climb the 287 steps to the top and admire the beautiful skyline of the city.

The Old Town is filled with Victorian charm in the form of the famous Royal Mile, the University of Edinburgh, St. Giles Cathedral and Holyrood Palace. Underneath much of Edinburgh’s Old Town are underground streets and vaults which were mostly abandoned in the early 19th Century. Tours can be taken to explore the underground streets of the city and there are many reports of ghosts and strange apparitions in the eerie streets beneath the city. Perfect for any visitors with a sense of adventure!

If you’re looking for an amazing panoramic view of the city there are two different places you can go - Arthur's Seat or Calton Hill. Walking up Arthur's Seat, part of the extinct volcano, is the perfect place for some fresh Scottish air and the views at the top make it worth every step. On the walk up you can stop at the remains of St. Anthony’s Chapel which dates back to the early fifteenth century and is thought to have have a forty foot high tower. Calton Hill too offers stunning views over the city and there are also a wealth of different monuments at the top such as the Dugald Stewart Monument, National Monument and Nelson’s Monument to name but a few.

Edinburgh also has an incredibly vibrant nightlife and many modern and trendy bars and clubs can be found on the famous George Street. However, if you’re looking for a quiet, traditional pub with a warm, friendly atmosphere and a tonne of character then stick within the Old Town.

There really is something to suit everyone on a visit to Scotland’s capital city and these are just a few of the main attractions. Why not visit yourself to experience some of them, and so many more.

Apex Temple Court launch

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Hear, hear! Apex Temple Court Hotel Celebrates Launch with Special Opening Offer

Today Apex Hotels celebrated the official launch of its third London property, Apex Temple Court Hotel, by handing out special launch rates to passersby. For the months of March and April, rates are just £117 (excl. VAT) per room per night!

Actors dressed as judges and barristers, a nod to the hotel's location in the historic conservation area of the Inner Temple, marched up and down Fleet Street heralding the opening of the landmark building which officially opened its doors as a four star luxury hotel on 1 March 2012.

Apex Temple Court launch

The hotel's 184 bedrooms and suites are centered around an outdoor courtyard with many of the rooms boasting stunning skyline views of Big Ben and the London Eye. Deluxe, Junior Suites and Master Suites boast 3D HD TVs with dedicated Sky boxes and the hotel also offers complimentary Wi-Fi and free local calls.

Apex Temple Court offer a premium Club Lounge, available 24 hours a day for guests staying in Deluxe grade rooms or higher, which will offer complimentary refreshments in addition to comfortable furnishings and laptop and PC data points for quiet work and relaxation.

Apex Temple Court is easy reach of London's most popular attractions. A walk westwards from the hotel takes you to Covent Garden, famous for its shops, street performers, bars, restaurants,theatres and the Royal Opera House and just five minute walk away is The Strand and the heart of London's theatre land. Other popular attractions nearby include St. Paul's Cathedral, Somerset House, National Theatre, Tate Modern and boat trips down the Thames to Greenwich.

The London Marathon

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The London Marathon 2012 (22 April 2012)

It’s that time of year again where London opens its doors to host one of the most iconic events of the year – the London Marathon has arrived! Millions of people from all over the world will watch, scream and cheer on the runners from street corners and pubs right across the capital. It is such a popular day in the London event’s calendar – some people even call it London’s 26,2 mile street party!

London Marathon runners

We are so lucky here at Apex, as the marathon route is right on our Apex City of London Hotel’s doorstep. We will make sure Edwin – the resident Apex Duck at City of London – will be there to cheer the runners as they whizz (or some cases limp) past.

The former Olympic champion Chris Brasher is the man responsible for the London Marathon. After his experience of running the New York Marathon, he felt London had to have its own marathon. Chris was overwhelmed by the sight of over a million people from different cultures and countries across the globe - all united by the one challenge.

Some supporters may choose to run from the sidelines to show their support, or like the most of us, will choose to just cheer in admiration from the sidelines. Whatever you do, this is a London supporting event you don't want to miss.

The 2012 London Marathon will host around 35,000 runners, most of which are taking part to raise money for charity.

Luckily for our Apex City of London guests as the biggest crowds of spectators gather at Tower Bridge - which is less than a 1 minute walk away from the hotel! Or you may choose to watch the emotional finish as the runners cross the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace.

Make sure you experience this legendary race; gather your friends and family and enjoy this great day out with a fantastic atmosphere!

Apex Hotels London Marathon Packages

London Marathon website

Mummies in Edinburgh

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Fascinating Mummies (11 February - 27 May 2012)

The National Museum of Scotland showcases ancient Egyptian treasures dating as far as 4000BC in this exhibition bringing together two of the world's great collections.

