Portobello is what is known as ‘Edinburgh’s Seaside’.
Historically a town in it’s own right but now a popular suburb in Eastern Edinburgh, Portobello is one of the most desirable places in Edinburgh for families to visit and live. Historically Portobello was a town specialising in brickworks and the Kilns at the seafront still remain to this day. In the Victorian times, Portobello grew in popularity with trams bringing people from Edinburgh and a railway (initially horse drawn and later steam), bringing the people of the Lothians and Glasgow to the seaside. The popularity remained for many years where in Portobello you’d be free to visit the Promenade & the Pier, where you’d find a number of amusements on offer including funfairs and donkey rides. The Turkish Baths & Swimming Pool, and an Outdoor Swimming Pool – both initially filled with water filtered from the sea – were also extremely popular during Portobello’s peak in tourism. The Promenade and Turkish Baths & Swimming Pool still remain to this day and prove to be a popular attraction with both locals and visitors but the Pier was demolished in 1917 during World War 1 and the Outdoor Swimming Pool which closed in 1979 and was too demolished in 1988.
The very East of Edinburgh, right on the shore of the Firth of Forth. Easily accessible by the frequent Lothian Bus services from the City Centre, with the number 26 always being a safe bet there and back. Portobello is also easy to drive to via the A1 and it marks the start of the coast road from Edinburgh, right along the coast of East Lothian.
Places to Visit
Whether it’s for the amusements, the volleyball or open water swimming, a cycle or a leisurely walk, Portobello Promenade is a wonderful place to be. If you plan to visit the beautifully sandy beach on one of Edinburgh’s rare sunny days, be there early to secure your spot as on the nicest days of the year the beach turns into a sea of people! That’s not to say it can’t be enjoyed right through winter too.
Tumbles Gymnastics and Softplay
If you have kids, Tumbles is the place to be! The multi-story soft play is sure to tire out the most active of children on a rainy seaside day. More often than not you’ll also catch your wee ones watching the gymnastics displays on the floor below, all whilst you enjoy a coffee and enjoy the sea views.
Places to Eat & Drink
For good grub, you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere as delicious as Foresters Guild. Located at the West of Portobello High Street, Foresters was once your typical ‘old mans pub’ but after a recent rejuvenation, it is now a trendy bar with a quaint little beer garden to the rear, which serves some of the most delicious food you’ll find this side of town. The Pulled Pork Sandwich and Fish & Chips are always a winner!
If you are lunching with kids, there’s no better place in Portobello (and perhaps Edinburgh) than Reds. A typical looking cafe from the High Street exterior but with a soft play hidden up the back, it’s the perfect place for wee ones who can’t sit still through an entire meal. Simply let them run riot before their food is ready and by then they’ll have worked up an appetite to tuck into the fantastic children’s menu they have to offer. Not only is the cafe well equipped for younger patrons, it also has some beautifully fresh food to offer. Top tip – book a table ahead during the school holidays!
If it’s for a tipple of the alcohol variety, then The Espy is the place to be. Perfectly located in the middle of the Promenade, The Espy has a fantastic cocktail menu, as well as great wines and beers to offer. All which can be enjoyed on one of their many tables on the Promenade. They also do a decent burger and have a lovely breakfast menu too.
And of course, if you visit the seaside, fish & chips in a must! You’ll find the best fish & chips in Portobello on offer from St Andrews which is a short walk from the beach, on the East End of the High Street. They do also have a sit in restaurant if the weather doesn’t allow for fish & chips on the beach but just be prepared to queue on those sunnier days.