Although possessing a somewhat exaggerated reputation for seediness and crime in recent decades, Leith has been undergoing a major revival since the 1980s with many of the district's problems gradually being resolved. It is now a vibrant community, with a wealth of shops, pubs, restaurants, parks and community events. The relatively low cost of buying or renting property compared to some other areas of Edinburgh, combined with excellent transport links, has led to Leith playing host to immigrants from all over the UK, Europe and the world and it is therefore one of Scotland's most cosmopolitan communities.
Leith is located to the North of Edinburgh. The two are most directly connected by Leith Walk, which runs from the East End of Princes Street into Leith.
Follow Leith Walk from the east end of Princes Street, enjoying the wide range of different shops along the route.
A more peaceful walk between Edinburgh and Leith follows the Water of Leith Walkway, which can be picked up at Dean Village (close to West End), Stockbridge or Canonmills (both on the north side of the New Town). The walkway is indicated by brown direction signs featuring a water wheel logo. For most of the route the river is flanked on one or both sides by woodland, and it's often hard to believe you're in a major city. There are brown trout in the river and birds including the Grey Heron and Kingfisher can be seen.
Leith is connected to the city by several bus services operated by Lothian Buses, the local operator.
Bus services 7, 10, 12, 14, 16, 22, 25 and 49 travel down Leith walk from Edinburgh centre.
Service 22 serves Ocean Terminal (the location of the Royal Yacht Britannia) from Princes Street. Service 36 connects the Weat End to Leith, via Stockbridge.
Connecting with the airportThe Lothian Buses Skylink 200 provides a fast direct link between the airport and Ocean Terminal via the northern parts of Edinburgh. The complete journey takes slightly less than 1 hour.
The Lothian Buses Skylink 300 replaced the Lothian Buses 35. Its destination is also the Ocean Terminal in Leith via the southern parts of Edinburgh and the Royal Mile/High Street (city center), but the complete journey takes much longer than the Skylink 200 (around 100 min for the complete journey).
Prices are identical for both Skylink 200 and 300. From the airport, one-way tickets cost £4.50 and an open return tickets costs £7.50. Regular city fares apply (£1.60 for a single ticket) if your final destination or starting point is not the airport. In any case, you have to pay the driver with the exact fare.
The Lothian Buses Airlink (Service 100) is also an option that takes you as far as the New Town, but from there you have to switch to another service travelling down Leith Walk. The prices are the same as with the Skylink, but you have to pay extra for the second bus. This service, however, runs 24 hours, so might be the only option if you arrive or leave at night. See the main Edinburgh page for more details on this service.
The nearest train station is Edinburgh Waverley. Leith's own station became derelict in the 1970s & 80s, and a notorious haven for drug addicts, and this inspired the title and a key scene in Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh.
address: Ocean TerminalDecommissioned from royal use and voted one of Edinburgh’s best new attractions, Britannia offers visitors the chance to tour the royal apartments and view a selection of the many gifts offered to the royals by dignitaries worldwide.
6 TimesSix life-sized human figures by world-renowned artist Antony Gormley have been installed in 2010 in and along the Water of Leith, between the National Gallery of Modern Art and the sea at Leith Docks.
address: 21 Hawthornvale, EH6 4JTWorkshops, exhibitions and a cafe in an old fire station,
Watch football ie soccer at address: Albion Place EH7 5QGHibernian FC ("Hibs") play in the Scottish Premiership, the top tier of Scottish football. The all-seater stadium, capacity 20,000, is at the south edge of Leith, a mile or so east from Edinburgh Waverley station. Buses 1 & 35 run down Easter Road but there are more down Leith Walk just west or along London Road (A1) just south.
Water of Leith WalkwayWalk or cycle along the Water of Leith. The route starts from the harbour and follows the river right through the City to the suburb of Balerno, on the edge of the Pentland Hills. The walkway is indicated by brown direction signs featuring a water wheel logo. For most of the route the river is flanked on one or both sides by woodland, and it's often hard to believe you're in the heart of a major city. There are brown trout plus a dozen other species of fish in the river and birds including the grey heron, goosander, dipper and kingfisher can be seen along the banks. If you're very lucky you may see badgers or otters.