Mummy and xray of Ankhhor

Just around the corner from our two Grassmarket hotels, the Apex International and Apex City Hotel, this is the first major exhibition in the museum's new purpose-built hall.

The exhibition is split into two parts. The first explores the ancient rituals surrounding death and the afterlife. The Egyptians preserved the bodies of their dead because they believed they had to remain in tact to be re-born into the afterlife. This process of preservation is called mummification, and the embalmed bodies are known as mummies. They were buried in tombs with great treasures and possessions it was thought they would need in the afterlife. Some tombs were so well hidden from intruders and grave robbers that the contents remained untouched and perfectly preserved for many thousands of years. The exhibition features an array of these treasures including painted coffins, amulets, jewellery, papyri, and ornaments.

The second part of the exhibition focuses on the way archaeologists and scientists have studied the Ancient Egyptians over the years. For example, early attempts at analysing the mummies involved unwrapping them in a process which is now seen as invasive and destructive. Now, modern technology allows them to scan the bodies using x-ray and CT scanning, leaving them undamaged.

This truly is a fascinating exhibition and a great family day out. Admission: Adults £9, concessions £7.50, child £6 and family (2 adults and 2 children) £26.

The Steamie in Dundee

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The Steamie at Dundee Caird Hall (3-7 April 2012)

This Easter weekend, the 25th Anniversary tour of beloved Scottish play The Steamie comes to Dundee's Caird Hall for a four night run; the tour also visits Edinburgh.

Tony Roper – yes, Jamesie Cotter from Rab C. Nesbitt – wrote the play in his late forties in a biro and a jotter. It was his first ever play. It was widely rejected as having no plot by every theatre company in the land before Wildcat Stage Productions first performed it in 1987. It was a huge success.

The Steamie

The play remains popular even though fewer audience members directly remember its 1950s setting.

"Steamies" (or "washies") were corporation wash houses; communal clothes-washing places. Women from the city would take their washing there and pay a small fee to use the facilities to hand wash their families' clothes. Now that clothes washing is automated by a convenient white machine in your house, The Steamie is a window into a bygone era.

It's also a look at the nature of communities at the time. Residents saw cities change drastically in the 50s and 60s. It might be nostalgic, but it doesn't over-romanticise what were tough times for these characters.

It might be set in a world that only people drawing a pension remember, but this doesn't diminish its appeal to a wider audience. In 2009 it came second in an STV poll to find Scotland's best loved shows. Only Taggart received more votes.

The 25th Anniversary tour celebrates the play's place in Scottish culture. It's hugely entertaining and with Roper himself directing it's a rare chance to see it performed the way he imagines it.

More information about performances at Caird Hall - within walking distance of Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa.

More information about performances in Edinburgh

London April 2012

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What's on in London in April 2012?

Event of the month

The London Marathon (22 April 2012) - London hosts one of the most iconic events of the year. Millions of people from all over the world will watch, scream and cheer on the runners right across the capital - Find out more in our London Marathon blog post.

Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern (4 April - 9 September 2012) - Bringing together key works from over 20 years, this exhibition brings together 70 of Damien Hirst's most iconic works - Tate Modern, SE1 9TG - www.tate.org.uk

World Shakespeare Festival 2012 (23 April - 9 September 2012) - Led by the Royal Shakespeare Company, this celebration invites International theatre companies to the UK to interpret the works of William Shakespeare in their own unique way - www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk

London Coffee Festival 2012 (27 - 29 April 2012) - Celebrate UK Coffee Week with a visit to this coffee lovers' festival with live music, market stalls, demonstrations and tastings - Old Truman Brewey, E1 6QL - www.londoncoffeefestival.com

Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter (opening 31 March 2012) - A behind-the-scenes walking tour featuring authentic sets, costumes and props from the Harry Potter films at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden. Book with Golden Tours in order to receive return transportation from central London. - www.goldentours.com

Kew’s Mayan Chocolate Adventure (31 March - 15 April 2012) - Find out where chocolate comes from on this family day out with activities including an Easter Egg hunt, adventure trails and chocolate tasting - Kew Gardens, TW9 3AB - www.kew.org

New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys Tour (28 April 2012) - Two of the biggest boy bands in 80s/90s pop, New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys, bring their NKOTBSB Tour to the UK. - The O2, SE10 0DX - www.theo2.co.uk

RHS Great London Plant Fair (10-11 April 2012) - With the arrival of spring in the UK, now's your chance to stock-up on plants and seeds and receive advice from RHS experts on ways to replenish your garden - RHS Horticultural Halls, SW1P 2PE - www.rhs.org.uk/londonshows

The Great British Tattoo Show (20-22 April 2012) - This show centered around the themes Traditional, Contemporary and Urbann is all about tattoos and their association with fashion and lifestyle - Olympia - www.greatbritishtattooshow.com

E4 Udderbelly Festival 2012 (5 April - 8 July 2012) - The Udderbelly Tent is a very unique venue (in the shape of an upside-down purple cow) situated between the London Eye and Royal Festival Hall. Returning to London’s South Bank for a three month festival of stand-up comedy, cabaret music, dance and circus performances. - London Southbank Centre - www.underbelly.co.uk

Edinburgh April 2012

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What's on in Edinburgh in April 2012?

