The Shore, Edinburgh

The Shore in Edinburgh is surely one the most charming former harbour areas in Europe. It’s a pleasant mix of old and new, as the former warehouses and sailor housing sit beside modern apartment blocks boasting balconies with a view.

The riverside pathways along the Water of Leith provide for a leisurely afternoon’s stroll but most people head to The Shore for its restaurants and bars. Indeed, some of the finest seafood in town can be enjoyed here at The Ship, Fishers and other gastronomic gems.

cruz shore edinburgh

Since The Shore is a little rough around the edges (see the photo below), many people wouldn’t expect to find Michelin starred restaurants here but there are a few, which have inspired the nickname Michelin Mile.

It’s also known as the media and communications hub of the city. Expect to meet many hip young media professional types at any of the many delis at lunchtime. See the boats on the river? Some of them are advertising agency offices!

near the shore edinburgh

To get to The Shore, either walk down Leith Walk, continue along Constitution Street and turn left at Bernard Street, or hop on Lothian buses nr 22 or 16 in the centre of the city. I’d recommend the walk as the contrast between the Kirkgate area you pass along the way and The Shore is remarkable.

nobles bar edinburgh

The Shore bar recommendations:

Noble’s for its beautiful setting with wood panelled walls, stained glass windows and vintage furniture. A fabulous and very affordable menu featuring lots of seafood. Live music nights.

The King’s Wark for a traditional pub experience, fireplace, stone walls and all. Excellent pub grub and seafood.

Roseleaf for its cosy interior, cocktails in teacups and lovely nibbles and meals. It also boasts a selection of hats which you can borrow for a Mad Hatter’s tea party!

Bond no9 for sophisticated cocktails and wine. Set in an old whisky bond, this is a place to impress a date. Also great for brunch.

Teuchter’s Landing is set in a former waiting room for the Leith to Aberdeen ferry. It boasts a large selection of whiskies and for little more than £1 punters are welcome to try a single oyster. I had my first ever here, with wasabi!

Please leave your recommendations in the comments section below.

the shore edinburgh the shore edinburgh

Challenge of the day: Can you guess what this great big blue device was once used for? (Answer at the bottom of the page)

miss red shore

Answer: This is/was a whale harpoon. Whales were hunted for their blubber which was used to produce oil.

Cramond

Cramond is a village, beach and island tucked away in the outskirts of Edinburgh on the shores of the Firth of Forth with views towards Fife. By foot it can take up to two hours to reach this somewhat remote side of town, but by bus (Lothian route 41) it’s a matter of thirty minutes or so. Many people, including us, seem to opt for walking one way and bussing it the other, or hopping in the car, of course.

cramond beach

The quickest route to Cramond from our side of town (Leith and Canonmills) led us past the Botanic Gardens, across Ferry Road and straight ahead towards the Firth. Once at the Firth, we veered to the left and kept walking as close to the water as possible. It’s not the most beautiful of routes as it snakes right through an industrial area, but there’s a certain charm to this too. Authentic Scotland has many sides to it!

On a grim day the water and the sky are the same colour. Fortunately, things brighten up a little once you reach the recreational area surrounding Cramond Beach. Kids and dogs love playing on the green parkland.

cramond island crossing

If you’re lucky and reach Cramond during low tide, you can brave the narrow walkway which leads across to the island of the same name. Rumour has it a fair few raves have been thrown on the island with people literally forced to stay awake and party until the tide goes down.

We missed out this time as the tide was most definitely high. It was also too windy to make it across safely. This is something to watch out for! Be sure to respect the warning signs and double check the safe crossing times before getting stranded and having to call the coastguard for help.

cramond village

Once you feel you’ve had enough of Cramond beach life, have a well deserved pint at the local pub. Cramond Inn lies in the heart of the village and is everything you’d expect from a village pub. A blazing fireplace, refreshing pints and warm bevvies are just what the doctor ordered after a day out on the chilly Scottish coast.

Leith Walk, Edinburgh

cafe casablanca edinburgh

As a resident of Leith Walk, I feel like a citizen of the world. Within a ten minute radius from my flat, I can savour most flavours of the world. There’s a huge selection of exotic shops, delis and restaurants on this, the most international street in Edinburgh.

I love it and wish more people would appreciate it instead of slagging it off as being “scummy” and “dangerous”. It may not be the most polished of streets but it’s so lively and multicultural. There’s never a dull day on good old Leith Walk with its international community from all walks of life.

Fancy a Turkish meal tonight? Or perhaps you’d prefer some Polish food? Take your pick from my wee list of recommendations and head on down to Leith Walk. Bring a carrier bag!

russian baltic food edinburgh

Russian Baltic Food may boast the ugliest shop front and shop on Leith Walk, but their selection of pelmeņi (dumplings), biezpiena sieriņi (chocolate coated cottage cheese snacks), booze and other goodies more than make up for it.

