The Dickins Insider Guide to Inverleith, Edinburgh
If you head north of Princes Street and New Town, you’ll come across Inverleith. The area is known for its gorgeous, green areas with an abundance of beautiful outdoor spaces. The Royal Botanic Gardens is the highlight of the area, the second oldest botanic garden in the UK after Oxford’s. After World War II when heating Edinburgh homes was difficult and expensive, residents would often go to the glasshouses to warm up at the weekends! To help you experience (and enjoy) Inverleith as a local, we’ve put together an Insider Guide to Inverleith. Let’s begin!
9am: Tea and Coffee
There are various options with regards to your morning cuppa in Inverleith. First, situated at the East Gate entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh on Inverleith Row, you’ll discover a quaint cottage which houses the East Gate Lodge & Coffee Bar. Pop in for a cuppa and perhaps a light snack. Another option within the Royal Botanic Garden is The Terrace Cafe. Additionally, if you find yourself nearer Cannonmills, Coffee Angel (24-27 Brandon Terrace) is popular spot amongst locals. Lastly, if you’re keen to get out exploring, grab a to-go coffee from MILK’s coffee shack and Out of the Box (coffee & events) in Inverleith Park.
10am: Morning Walk through Inverleith Park
After your morning cuppa, you’ll be ready to head out and start exploring Inverleith and its surrounding area. Where better to start than a gentle stroll through Inverleith Park. The park is a brilliant spot for dog walking, running, tiring out children (there’s a great play park) and watching the ducks and swans on the pond. Plus, it boasts fantastic views of Edinburgh Castle.
12pm: A Scrumptious Lunch
After all the walking, you’ll no doubt be ready for a delicious lunch and we’ve selected a couple of wonderful options. To start with, Blue Bear Cafe (9 Brandon Terrace) is known for their delicious all-day brunch options! The Water of Leith Cafe Bistro (1 Howard Street) is located next to (you guessed it) the Water of Leith walkway. The family-run business boasts lovely views over the river which makes the cafe the perfect place to sit back and relax and enjoy a hearty breakfast or lunch. Additionally, The Bluebird Cafe (5 Canonmills) is a Tennessee-inspired cafe with locally sourced Scottish produce. Lastly, The Gateway Restaurant (The John Hope Gateway) is part of the Royal Botanic Gardens and if you’re visiting on a sunny day there’s the option to sit outdoors on their outdoor decking area where you can enjoy the stunning scenery while enjoying fresh dishes prepared on the premises by Johnathan Scott and his team.
1pm: Explore the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
With over 70 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, we could easily spend a whole day wandering around the Royal Botanic Gardens! If you don’t have a whole day, a few highlights are the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden, Chinese Hillside, and Inverleith House (which often has art exhibitions). Once you’ve explored the grounds, why not take a wander through their glasshouses. Access to the gorgeous Temperate Palms glasshouse (built in 1858), the lower section of the Temperate Lands glasshouse and the Aquarium is free. However, if you’d like to explore all their glasshouses there is an entrance fee for adults of £6.50 but children go free!
*Some spaces at the Gardens have been limited or closed due Covid-19, so please check their website for latest details and book your visit ahead of time.
A Spot of Independent Shopping
Inverleith doesn’t have a vast array of independent shops, however, there are a few lovely local shops dotted around the area, such as the bookbinder and bookseller The Gently Mad (Inverleith Row) and Marshmallow Lady (14 Rodney Street) who specialises in gourmet marshmallows. Plus, if you’re in the mood for a spot of antique shopping, why not drop by Martinez Antiques (17 Brandon Terrace) and Duncan & Reid Antiques & Books (Inverleith Row). Lastly, if you’re looking to treat yourself or someone else to a lovely bunch of flowers, head along to Fioritalia Florists (6 Rodney Street).
If you’re still looking to do a little more shopping, we’d recommend taking a short walk to Stockbridge. Where you’ll find a fantastic range of independent shops, charity shops, and gift shops. Check out our Stockbridge Guide for more info.
4pm: Take in a Show
Unfortunately, there are no cinemas or theatres in the Inverleith area but doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fun evening out! During the summer months, the Royal Botanic Gardens hosts an outdoor cinema and if you’re visiting during December, keep an eye out for the Royal Botanic Gardens annual “Christmas at the Botanics” light trail.
6pm: Dinner & Drinks
If you’re staying at one of Dickins’ self catering properties, you have the wonderful option of heading home to cook up a lovely meal and enjoy a relaxing night in. However, if you’ve had a long day you may prefer to dine out and if that’s the case there are several fantastic options.
Located at 1 Howard Place, Orchard Bar & Restaurant has a cosy pub feel to it and serves up hearty, well-made food. If you fancy being a little adventurous, why not visit In Touch (8 Inverleith Avenue) for Indian food or Loon Fung (1-2 Warriston Place) for delicious Cantonese cuisine. Lastly, One Cannonmills (1 Canonmills) modern pub/restaurant who are passionate about using local producers and seasonal dining. Moreover, they are dog-friendly too!
Where to stay in Inverleith? Eildon Street
Light and bright with pops of colour, this two bedroom home lies just off Inverleith Row, so the Royal Botanic Gardens are close by. The ground floor apartment is peaceful and wonderfully homely.