Leith lies less than two miles from Edinburgh – a town as exciting as the Capital city but with a character all of its own. As Scotland’s prime port for several centuries, its relationship with the sea has been close and tumultuous, its fortunes rising and falling like the tides.
Along with the phenomenon of the last decade’s renewed respect for almost lost cultural and architectural treasures, fresh pubic awareness has brought about rediscovery and rebirth of the historic gateway to Edinburgh. A sparkle has returned to the very fabric of the place and the restoration of the grand classical buildings, the fine Georgian terraces and Victorian warehouses. New businesses have moved into Leith and enterprising restaurants and bars have brought back bright lights and optimism to The Shore.
In Leith, are architectural glories , often comparable to Edinburgh’s much-celebrated buildings two miles away but altogether distinctive . For Leith was the home and workplace of practical people – merchants and stevedores, shipbrokers and maritime lawyers, shipbuilders and ship’s chandlers. People who lived by the sea.
Everywhere in Leith there is still the salty whiff of a port which has traded with the Baltic, The Low Countries,France, The Mediterranean, The East and The Americas
It was never plain sailing for the Leithers, whose history is characterised above all, by struggle;
Leith had the strategic position as the first line of defense of the Capital city. The town participated in often tumultuous events of Scottish history and resounded to the pomp of royal landings down the centuries, as Kings and Queens paraded from The Shore through the Tolbooth Wynd, The Kirkgate and on to Edinburgh Castle or Holyrood Palace. Leith was often looted and burned to the ground; the armies of France and England occupied it for years on end.
The Burgh of Leith became part of the Capital city in 1922. Now the tide is turning after a time of neglect by the Edinburgh councils and a new tale of Leith is being told.
Come and enjoy the sense of history – Walk in the footsteps of seafarers among the varied and historic architecture of the town, Stroll along the Water of Leith pathway to experience nature or visit the Royal Yacht Britannia in Ocean Terminal.