Leith/Leith Walk

Choose life. Choose Leith.

Ask somebody brought up in Morningside where they are from and they will likely tell you that they are from Edinburgh. Ask someone brought up in Leith where they are from and they will tell you that they are from Leith.

Welcome to the most interesting, fashionable and iconic neighbourhood in all of Edinburgh.

If you’ve read Irvine Welsh’s classic novel, Trainspotting, you might think that Leith was an area to keep well clear of. A former vital port of Edinburgh, the area began to crumble as its primary function settled into retreat. A reputation took shape, inescapably exacerbated through the vile exploits of Renton and the gang, and its desirability as a place to call home was all but non-existent.

But, oh, how the times have changed.

These days Leith is barely recognisable from the descriptions lent to us in the seminal 1993 novel.  In fact, in 2018, Leith was named in a leading travel magazine as one of the top 50 coolest city neighbourhoods in the whole world!

With Leith Walk being an exciting and eclectic bridge back over to the east end of Princes St, this entire area is now an easily accessible, standout planet of utter, unstoppable cool.

What on earth happened? What is it that makes this place now such a remarkable and striking place to be? What has it got to offer?

Relax, friend! It’s okay. We were just getting to that.  Look below. You see that? That’s a massive heap of joyous information that we have put together just for you. You’re welcome… Oh, and make sure to read to the end. There might just be a secret tip hiding for you there.


When it comes to things you can do, there is a wide variety of activities here for you to get stuck into, rain or shine. Yes, there are excellent bars, restaurants and cafes. We’ll get to all of that later. Leith, like all areas within Edinburgh, has its own very unique set of attractions and we think that you are going to fall head over heels for them all.

The Royal Yacht Britannia, the former floating palace of Queen Elizabeth II, has consistently been named Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction by national tourism agency, Visit Scotland, and is the jewel in the crown of Edinburgh’s majestic outfit. With a tour available and a fabulous Royal Deck Tea Room to sample home-made food and stunning views, this really is the best of the best when it comes to visitor experience. All aboard!

Custom House on Leith’s Commercial Street is an events venue and the oldest custom house in Scotland. Built in 1812 and sitting proudly on the tip of the Shore, this excellent building is now used by creative people to explore and display their work. If you’re the artistic sort and are looking for a spot to show you’re stuff, you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere quite like this. Utterly unique.

The Water Of Leith Walkway is a path of over 12 miles, often frequented by locals and tourists alike for a bit of exercise and well-earned escape. With stunning scenery and a vast range of wildlife, this popular walk and cycle route flows from the Pentland Hills all the way down to the Port of Leith, where it empties into the sea via the Firth Of Forth. Beautiful all year around, this magical place will never let you down if you need a bit of a spiritual boost. Get your boots on! We’re going on an adventure!

Trinity House Maritime Museum has an astonishing collection of treasures that simply has to be seen to be believed. You will have to pre book to get a tour and it’s not open all of the time, but if you get the opportunity to visit this historic building and all of the maritime history that it contains, you’d be well advised to do so. Fascinating.

Coffee & Cake

What better way to start the day is there than with a shot of caffeine and a bit of a bite to eat? In fact, scratch that. What better way to spend ANY part of your day is there than with a shot of caffeine and a bit of a bite to eat? We in Edinburgh love our coffee shops and, if you want to spend some time down at Leith and Leith Walk, you will never have to worry about missing out on your daily fix.

Café Praline is tucked away near the bottom of Leith Walk and is an utter gem of the area. Nice and relaxed, this place is especially good if you have a particular taste for cakes. They are incredible! Washed down with some great coffee and a real chilled out atmosphere, there is really nothing negative at all to say about it. Practically perfect in every way.

Qupi Café Bistro takes us to the Mediterranean and Greek side of life and brings that Sunshine On Leith that we all need from time to time. The coffee is really superb, but this is really all about the food. Healthy, bright and full of flavour, if you’re after a change and fancy some authentic tastes of the Med, then get yourself over to Qupi. You will not regret it.

