ORIGINALLY created in the United States to give dads their own Mother’s Day equivalent, many fathers still bemoan the fact that their special day seems to play second fiddle.
So if you want to give your dad no cause for complaint on June 16, read on for some handy tips on how to give him the best Father’s Day ever.
For ultimate brownie points why not pick up some tickets for next year’s Ryder Cup when the golfing elite will be descending on Gleneagles (www. rydercup2014.com). Or if your father fancies himself as a budding Ian Poulter you could set him up with some lessons courtesy of Red Letter Days, which is offering packages from £25 (www.red letterdays.co.uk).
At the Botanics on Father’s Day, there will be free guided walks through the gardens, discussing the different uses and purposes of each native tree (visit www.rbge.org.uk for full details). Author Jamie Whittle will also be visiting the attraction to discuss his book, White River: A Journey Up And Down The River Findhorn, which saw him record his experiences of travelling the river on foot and by canoe (0131-248 2909 for times and details). And if that is not enough, Fi Martynoga, editor of the Handbook of Scotland’s Wild Harvests, will also be taking to Inverleith Park to tell stories on how to find edible plants in fields, woods and seashores, as well as finding firewood and potential uses for seaweeds (noon-12.45pm, free, call 0845 859 1006).
If your dad used to enjoy delighting or terrifying you by throwing you into the air when you were a small child, why not return the favour with a ride in a hot air balloon? Virgin Hot Air Balloon Gift packages start from £129 with flights leaving from Dalkeith Country Estate. Promising “2500 acres and 600 years of rich history to explore from above”, trips include views of the ancient oak wood which sits between the Rivers North and South Esk, the Firth of Forth and the Pentland Hills (www.virginballoon flights.co.uk).
If actually leaving the ground sounds a bit too much, the Edinburgh Airport Hilton is offering a Father’s Day package from Friday to Sunday, June 14-16, including a relaxing sauna followed by a dip in the bubble pool, a leisurely swim or a work-out. And it is fine for dads to build up an appetite as they eat for free if the whole family opts to stay for a meal (advance booking advised, 0131-519 4400).
Why not treat dad to a membership to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society? He’ll be joining more than 26,000 enthusiasts around the world who have exclusive access to around 30 new bottles of the Society’s single malt each month. Local members can also access two private bars on Queen Street and The Vaults in Leith. Membership costs £122 for the first year and £59 for each annual renewal (www.smws.co.uk).
On a pampering drinks theme, perhaps you could take your old man back to his rocking youth with a limited edition Crystal Head Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Edition Vodka Gift Set? The treat includes a skull-shaped 700ml bottle, an exclusive live double CD, a sticker and a crystal engraved decanter top, all for £120 from Harvey Nichols (0131-524 8388).
The National Museum of Flight in East Fortune has just the thing for techno geeks who are old enough to know better. Robots Live! offers metal warriors battling it out in a special arena; appearances from firm favourite Tyrone the animatronic T-Rex; a free outdoor Segway circuit; retro and modern computer gaming and the chance to control a bionic arm. Just try to steer dad away from the face-painting (call 0300 123 6789 for times/prices).
Dad dancing is a legendary embarrassment that every child fears. But on Father’s Day, you just have to grin and bear it, so why not do so in style and pick up a couple of tickets for Elvis Costello and The Imposters at the Festival Theatre? The Imposters are described as “effectively The Attractions minus bass player Bruce Thomas” and the show will see the rock legend performing newer tracks alongside classic hits such as I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down, Oliver’s Army, Radio Radio, Watching The Detectives and High Fidelity.
Other musical attractions around the city on Father’s Day include The Red Hot Chilli Peppers tribute band Richt Hoat Chillis at Whistle Binkies, on South Bridge, and Skip ‘Little Axe’ McDonald at The Voodoo Rooms, on West Register Street. Skip, who specialise in blues, dub and hip hop, has previously worked with many of the artists your dad may have flailed around dancefloors to as a teenager, such as Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaata, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, James Brown and Robert Plant.
If none of this sounds like his bag, The Edinburgh Academy Choir and Choral Society will be performing at the Usher Hall on Father’s Day in a concert featuring the music of Bruckner, Stamitz and Mozart.
The Edinburgh Short Film Festival will be celebrating its final night next Sunday so film-buff fathers can enjoy Happy Endings at The Voodoo Rooms, featuring films from close to home and far further afield. They include Tunnel of Love, a US comedy short about a relationship in trouble because of The Boss. No, not one of the couple’s bosses, THE Boss – Bruce Springsteen.
Dad jokes are pretty much up there with dad dancing, so if your dad needs some new material get him down to The Sunday Night Laugh-In at The Stand Comedy Club, on York Place. With at least five acts on the bill and entry only a fiver, that is a pound or less per comedian, and you really cannot argue with that.