Seriously, people have asked me whether the shop’s been designed to replicate a Soviet era supermarket! Were it not for the well-stocked shelves, I’d be inclined to say yes… Also, the service is great. Take cash as card payments aren’t accepted. And watch out for the old goods that get sold at sale prices 🙂

chinese supermarket edinburgh

Pat’s Chung Ying is more than just a Chinese supermarket. Thai, Japanese, Korean and other goods are available too. Shelves full of sauces, pickles, rice wine, spices, noodles, rice and fresh vegetables. The freezer section is amazing and it’s never easy to choose from the vast selection of frozen dumplings. Woks, pots and crockery also in stock.

Taste of Poland is a one-stop shop for all your Polish food needs. It’s quite a recent addition to Leith Walk with a well-stocked counter of fresh meat and cheese, as well as fridges for dairy products and “ready meals” such as pierogi or dumplings and bigosz or sauerkraut. You’ll also find staple foods like buckwheat and gherkins on the shelves.

mediterranean supermarket edinburgh

Akdeniz Mediterranean Supermarket brings a ray of sunshine to Leith Walk. Rummage among the shelves to find olives, honey, couscous, spices, tinned sauces, dolmades, hummus, paneer cheese, baklava and oh so much more. They also have a Halal meat counter and piles of exotic fruit and veg.

qupi leith walk

Qupi is a hidden gem towards the bottom of Leith Walk which looks like any other neighbourhood cafe from the outside but serves up amazing, fresh Greek mezze. For £12, two people can enjoy a mini feast of dips, feta and spinach pie, and marinated veggies. Lovely interior with numerous plush chairs to sink into. Gorgeous toilet too!

Silver Bowl – Our trusty local Chinese and Thai food takeaway. Quick and friendly service, really tasty meals for the price, and huge portions. You never have to wait long. It’s always clean and usually has at least two customers waiting in line, which I take as signs of quality.

Khushi’s – An Indian restaurant at the very top of Leith Walk, officially on Antigua Street. Touted as one of Edinburgh’s best Indian eateries. Funky interior, mouthwatering curries and a BYOB policy. The first place I ever tried fish curry, and absolutely loved it.

Los Cardos – Who doesn’t love a neighbourhood tex mex? Huge burritos so you have to work up an appetite before visiting Los Cardos. Choose from various fillings, including haggis. Vegetarians are also catered for, hurrah!

There are a number of Italian delis and restaurants on Leith Walk, as well as Polish cafes. Kebab shops are ubiquitous.

Now, bon appetit! Go and discover Leith Walk, Edinburgh’s most multicultural “neighbourhood”.

Arthur’s Seat in the Wind and Rain

You haven’t experienced the “real” Scotland until you’ve found yourself completely drenched to the core and on the verge of being swept over by the wind. Fortunately, the weatherman makes this a very achievable goal.

Arthur's Seat Edinburgh

Throughout the year, he has a nasty way of tricking people into believing the day will be drenched in sunshine rather than rain. Alas, then he changes his mind and you find yourself teetering on the edge of a mountain (or a less extreme location if you’re lucky!) as the raindrops/hail stones slap your face and the wind howls eerily around you.

Yesterday I found myself perched precariously on the summit of Arthur’s Seat in the wind and rain which is such a usual occurrence in Edinburgh. At least I wore wellies in preparation for a muddy hike. I’d recommend you follow suit or wear hiking boots on any given day.

And by all means don’t attempt to reach Edinburgh’s highest peak whilst wearing a white coat and pretty city boots. This is just one of the numerous inappropriate outfits spotted on the mountain trails that day.

I admit to wearing a very silly hat which I almost sacrificed to the wind gods, as well as bringing a hand bag which really should have been a practical rucksack. Ok, so the coat wasn’t ideal either… You should really only venture up there in a wind and rainproof jacket.

arthur's seat wind rain

A word of caution overheard on Arthur’s Seat: In the stormiest of weather, some hikers have had to be plucked to safety by Mountain Rescue having climbed only halfway up the mountain! So, sometimes the “real” Scotland is best experienced from the comfort of a local pub, cradling a glass of whisky.

Berwick-upon-Tweed Is Nearby

berwick upon tweed bridges

Berwick-upon-Tweed may now be a part of England, but has historically also been a part of Scotland so I thought I’d find a place for it here on the blog. It’s just a hop and a skip (or a 40 min train ride) away from Edinburgh after all, on the east coast route to London.

The small town is just the right size for a day trip with potential for an overnight stay too (it being January, our budgets didn’t stretch that far). Berwick is nestled on the estuary of the River Tweed, its best known landmarks being the three bridges that cross the river alongside each other.

tweed river walk

We rambled along the banks of the river admiring the bridges and scenery but soon surrendered to the endless pools of mud. Wellies are the only way forward here!

berwick upon tweed beach

The beach, pier and Magdalene Fields golf course were a much drier route so we spent most of our afternoon mucking around there. Beware the rather treacherously high tide! Also, be careful while walking along the pier in high winds.