- Fishing (Angling) is possible along most of the length of the Water of Leith. Permits are required, and can be obtained free of charge from the City Council offices at Waverley Market in the New Town and Cockburn Street in the Old Town. Most Fishing Tackle shops throughout the city can also provide permits.
Vueaddress: Ocean Terminal, LeithLarge multiplex cinema.
Leith FestivalTakes place in June every year at venues all around Leith. Art, comedy, dance, drama, film, and music.
Edinburgh MelaThe is a multi-cultural festival, largely based around South-Asian traditions. The festival takes place on Leith Links, a large park to the east of the foot of Leith Walk.
Leith Late FestivalAnnual arts and music festival (in June) in venues along Leith Walk and in Leith.
address: Dock Place, EH6 6LUA variety of producers sell their local products all year round.
address: Ocean DriveA huge undercover shopping centre at with many of the usual High Street chain shops (Debenhams, Gap, Top Shop, Waterstones, etc.) and one or two more unusual options, plus bars, restaurants and a multi-screen cinema.
- Leith Walk joins Edinburgh to Leith, so the top half is in the New Town, and the bottom half is in Leith. Leith Walk has an amazing variety of independent shops. Locals claim there is nothing you can't buy somewhere on Leith Walk (even if it's illegal!). Have fun trying to prove this wrong!
phone: +44 131 467-7775address: 276 Leith WalkExcellent local bike shop with a range of bikes, spares and accessories. Repair shop in the back and a hire service starting at £12 for a half-day hire or £17 for a full day.
Gamesmasterphone: +44 131 555-5188address: 287 Leith WalkSecond-hand video games. All the recent titles but it's the retro games that will really excite gaming fans in this good-value box of delights.
Hing Singphone: +44 131 554-4333address: 310 Leith Walk, EH6 5BUFood items from across south-east Asia, as well as some crockery and cooking utensils. Great for those hard-to-find ingredients but even items also stocked by the mainstream supermarkets are usually significantly better value here.
phone: +44 131 554-4344address: 3a Albert StreetNot quite a restaurant but definitely more than a cafe, Word of Mouth offers breakfasts, coffees and sandwiches, along with some more substantial hot options. The deal where you pick 5 options from the Mezze menu for £15 and get a bowl of chips thrown in is a great option for a value lunch for two. You might find it hard to resist spending another couple of pounds on one of the broad range of home baked cakes to follow it though - if you can fit one in. Free WiFi and even the gent’s toilets have interesting decor. It's probably a good thing they don't have rooms or you'd never want to leave!
phone: +44 131 554-7427address: 1a Dock PlaceLeith outpost of the popular local "a room in..." chain. Lovely waterside location and a focus on good quality Scottish produce and friendly service. The chefs can sometimes take experimentation too far but usually the Scottish Fusion cuisine is spot on.
phone: +44 131 554 5666address: 1 The ShoreTraditional and unassuming restaurant that consistently delivers quality food specialising in seafood. Exceeding expectations, the Fishers Bistro rarely disappoints.
phone: +44 131 554 5272address: 1 Commercial StreetFamily-friendly Italian restaurant. Huge menu — you can't fail to find something to tickle your fancy. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. Popular for all kinds of occasions from kids birthday parties to hen nights or just a good old get-together with friends. Consequently can sometimes be a wee bit noisy on occasion.
phone: +44 131 467-7266address: 30 Sandport StreetLovely little family-run Italian restaurant. Seasonally changing menu so you can always be sure of the freshest of ingredients here.
phone: +44 7527 634 964address: 16 Henderson Street, EH6 6BSThe chef prepares food from South Tyrol such as dumplings and apple strudel.
address: 54 The ShoreOne for a (very) special occasion. Leith's first Michelin Star. The food and service are both outstanding.
address: 78 Commercial QuayA couple of hundred yards from Leith's first Michelin star, here is its 2nd. Established in 2006, it has racked up several awards.