Printworks Coffee on Constitution Street is a lovely coffee spot and a top favourite of those who live close by. With some super soups and food so pretty you just want to cry, cafes like this can be few and far between. So be sure to take advantage of this charming little number. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Hideout Café has another store over in the Old Town, but we think that this one is particularly worth a look.  After admiring the inviting exterior, step into the bright and vintage inspired indoors and you’ll think you’ve stepped into café heaven. Everything looks just totally delicious! We didn’t take a nibble at the chairs, but we bet even those tasted good.  Just go.


You might well think that shopping in Edinburgh really belongs up on Princes St, but you’d seriously be missing a trick if you didn’t venture down this end of the capital in search of some treats. Ocean Terminal is as good a place as any to get all of your high street brands. And there are plenty of great independent crackers to choose from too!

Destined For Home has a collection of superb gifts that will be great when your last minute Christmas panic buying hits fever pitch. With truly unique items and some great home ware treats to jazz up your new dwellings, this Leith smasher will have you coming back over and over again. One of the areas true impressive independent stores.

Topping & Company Booksellers of Edinburgh is a superb independent bookstore on Blenheim Pl that will utterly blow your socks off. Not only do they cover a broad diversity of subjects, but they also offer complimentary tea and biscuits! Can you think of any other place that does that? We can’t. An absolute master bookstore.

Kestin was made to put style on the modern man. With their products designed in Edinburgh, you know that what you’re getting here is the real deal. Top quality, good looking and evoking that cool minimalistic style, why would you bother going anywhere else, guys? If looking good is what you’re all about, look no further. That’s right, gentlemen. We’re bringing sexy back.

Canderson’s Sweet Shop on Leith walk is there to make you happy. It can be quite hard to come across a good old fashioned sweet shop these days, but Canderson’s is here to satisfy that childlike sweet tooth of yours. With a rainbow of goods to get your chops around, what more is there really to say?

Bars & Restaurants

Is there a more appealing place to drink and dine in the entire capital that down at Leith Waterfront? We highly doubt it. In fact, both Leith and Leith Walk are alive with choices when it comes to wetting the whistle and feasting on fabulous cuisine. Here’s a quick snap of where we think you should start, but don’t hesitate to investigate yourselves. The Leith bars and restaurants are some of the best in Edinburgh.

The Kitchin is one of the most well-known restaurants around and has a reputation for absolute excellence. You will probably recognise the Chef owner Tom Kitchen from his various television appearances, but it is the food here that truly deserves all of the attention. Using French techniques on Scottish produce, the restaurant’s philosophy “From Nature To Plate” reflects the love and care that goes into everything this place is all about. A triumph from start to finish.

Fishers boasts beautiful harbour side views, but that still only comes second to what they serve on a plate. Serving luscious seafood caught locally, anyone who loves their grub fresh from the ocean will most certainly have heard the name. The building is iconic and the experience dazzling. Get some tasty mussels to share! Go on. If you don’t, that would be shellfish…Sorry.

Nobles Café Bar & Restaurant  has got a brunch to absolutely die for and the biggest challenge you’ll face, apart from choosing from the spectacular menu, is trying to not spend the entire day here. Fantastic for just having a drink or a full throttle meal, this top quality bar/restaurant is a firm favourite with the locals. With a cosy vibe buzzing throughout the graceful Victorian building, this award winning number will be sure to comfort you for many days and nights to come.

Teuchters Landing  could be our front runner when it comes to places to enjoy a quiet sip on a lazy Saturday afternoon.  Sitting outside isn’t always an option in the Scottish climate, but when the sun is out there is really nowhere else we would rather be. Serving class food as well as a vast drinks selection, this is the sort of pub that other pubs get jealous of. A classic.

And our secret tip?

The Pitt has been very popular for some time, but is still little known even to those that have lived in Edinburgh all of their lives. An independent food and drinks market, this vibrant weekend treat is a must to visit for all the family if you are at a loose end. Street food, beer vendors and a rich atmosphere make The Pitt one of the hippest and hottest happenings around. Go for it. Leap in.

Choose life. Choose Leith.

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