A word of advice: don’t visit Berwick during low season. We found most places of interest were closed from October to April and there were no boats departing for the nearby Holy Island or Lindisfarne, which we’d been most looking forward to. The Barracks, Conundrum Farm and Chain Bridge Honey Farm were closed. In town, the Saturday market was a letdown, only selling cheap clothes.

Sadly, the town square’s been taken over by pound shop style establishments and charity shops. Of course, there’s also the inescapable chain coffee shop. Among these are a couple of bakers and butchers, which I do hope will survive.

berwick public toilet ticket

One of the most amusing moments of our day was a visit to the public toilets which requires you to purchase a ticket… from a machine!

To eat: You can’t claim to have visited a British seaside resort without having eaten fish and chips, complete with a dollop of mushy peas, of course. So we recommend tucking into the absolutely humongous portions on offer at the Cannon restaurant on Castlegate between the railway station and the town centre. As you’d expect so close to the seaside, the fish is cooked to order.

berwick fish and chipsFortunately, working up an appetite isn’t difficult in Berwick with its winding coastal and riverside walkways.

To drink: We found the only pub to be busy on a Saturday evening was the local Wetherspoon’s, The Leaping Salmon on Golden Square. Although we would have preferred a cosy local establishment, at £2.99 for a double whisky we weren’t complaining.

(Top 3 photos by Rihards Andrusko)

Edinburgh’s Mews & Lanes

Carlton Terrace MewsEdinburgh is home to a fair few hidden gems, many of which are its gorgeous mews and lanes. Only a select few are lucky enough to live in these quaint cul-de-sacs and alleys, and you can tell from the cars parked there that they’re among Edinburgh’s elite.

Royal Terrace Mews

My personal favourites are Carlton Terrace Mews, Royal Terrace Mews, Circus Lane and Dublin Meuse. They’re conveniently located within walking distance of each other so exploring them makes for the perfect leisurely weekend adventure.

Circus Lane

Just a few of the things that make these Edinburgh secrets so pretty are the chimneys, multi-coloured doorways and windows, potted plants and the overall super safe and cosy vibe. You get the feeling everyone knows everyone here. They’re like wee villages in the heart of Edinburgh where no one’s going to pinch your laundry if you leave it out overnight.

Edinburgh's mews and lanes

If you know of any mews and lanes I simply must explore, point me in the right direction won’t you? Thank you.

Water of Leith Walkway, Edinburgh

water of leith walkway signThe Water of Leith Walkway snakes through Edinburgh unbeknown to many of its residents, let alone visitors. Unsurprisingly, it runs alongside the Water of Leith, the city’s main river which flows from the foot of the Pentland Hills to the beautiful Shore area of town, where it joins the Firth of Forth.

Tucked in among the luscious greenery of Edinburgh, the Water of Leith isn’t a wide river, nor is it long but, rumour has it, is home to a fair few fish and is a favourite among water birds.

In its entirety, the Water of Leith Walkway runs just over 12 miles. Personally, my favourite stretch of the path is the Stockbridge to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art route taking in the gorgeous Dean Village along the way.

water of leith walkway style

Soon after joining the path in Stockbridge, you’ll come across St Bernard’s Well, a temple-like, 18th century structure formerly used to pump magical mineral water from deep within the ground.

Within the temple stands a statue of Hygieia, the Greek goddess of Health. Although closed to the public most days, you can enter the building on special occasions such as the annual Doors Open Days.

(Note: St Bernard’s Well is currently being renovated)

Dean Bridge

Further along, passing under the imposing Dean Bridge is both terrifying and amazing. The 19th century construction with its four arches spans high above the river at more than 30 metres, casting shade across the path down below. It’s chilly here, so be wise and wear layers.

Just past the bridge, the views across Dean Village are astonishing. In fact, this is one of my favourite parts of Edinburgh. I don’t know many cities that offer an escape to the countryside in the heart of the city, so peaceful and quaint is the atmosphere here.

Dean Village

From there on, it’s just a brief walk passing by a waterfall to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art where exhibitions change regularly and there is a cafe on site for refreshments.

water of leith walkway styleThe path tends to be damp and muddy in certain parts, making it the ultimate Edinburgh destination to show off your designer wellies, woolens and raincoat. Indeed, expect to see plenty of fashion-conscious families and couples come out to play at weekends. Think Barbour, Hunter and other famous British country brands.

Trusty old benches line the path for those keen on picnicking, resting tired feet or even a wee snooze. They also make for the perfect setting for a cosy canoodle!

If you visit on a Sunday, make sure to stop by one of Scotland’s farmers’ markets in Stockbridge, open from 10am to 5pm on the corner of Saunders and Kerr Streets adjoining the river. Grab yourself a warm drink to enjoy en route.

Currently undergoing renovation along some parts, route diversions are in place in the Canonmills area, near the Gallery of Modern Art and elsewhere along the way. Look out for signs showing you the way.

– Red