Leith has a huge number of places to drink, from traditional pubs to modern style bars. The list below is just a selection.
phone: +44 131 554-9260address: 36 The ShoreOne of the oldest buildings in the whole city. Check out the walls which are literally feet thick. Excellent traditional pub by the water. Good range of real ales and whiskys. The food is good too, as is the staff’s banter.
phone: +44 131 554-9999address: 23 Commercial StreetOne of the longest established of Leith's many "Style Bars". Manages to combine trendy decor with a friendly, neighbourhood feel.
phone: +44 131 554-7427address: 1c Dock PlaceRecent addition to the popular aroomin/Teuchters mini-chain. Located in a former cruise liner waiting room. Lots of outside tables by the water so a great choice for a sunny afternoon.
phone: +44 131 554-3451address: 87 Giles StreetThe home of the Scottish Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) and only open to members and their guests. Located on the first floor of Edinburgh's oldest commercial building, the main members room manages to be opulent and impressive, while still remaining relaxing and in no way snooty. The SMWS bottle single malt whiskys at cask strength. Each bottling is from a single cask and is therefore unique. If you like whisky then its well worth befriending a member and getting signed in! Also serves a range of quality bottled beers, a small wine list, and complementary tea and coffee, plus good food. Live music last Sunday of every month.
phone: +44 131 554-5824address: 284 Bonnington Road, EH6 5BEA wee bit off the beaten path, but very handy for those staying at one of the many B&Bs along Pilrig Street and Newhaven Road. Guilty Lily is a friendly neighbourhood pub with a penchant for dressing up and a sideline in great quality food. Live music every Friday (free).
phone: +44 131 555-7019address: 65 Henderson Street, EH6 6EDOne of a chain of trendy Swedish bars to appear in Edinburgh. Sofi's is situated close to the Water of Leith near the Shore.
- Try beers from Leith's Pilot brewery.
phone: +44 131 554-6559address: 180 Ferry RoadFamily-run B&B with 14 rooms, all en-suite. Evening meals available. Free secure car parking.
phone: +44 131 555-4422address: Britannia Way, Ocean DriveModern and comfortable. Friendly service with free hot breakfast every day and free public area WiFi. Good location next to the Ocean Terminal shopping centre.
phone: +44 131 554-2721address: 9 Western Harbour BreakwaterWaterfront serviced apartments. Beautifully located with good transport links to city centre.
phone: +44 131 468-5000address: 1 Tower PlaceBoutique waterfront hotel, in the centre of the old part of Leith.
phone: +44 131 553-7394address: 2 Western Harbour, MidwayModern, stylish contemporary serviced apartments 4 miles for Edinburgh's city Centre.
phone: +44 8701 977 093address: 51-53 Newhaven PlaceEverything you'd expect from this chain. Located a wee bit to the west of Leith itself, but still handy enough and on plenty of bus routes.
phone: +44 7841 471294address: 97 Ocean DriveOnly open in summer (around end of June till end of August). Beds available in 12 bed mixed dorms. Linen, WiFi and lockers included.
phone: +44 131 529-5517address: 28-30 Ferry RoadPCs with free broadband internet access.
phone: +44 131 529-5636address: 2 McDonald RoadOver 20 PCs with free internet access.
Post OfficePost Offices are available at the following locations
- 119 Ferry Road.
- 135 Great Junction Street.
- 6b Constitution Street.
- 207a Leith Walk.
- 210 Newhaven Road.
- BBC Leith Microsite.
- The Leither. Slightly irreverent (like its catchment area!) Leith-centric magazine with news, listings, articles, reviews etc. Free. Pick up the latest edition from shops, bars and cafes throughout Leith, or read it online before your visit to get a flavour of what will be happening when you get here.