The Dickins Insider Guide to Fountainbridge, Edinburgh
Fountainbridge is a short distance from Edinburgh’s city centre and was home to one of Edinburgh’s most famous sons, Sir Sean Connery. Connery was born and raised in Fountainbridge, starting off as the local milkman before going on to star as the world’s most famous secret agent, James Bond, but he never forgot his roots. He founded a film production company and called it Fountainbridge Films.
Originally, Fountainbridge was a densely populated industrial area, benefiting from the excellent transport links provided by the railway and Union Canal. Nowadays, it’s home to Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre and forms part of the city’s business district after undergoing a large scale redevelopment. A main feature of the area is the tranquil and picturesque Union Canal, which is a popular spot with locals.
9am: Tea and Coffee
You’ll be spoilt for choice with regards to your morning cuppa, as Fountainbridge has a great selection of cafés and coffee shops. Tucked away at 105 Fountainbridge is the charming and cosy Fieldwork, who serves up fresh homemade treats and wonderful tea and coffee. If you’re near Morrison Street, Cafe MILK is a must visit for fabulous teas and coffees and a great spot for breakfast/brunch. If you fancy something a little quirkier or are visiting with your family, why not pop into Noughts and Coffees, which is a fun board game cafe! Lastly, if you’re keen to get out exploring, grab a to-go coffee from Wee Coffee Bar and The Counter on the Canal.
10am: Morning Walk along Union Canal
After your morning cuppa you’ll be ready to get out there and start exploring Fountainbridge and where better to start than Union Canal – one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems which many tourists miss. Union Canal was conceived in 1793 as a direct route for the people of Edinburgh to access cheap sources of coal from the West and it ran successfully until the 1960s when it fell into disrepair. However, in 2001, Union Canal reopened as part of the £83.5m Millennium Link – the largest canal restorations anywhere in Britain. Nowadays, it’s a popular route amongst local commuters, cyclists, and runners.
We recommend spending your morning wandering partially down Union Canal and enjoying its serene atmosphere and extremely picturesque scenery. Don’t forget to bring your phone or a camera to capture its beauty!
12pm: A Hearty Lunch
After all the walking, you’ll no doubt be ready for a hearty lunch and we’ve selected a couple wonderful options. To start with, Loudons Cafe is extremely popular amongst locals and we can see why. Peaceful and spacious surroundings coupled with a menu which is crammed with mouthwatering options, you can’t go wrong! Cafe Klaris (142 Morrison Street) is located near the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and is a great place to enjoy a bowl of homemade soup. Lastly, Piece X Piece (103 Fountainbridge) is a recent addition to Fountainbridge, and is the ideal place to grab a healthy to-go meal – they even offer vegan options!
Be on the Look Out for…
Be on the look out for Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith’s quote set in stone in a wall on Ladyfield, near the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. It reads: “This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.”
Also, you may pass by these distinctive arches which are the only remnant left of Edinburgh’s Meat Market. The Edinburgh Meat Market opened in 1884 and its striking arches were designed by reputable city architect Peter Henderson. Henderson’s smart, classical façade featuring a pair of expertly sculpted bull heads quickly became an intriguing focal point of the street.
1pm: A Spot of Independent Shopping or a Trip to the Spa
Fountainbridge doesn’t have a vast array of independent shops, however, there are a few local shops dotted around the area, such as Stampers Grove (an independent arts and crafts store), L’amour Gift Shop, and Nanna Flos Bakery. But, if you’re looking to do a little more shopping, Fountainbridge is centrally located and only a short walk away from fabulous areas for independent shopping. If you’re a book lover, head along toward the Grassmarket and you’ll pass a range of independent bookshops (Mainpoint Books, Edinburgh Books, Armchair Books) and vintage clothing stores (Herman Brown, Godiva, Armstrongs). Another fabulous area, within walking distance from Fountainbridge, is Bruntsfield – check out our Insider’s Guide to Bruntsfield, Edinburgh.
However, if you’d rather enjoy a massage, the brilliant One Spa is located within the Sheraton Hotel off Lothian Road and is guaranteed to ease the stresses and strains away. It is the best spa in Scotland and they have an outdoor heated pool and a state of the art thermal suite.
4pm: Take in a Show
If you feel like catching a show or a movie, you needn’t stray too far, as there are several theaters near Fountainbridge. First, located at Fountain Park, Cineworld offers a range of movies with the option of IMAX and 3D. A short walk will bring you to Lothian Road, where you’ll find The Cameo and The Filmhouse, both are comfortable art house cinemas, which shows independent and mainstream movies.
If you fancy a live show, there are several fantastic theatres near Fountainbridge. There are few places in Edinburgh as grand as the Usher Hall and the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Both theatres sit directly next to each other and with a variety of different plays, concerts, and comedy shows, there’s bound to be something fun to see.
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 9A Fountainbridge, BURGER. creates delicious (you guessed it) burgers with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Also, scroll down to see their incredible milkshakes! The Jolly Botanist (256-260 Morrison Street) is an award wining Gin Bar which also serves up a fantastic menu. If you’re in the mood to try something different, Ola Kala Greek Grill & Deli (202 Morrison Street) might be the place for you. Despite its small size and humble appearance, the restaurant is welcoming and serves up authentic Greek food at great value for money. Shebeen is one of Edinburgh’s best steakhouses and you can expect delicious locally sourced South African food. Lastly, ISHKA (83 Morrison Street) is one of the latest additions to Edinburgh’s vibrant restaurant and cocktail scene offering up a contemporary and sophisticated dining experience.
Where to stay in the Fountainbridge? 93/6 Morrison Street
Decorated with pops of colour, this two bedroom home on Morrison Street has a stylish contemporary feel and Morrison Street is a great central location in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge. The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is directly opposite this home. There are several great cafes and restaurants on Morrison Street and around the area including Milk, Loudons and Shebeen. Haymarket Station where you can catch trains and the tram is a very short walk away and so is Princes Street.