Edinburgh: Duddingston

For those of you, as yet not so well acquainted with the grand old city of Edinburgh, there is a good chance that you may not have heard of one of its particularly special secrets.

Tucked away behind the mighty Arthur’s Seat, Duddingston Village is a charming and historic neighbourhood, often forgotten about even by the most seasoned of dedicated locals.

You can stumble across it quite by accident, of course. As many tourists, and locals alike, often tend to do. A jolly jaunt on a Sunday afternoon through Holyrood Park can quickly land you in quaint and romantic surroundings that, much like your mother’s cooking, feels both fresh and achingly familiar, all at once..

For some, it may be ‘Out of sight, out of mind’. But, for us, it’s most definitely more a case of ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’.

You will find no shopping malls here. No cinema multiplex or, even, lines of quirky independent stores. This humble spot is one of the oldest villages in all of Scotland and it has retained much of its classic authenticity.

However, that does not mean that there is nothing at all here for you to explore. Quite the opposite, in fact. Duddingston is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Edinburgh and we’re going to tell you exactly what we think you should be looking out for, whether you’re looking to visit for a single day or, potentially, settling in for much, much longer.

So, what are we waiting for?

It’s time to go on an adventure!

Duddingston Loch: Edinburgh is a glorious walking city, with plenty to keep the eyes and heart filled with glee and measured pride. However, if you’re really looking for the crème de la crème of peaceful sightseeing within the local area, you’d be hard pressed to get much better than Duddingston Loch. Perfect for a quiet stroll, some casual nature watching and even a picnic (when the weather allows), this is the only surviving freshwater loch in the city of Edinburgh. It was also once an extremely popular place for skating! You may have heard of the painting The Rev. Walker Skating On Duddingston Loch (aka The Skating Minister) by Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 – 1823). You can find it on display at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. An icon of Scottish culture.

Duddingston Kirk: Since you’re out and about, why not pay a visit to one of the oldest churches still in use in Scotland? The church has had many famous attendees throughout its historical existence, such as the likes of Sir Walter Scott. Step back in time and investigate its marvellous architecture or even join in a guided tour (available by appointment) or attend a beautiful Sunday service. And, if you’re feeling a trifle parched after all of that walking? Try their Garden Room cafe for some light refreshments and a tasty bite to eat! A heavenly treat if ever there was one.

Dr Neil’s Garden: For those of you who love the great outdoors, you really are spoiled for choice in this lovely old village. If you fancy just a little bit more of that tranquil, soul fueling magic, then look no further than Dr Neil’s Garden. Open Monday to Sunday, 10am until 5pm, this hidden diamond has such breathtaking charm, that we think you’ll visit it again and again. Founded in 1963 by two doctors, Andrew and Nancy Neil, this immaculately presented oasis of calm has been delighting visitors, more or less, since its conception. Though modest in size, the views from its fringes over Duddingston Loch give the impression of a paradise far beyond its borders. So, if you’re feeling a tincy bit glum, or just craving a moment of solitude and an opportunity to recharge your batteries, then this is the place you. 

Sheep’s Heid Inn: Speaking of places to recharge your batteries, why not unwind in what is an absolute legend here in Edinburgh. The Sheep’s Heid Inn was established way back in 1360 (yes, you read that right) and is the oldest pub in the whole of Scotland. Visited by the late Queen Elizabeth II back in 2016, this gorgeous bar and restaurant has attracted quite a crowd over the years, with other famous patrons including Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Bonnie Prince Charlie, just to name a few. So, what are you waiting for? Come on down, pull up a pew and soak in all of its incredible history. The food is tasty. The drinks are vast and fruity…Oh, and there’s also a bowling alley. Yes, a bowling alley! We know you don’t believe us. And we don’t blame you. You’ll just have to pay the old Sheep’s Heid a visit and see it all for yourself. We’ll catch you there!

Duddingston Golf Club: If your idea of relaxing isn’t kicking back in a bar or restaurant, but something a bit more active, then a spot of golf might just be the ticket. Established in 1895, Duddingston Golf Club is one of the most respected courses in the country and a perfect place to improve your swing and get to know some of the locals a little bit better. With great views of Arthur’s Seat and a welcoming club house, you’ll feel right at home here in no time. A golfing treat.

Duddingston might not be the first place you think of when you decide to visit or live in Edinburgh. As we said at the beginning, you might not have even heard of it. 

But don’t dismiss it so easily. Take a walk, admire the gardens and enjoy a drink at the Sheep’s Heid Inn…You’ll be glad you did. And, yes, you’ll most definitely be back.

From everyone here at Belvoir Edinburgh, we hope you all have a fantastic week