Walk into Town

This walk takes around 45 minutes, more if you take your time and enjoy the sights on the way. Numbers on the map are kilometre markers.

Turn right from the house and head up to the end of Fraser Crescent. Turn left into tree-lined Boswall Drive and continue to the main road.

There’s nothing of real note in this first 5 minute section of your walk.

Turn left onto Ferry Road and continue to Arboretum Road on your right, crossing the road at the traffic island

Before crossing the road, you will have your first view of Edinburgh’s skyline beyond the Stewart’s Melville playing fields. On the far left is Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s ‘inner-city mountain’. The 523m extinct volcano is often cited as one of the possible locations for Camelot, the legendary castle of King Arthur. To the right, rising from the skyline, is Edinburgh Castle. The original castle, built on a plug of lava thrown from Arthur’s Seat, was built in 629 by Edwin or Northumbria, and has been a fortification ever since. Today it is also the venue for the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Again to the right and in the distance is Edinburgh’s own mountain range, the Pentland Hills.

Turn right into Arboretum Road and continue down the road to mini roundabout.

On your left you’ll pass Edinburgh Academy School. Founded in 1824 the independent school has several notable former pupils.

Continue on, using the pedestrian crossing.

While at the crossing, look to your right. At the end of the road is Fettes College – founded in 1870, it is an independent boarding school. In fiction, James Bond attended Fettes after being expelled from Eton! And in the real world, Fettes was attended by Tony Blain, former British Prime Minister.

After a couple of hundred metres, on your left, is the Royal Botanical Gardens.

If you have time on your hands at this point, a meander around the gardens is worthwhile – entry is free.

After another couple of hundred metres, the road bears left. At this point turn right, following the sign to Stockbridge.

There is a footpath on the river side of the fence if you want to get a bit closer to nature.

This part of the route runs parallel to the Water of Leith. This river starts in the Pentland Hills and runs for 18 miles all the way through the city to Leith and at one time powered several mills along its route.

At the T-junction, turn right along St. Bernard’s Row, passing the ‘no-through road sign.

After a few minutes you will reach Stockbridge.

If you have time, stop off to look around the shops, have a coffee or sample some of Edinburgh’s fine ales, such as Deuchar’s IPA.

Turn left up through Stockbridge, over the pedestrian crossing, past Café Nero and continue up until your reach Mellis Cheesemonger.

The cheese shop is well worth a visit.

Continue on, past The Baillie pub.

Treat yourself to a beer or coffee in The Baillie. The name comes from the old Scots title for a local government officer.

After passing the Bailie pub, cross the road to the pharmacy and turn right up the steps beside the post box. Climb the steps turning right at the top into India Street.

There is a simpler way to reach town, but I think this route is more interesting.

Continue up India Street until you reach West Jamaica Street on the left.

You are now in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. By the middle of the 18th century, Edinburgh was becoming chronically overcrowded and a competition was held in 1766 to design a new town to the north of the city. The winner was James Craig, who created an ordered grid of wide streets, befitting Edinburgh’s gentry!

Pass Kay’s Bar and continue on through the modern building, passing through a number of pretty courtyards until you exit at Jamaica Street.

Another chance for a refreshment. Kay’s is one of many well-known Edinburgh pubs, but this one is unusual in that it is hidden away in the back streets of the New Town.

At the end of Jamaica Street, turn right onto Howe Street and continue up the hill, passing Queen Street Gardens on your right.

Almost there…..continue up the hill, crossing Queen Street and on to Frederick Street. At the top of Frederick Street is George Street – and the centre of Edinburgh.

Ready for another refreshment? The Standing Order is a converted bank selling a wide range of food and drink.