For a truly distinct Scottish experience the Ceilidh (pronounced kay-leigh) Club at Summerhall can’t be missed.
Every Scottish school kid learns the basic Ceilidh dances and almost every Scottish wedding involves a few dances. However, most visitors don’t get a chance to experience these, which is why I was so excited to learn about the Ceilidh Club, and now insist that everyone who visits me in Edinburgh has to go.
The easiest way to describe a Ceilidh would be Scottish square dancing but that doesn’t do it full justice. It is so much better than that!
It’s an evening for people of all ages and nationalities. Some folk go every week; have the full kilt outfit and very proper-looking shoes on. Others have no idea what they’re getting into but there is always a ‘caller’ to explain the dances beforehand. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a dance partner when you arrive as you will soon be invited up to dance.
Some good tips before your first Ceilidh. Buy tickets in advance – it gets really busy. Wear flat, non-slip shoes and something light – it gets real hot real fast. And, most importantly, dance the Orcadian Strip the Willow even if you sit the rest of the evening out – you won’t regret it!