Every August Edinburgh is transformed; posters cover every billboard, fence and lamp-post and its town squares become venues, complete with temporary outdoor cafes and bars. The Royal Mile is pedestrianised for the whole month; you can walk down its entire length watching street theatre, and being handed flyers for the hundreds of shows on offer. It is, of course, Edinburgh's Fringe Festival.
My BC (before children) festival memories are rather hazy - I vaguely recall all-night drinking, eating terrible take-away food and watching late-night shows. So upon arrival, when my 5 year old enthusiastically announced, 'It's like Edinburgh's a city of shows!' gazing starry-eyed at all the posters, I knew we needed to discover a different kind of Fringe Festival - one that was rather more family-friendly.
So we got up and went out in the mornings - a festival rarity unless you're involved in a children's show - and we drank coffee and juice, looking through the Fringe programme deciding what to see that day.
We saw Not So Grimm Fairy Tales, Little Howard's Big show, The Just So Stories, The Amazing Bubble Show and Stick Man Live on Stage! - all brilliant. We couldn't pick a favourite and we didn't pick a dud.
We were also entranced by the sights and sounds of Mirazozo - a 'luminarium' in George Square.
We walked down the Royal Mile, got the children's faces painted and accepted handfuls of flyers for dozens of shows we knew we wouldn't get to see.
We stumbled upon some fabulous street theatre at the Grass Market in which my children eagerly participated.
We spent a lovely afternoon running around Calton Hill.
We visited Edinburgh's historic castle...
... and the audaciously redisplayed galleries of its museum.
We walked up Arthur's Seat...
... and got out of the rain and into some books.
We collected so many interesting things on our holiday that since coming home we've made a scrap book. The children helped stick in the tickets and mementos we accumulated over the week. I've also put our holiday snaps in a little wallet for them, so they can enjoy the memories of our festival fun in the months to come.
We're already looking forward to going back next year. Edinburgh - City of Shows - gets a five- star review from us.