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As one strangely named storm follows another battering the country, we naturally like to cheer ourselves up with wishful thoughts about leisurely walks in the sun when spring finally decides to appear.
As many visitors are naturally drawn to city centre attractions and the mysteries of the Old Town and the Castle, I want to talk about a surprisingly little-promoted attraction just a mile or so north from 28 York Place, namely Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden.
There you can discover a natural history which now celebrating a 350 years anniversary, and walk around 70 acres of beautiful landscape in the heart of the city. The best time to visit the gardens is obviously in springtime, as nature comes to life. However, even now if we ever get a rare dry day, the trees may not be in leaf and you will get stunning views across the rooftops of the New Town and up to the Castle and the High Street.
Getting there is easy, and you can also enjoy a beautiful walk. Take a left when you leave 28 York Place and then take a leisurely stroll down bohemian Broughton Street, before crossing the imposing London Street. Keep to the left-hand side and sweep around the elegant curve of Bellevue Crescent, with the tower of Bellevue church at its heart. If you glance across the road you will see the local Drummond High School. This was actually the site of the city’s first zoo in the 1840’s.
Carry on down the hill and you come to Canonmills, crossing the bridge over the Water of Leith, before passing the architectural gem of Warriston Crescent (dating back to 1807) on your right then and stylish villas and terraces of Inverleith Row (dating from the 1820’s). This is all part of a wider conservation area that includes the ‘Botanics’ and the neighbouring Inverleith Park.
Entering the East gate at Inverleith Row, you can then enjoy walking through one of the world’s leading botanical gardens and all that it has to offer.
To get more details on the countless things to see and do at the ‘Botanics’ visit their website.
Once you have enjoyed your time you can then amble through Inverleith Park, down to the famous pond, the home of the Edinburgh Model Boat Club (established in 1920) then back through upwardly mobile Raeburn Place to Stockbridge, where if you are doing this walk on a Sunday, you can visit the weekly market.
Then to recharge and refresh, stop at the Bailie just across the road from the market, one of Edinburgh’s most renowned pubs. The site of a hostelry since 1870, the Bailie is little changed since its current incarnation in 1972, and it is the home to excellent cask ales, wines and freshly cooked meals.
Appetite satisfied, you can walk back through the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town; through Royal Circus, up Howe Street, along Great King Street to Drummond Place and then up Dublin Street until you finally reach the west end of York Place. This stroll is perfect in the spring sunshine, and you can then retire to our bar at 28 York Place and recount your journey with us.