Event of the month

Fascinating Mummies - (until 27 May 2012) - Mummies as you've never seen them before. See how CT scan technology lets us see inside sarcophagi to learn about mummification. This is a unique exhibition created in partnership with museums in the Netherlands and Canada and won't be seen anywhere else in the UK - National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF - Find out more in our Fascinating Mummies blog post.

Edinburgh International Science Festival (30 March - 15 April 2012) - If the high profile of recent popular science TV shows is anything to go by, this festival will be a bigger hit than usual, both with adults and with kids. With appearances from Derren Brown, Bang Goes the Theory Live, entertaining scientists of all disciplines and the best science shows for kids coinciding with the Easter holidays, we suggest you book now - Various venues in Edinburgh - www.sciencefestival.co.uk

Ceilidh Culture (16 March - 15 April 2012) - The month-long festival continues into April after some great events in March. Traditional arts are thriving in Scotland, from folk music to storytelling, and a new generation are taking them to a wider audience. Ceilidh Culture is a wildly popular month long festival of events across the city, including the Edinburgh International Harp Festival. A great taste of grassroots Scottish culture - Various venues around Edinburgh - www.ceilidhculture.co.uk

The Gruffalo (6 - 7 April 2012) - Here's an Easter Treat: a stage adaptation of the much loved children's picture book. Whether you've seen the animated BBC version or not, this is a must for both children and grown-up fans - Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT - www.fctt.org.uk

The Steamie (10 - 14 April 2012) - Tony Roper's window into the lives of 1950s wash-house women on Hogmanay is something of a national treasure. Voted the second most loved Scottish show in an STV poll, this is its first major tour in ten years to celebrate the play's 25th anniversary and is directed by Roper himself - Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT - www.fctt.org.uk

Edinburgh Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon (14 April 2012) - The world's biggest running series comes to Edinburgh: a half marathon with rock and roll bands playing on stages roughly every mile. This will be the first race in the series ever to be held outside the US, with Madrid, Lisbon and Dublin following soon, so this is your chance to say "I was there" - start and finish in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh - uk.competitor.com/edinburgh

Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray (18 April 2012) - There's been a trend lately of bands playing their seminal albums in full. Now it's The Lemonheads' turn as they come to Edinburgh to play their 1992 breakthrough album from start to finish - HMV Picture House, 31 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH1 2DJ - venues.meanfiddler.com/hmv-picture-house

Calendar Girls (23 - 28 April 2012) - This will be the last tour of this West End hit, telling the true story of a group of ladies who decide to pose for a nude charity calendar and the events that unfold after its release - Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT - www.fctt.org.uk

Chicago the Musical (23 - 28 April 2012) - Grittier than your average musical, Chicago is actually based on a true story. It's won every award under the sun, from Tony awards to Oscars, so this is a welcome visit to Edinburgh - Edinburgh Playhouse, 18-22 Greenside Place Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 3AA - www.atgtickets.com/venue/Edinburgh-Playhouse/243/

SCO - Benedetti performs Vivaldi's Four Seasons (26 April 2012) - Scotland's favourite virtuouso violinist plays a programme of Baroque pieces focussing on Vivaldi, including some from his most famous concertos - Usher Hall, 5 Cambridge St, Edinburgh EH1 2DY - www.usherhall.co.uk

The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain (29 April 2012) - This sounds like a novelty act but it's an awful lot more. These are virtuoso musicians transforming a huge range of songs into something Time Out once described as "Subversive, rare and very precious... Frighteningly talented and awesome" - Queens Hall, 85-89 Clerk St, Edinburgh EH8 9JG - www.thequeenshall.net

Beltane Fire Festival (30 April 2012) - This is a venerable Edinburgh Institution: part pagan festival, part theatrical spectacle atop the stunning viewpoint of Calton Hill, with more than 10,000 spectator tickets. Expect fire displays, drumming and body-paint (with some nudity) as this procession of bizarre characters celebrate the beginning of summer - Calton Hill, Edinburgh - www.beltane.org

Dundee April 2012

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What's on in Dundee in April 2012?

