Louise’s Column – Issue 65

Posted by in June's Magazine

I can’t help but smile as I watch a plane tracing the sky en route to the airport. A familiar, comforting sight from our window, one that we’ve become accustomed to over the last seven years of living in Leith. We are off to France in a few weeks, so I’m relieved that the ‘volcanic ash’ has settled down. The experts tell us that the volcano is no longer emitting any ash – but for how long? Some say that it could continue to erupt for 20 years! So, it’s either a case of quickly booking that flight to somewhere sunny while you still can, or simply giving into the latest craze – the ‘Staycation’, holidaying at home. Two weeks in sunny Leith. Is it even possible? Well, I’m here to assure you that it is, if that’s what takes your fancy of course. When do you really get the chance to experience Leith? Especially if like most of us you work all week, now is your chance.

My top tips for holidaying in Leith:
Walking: Leith is an ideal base for walking. If you just want a nice stroll in the sunshine, why not walk along the Water of Leith, and if you have enough puff continue all the way to the Botanic Gardens where you can have a picnic by the rockery or take a journey through warmer climes by visiting the Victorian Glasshouse.



Local history: Leith has so much history. The whaling industry was a big deal in Leith’s past and you can read all about it as you wander along the Water of Leith, close to Malmaison, where you can see a relic of the whaling era, a harpoon gun. Trinity House Maritime Museum is also a must see. (See article on page 9.)

The beach: Okay it’s not quite Leith, but Portobello is only a five-minute bus or car journey away, or a 35-minute walk, if you’re up for it. A beautiful stretch of beach with a busy esplanade, Espy and The Beach House are close by at the foot of Bath Street – great places to stop for lunch (order the nachos in Espy – you’ll not eat again for a week!).

Painting holidays: Yep, you can actually do this in Leith. The new gallery/art shop on Henderson Street, Ritchie Collins Gallery, offers painting classes in the summer months, as does Out of the Blue on Dalmeny Street.f

Wining and dining:
Need I say more…we’ve got a whole gamut of places to visit – from small family-friendly places like the Waterfront Bistro on Coburg Street to Michelin star establishments like The Kitchin, Martin Wisharts and The Plumed Horse. We’re totally spoilt! I’ve always fancied the tasting menu at Wisharts, which is only available weekday lunchtimes so ideal if you happen to be on holiday. If you don’t indulge too much in the wine – it can set you back from as little as £27.50 for the Du Jour Lunch or £65.00 for the six course tasting menu. Being on holiday also means you can beat the after-work crowd to the bars on The Shore if it’s a sunny afternoon. It’s probably the only time you’ll get that table right outside The Shore Bar.

Live music: Most of the pubs host live music in the evenings but then you usually have to get up for work the next day. So, get out there and have a ball. You’re on holiday! Check out the ‘What’s On’ pages of The Leither but Thursdays and Sundays are usually a good bet for live music at The Iso-Bar and Carriers Quarters on Bernard Street.

Festivals: We have our own Leith Festival of course, 11-20 June. The Gala Day, 12 June, kicks off the Festival this year with Polish DJs, Tug O’ War and the usual Taylor’s Fun Fair for all the family. There is also the Mela, 6-8 August, a multi-cultural festival of music, dance and drama, taking place this year on our very own Leith Links.

Kids in Leith: The festivals, the Fun Fair, the beach are all fun for kids too, but let’s not forget an afternoon at the movies or letting them make their own pizza at Giuliano’s.

So if you do find yourself having to holiday at home, don’t fret – there’s plenty to do. There are also some clear benefits to trading your holiday on the Costa del Sol for the sunny shores of Leith: It can cost a lot less (as long as you don’t dine out in Michelin starred restaurants every other night); you can feel good about supporting your local economy; it’s certainly more eco-friendly; and, you get to experience Leith in a completely new light.

Happy holidays!

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