New Town, Stockbridge Market & secret gardens // Edinburgh walks

25 March 2014

 Last Sunday we took another walk around Edinburgh. The weather was too good to sit at home. Close to where we live we spotted another little car, just as last week.
 We walked through New Town, admiring the architecture again. Edinburgh New Town has such an interesting history. You can read more about it on the Internet, for example here.

In short: Edinburgh used to be no more than a single street with high rise buildings on both sides which extended along the Royal Mile, with a castle propped on a rock which used to be a volcano. 35 000 of both rich and poor lived in the same tenement buildings and the city suffered from poor sanitation, overcrowding, crime and bad smell, hence it was named The Auld Reekie.  In the second half of the 18th century it was decided that the city needed a new start and a boost of its economy and New Town was commissioned. At the time it was the biggest urban development of this scale in the world, carefully planned to attract the higher social classes and offer exclusivity and a respite from the overcrowded and non-glamorous Old Town. Auld Reekie was reborn as Athens of the North.

Today New Town remains quite exclusive too and is a host to many art galleries, but it also has a few pockets of family friendly neighbourhoods (such as Stockbridge and Cannonmills)  with one of the best cafes and cupcake shops in the city. The Eastern part is more bohemian, with independent art studios, hipster cafes and galleries in Broughton street (including my favourite Edinburgh Printmakers). If you're interested, Alexander McCall Smith writes an episodic novel set in Scotland Street in Edinburgh, which is a grotesque portrayal of Edinburgh stereotypes: a middle class mother from Stockbridge who sends her child to Italian lessons, yoga, saxophone classes and psychotherapy; a painter from Drummond Place who marries an anthropologist and an art student from Marchmont  who falls in love with a narcissistic estate agent. I'm a fan of his writing, it's both charming and very funny. Highly recommended if you're looking for some light reading. Anyway, we continued our walk towards Moray Place.
 J spotted this plate on one of the houses. Yep, Sherlock was born in Edinburgh too. See that piece of metal, almost like a hook bound to the floor of the stairs? It was used to tie horses at the entrance to town houses.
 I just love those types of buildings. Note how clean the sandstone is.
 A toucan in the window.

 Note the difference between the clean and soot-covered sandstones. That's how polluted Edinburgh was a long time ago.
 Most of the buildings in New Town extend two floors below the street level. People living on level -1 (or garden level as it is described by estate agents) have patios and access to wine cellars under the streets. Naturally.
 Moray place is one of the grandest addresses in Edinburgh, built on a plan of a circle with a massive private garden in the middle, accessible only to the flat owners and tenants living there. Note that some of the windows are blocked off - this was due to a window tax. People were willing to sacrifice the daylight to avoid paying taxes as blocking off a window would save a few shillings per year. The term "daylight robbery" is often linked to the window tax although now it's debatable as to whether it was really true [source].

 A peek into the secret garden.

 We then walked downwards towards Stockbridge.

 and passed the allotments on the left hand side. I wish I could have one of those. Apparently the waiting list is 10 years long..

 It was a Sunday so the Stockbridge market was on, selling all things local and organic including gourmet dog treats ( I kid you not).

 some lovely macaroons matching my lipstick. #win

 and tartan lingerie... #normal

 there was some street food too.

 and fresh mussels..

 Floatarium is a place where you can pay £30/h and float in a little capsule of water (for real).. It was featured in one of the McCall Smith's books too.
We then walked to Affogato for some Italian ice cream and back to our neck of the woods to try a new burger place. It was one of those perfect Edinburgh days with blue skies, ideal for a long walk.


  1. jest chyba tak, że piaskowiec bardzo szybko łapie zanieczyszczenia z powietrza - nie tak dawno w poznaniu czyścili cesarski zamek - który był dosłownie czarny, a mimo to juz z bliska widać, że zdążył się przybrudzić. nie wiem po co o tym piszę, może żeby zostawić okruch niepotrzebnej wiedzy na dziś - piaskowiec się brudzi, wow.
    mamy wszystko na świeżo po weekendzie w bristolu i bath i zastanawiały mnie te mieszkania w suterenie - nie wyglądały jakby były jakoś tragicznie nasłonecznione czy cos. mieszkaliście kiedyś w takim? znacie kogoś to mieszkał? jak tam jest?

    aha, a do glasgow się nie wybieracie? glasgow ciekawi mnie strasznie.

    1. No wlasnie musimy sie wybrac do Glasgow. jest bardzo klimatyczne i zupelnie inne niz Edynburg. problem jest taki ze ja w tygodniu dojezdzam samochodem daleko (aktualnie 125km w jedna strone jesli nie chce spac w szpitalu). koniecznie musimy pojechac zanim sie stad wyprowadzimy. to troche tak jak z Lublinem w Polsce. tak blisko mamy a nigdy nie bylam w Lublinie na zwiedzanie.