Event of the month

The Steamie (3 - 7 April 2012) - Tony Roper's window into the lives of 1950s wash-house women on Hogmanay is something of a national treasure. Voted the second most loved Scottish show in an STV poll, this is its first major tour in ten years to celebrate the play's 25th anniversary and is directed by Roper himself - Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BB - Find out more in our The Steamie blog post

A Play, A Peh & A Pint Forfeit (3 - 7 April 2012) - This innovative theatre format, commissioned in partnership with Oran Mor in Glasgow where it's been very successful, stages two new plays served up in around 50 minutes in an informal atmostphere. The ticket includes the a play, a peh (pie, for no-DUndonians) and a pint - with non-alcoholic and vegetarian options, or course - www.dundeereptheatre.co.uk

Scottish Colourist Series: FCB Cadell (6 April - 12 June 2012) - This acclaimed series of exhibitions, assembled by the National Galeries of Scotland, highlights a group of four influential Scottish artists who were invfluenced by French painting and used strong colours and bold brushwork - The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum, Albert Square, Meadowside, Dundee DD1 1DA - www.mcmanus.co.uk  

This Production (7 April - 10 June 2012) - Dundee born and educated, Scott Mylkes marks 15 years since his graduation in Dundee with this exhibition of new work at DCA; those years have been eventful, with his work entering the permanant collections of major modern art galleries around the work including Tate London and MoMA in New York. This exhibition includes site-specific work relating to his time as a skater in Dundee, when the derelict site that is now the DCA was used as a skate park by locals. Alongside the exhibition are a number of related events including artist talks - Dundee Contemporary Arts, 152 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DY- www.dca.org.uk

True Tiger

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True Tiger was created for Jungle City, a charitable event of major conservation impact. The event, launched in Edinburgh, celebrated the magnificence of Asia’s endangered wildlife, generating mass awareness of their plight and making everyone smile at the same time. Purchased by Apex Hotels at a charity auction, he is now on display at the Apex City Hotel in Edinburgh.

We spoke to the artist who created him, Amy Rhian, to find out more ...

True Tiger at Apex City Hotel

How did you get involved in the Jungle City Project?
I am living in the warehouse that the Jungle City people rented out to paint the animals in and I really wanted to paint one, so I entered a competition to design and paint one of the animals - and I won!

What was the inspiration behind True Tiger?
My ideas started from some Japanese armour I saw in the V&A. I wanted to make my tiger his own set of armour as if to protect him from extinction. I took simple shapes from my armour research and created a pattern to cover him in. I named him True Tiger after my friend and housemate Neil's DJ and production group, True Tiger.

How long did the design take to complete?
It is hard to say how long he took to paint because I was working on him at home, so I dipped in and out of the job a lot. I would say start to finish he took me a month.

What are your thoughts on where he ended up?
I am really pleased with where he has ended up. I wanted him to be in a public place where lots of people could see and enjoy him and the Apex Hotel seems the perfect place for this! He will get to meet people from all over the world. I am also pleased that he is still in Edinburgh. I have visited twice now and I love the city. I came up for the Jungle City Grand Auction and dinner at the Museum last month and it was an amazing night, I loved it. True Tiger loves it in Edinburgh too, he looked happy when I saw him there!

What are you working on at the moment?
I have just returned from two months of travelling around India, so I'm not working on anything just yet! I am planning to do more 2D illustration work of my own and build a new website over the next couple of months. That's all I know at the moment, if some set design work comes around I will go for that too.

The Big Egg Hunt London

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The Big Egg Hunt (21 February - 8 April 2012)

Easter is going to be a very exciting time for those visiting London as the city opens its arms to the world's biggest Easter egg hunt!

The Big Egg Hunt

The Big Egg Hunt will be made from over 200 giant egg sculptures' which are placed all over central London. This is going to be one of the most "eggstraordinary" (see what we did there) events in the history of London. The Big Event is even going to attempt to break a new world record!

The London wide egg hunt will see thousands of people searching for the two and half foot, fibre glass sculptures. Each iconic egg has been designed and decorated by some of the world's top designers, artists, jewellers and architects from all over the globe. Some of these names famous names includes Diane Von Furstenberg, Nicky Haslam, Mulburry, Vivienne Westwood and the Chapman brothers - just to name a few.

The Big Egg Hunt is not only going to unite the city of London in the world's biggest Easter egg hunt, but also doubles up as a fundraising event for two amazing charities - Elephant Family and Action for Children.

These dramatic pieces of art are truly unique and will capture the minds and hearts of everyone visiting the city. The finale of this original egg hunt will see the eggs go up for auction to help raise money for the two charities. The top 30 eggs, dubbed as the 'Golden Collection' will be sold at a live auction held on 20 March.

Be sure to gather your family and friends, grab your zone map, download the clues and take part in the worlds biggest-ever Easter egg hunt and help break a new world record! We'll be keeping our eyes out for them - the race is on!

The Big Egg Hunt website