The south of Edinburgh includes the Meadows and genteel residential areas such as Bruntsfield, Morningside, Marchmont and Newington. These were built up with villas and baronial tenements in the late 19th century and are the main accommodation belt for the city, for students and for visitors. To the west the area is bordered by the Union Canal and Lanark Road. To the south, the city boundary roughly follows the A720 city bypass and crest of the Pentlands.

Get in edit

Map of Edinburgh/South

South Edinburgh borders Old Town so places along its north edge near The Meadows are within walking distance, but it stretches beyond for some miles. Buses follow the main thoroughfares:

- Dalkeith Rd (A7) towards Prestonfield and Little France;
- South Clerk St (A701) towards Newington, Liberton, Burdiehouse and Penicuik;
- A702 from Tolcross towards Bruntsfield, Morningside, Comiston and Fairmilehead;
- Gilmore Place from Tolcross onto Colinton Rd.

Bus 400 from the airport circles the south edge of the city to the Royal Infirmary and Fort Kinnaird shopping centre.

See Edinburgh#Get around for using the buses.

Within about two miles of the Meadows, most parking M-Sa is residents only. The remainder is short-term, not suitable for a day's sightseeing in Old or New Town. The streets just beyond the restrictions are clogged on working days by commuter parking. Park & Rides by the ring road are at Straiton (A701 for Liberton and Newington) and Sheriffhall (A7 for Prestonfield and Newington).

See edit

  • 1 The Meadows   are the broad open park at the boundary with Old Town, open 24 hours, dogs welcome. Until the 17th century this was the South Loch, a grubby lake polluted by tanneries, slaughterhouses and breweries, yet also a public water supply. It was drained by stages to become common grazing land, then protected as a public park in the 19th century. It's now a pleasant area for strolling, sunbathing, frisbee-flipping or kicking a ball about. Tennis courts can be hired at the east end. During the Festival it hosts pop-up venues but most of the park still remains accessible. Walkways and cycleways cross to the districts of Sciennes, Marchmont and Bruntsfield. The Meadows are generally safe, though there have been assaults.
  • 2 Bruntsfield Links are the southwest extension of the Meadows. This was historically a wooded heathland, then quarried for building stone, then a leisure area for golf hence "links". You can still pitch and putt here but there's no course - the venerable Bruntsfield Links Golf Club now play at Silverknowes near the coast.
  • 3 Upright Gallery, 3 Barclay Terrace EH10 4HP, +44 7969 886183. W-F 11AM-4PM Sa noon-4PM. Small gallery of local artists' work.
  • 4 Wild West off Springvalley Gardens is a last remnant of Morningside's rootin-tootin frontier days. These were in 1995, when a store specialising in Santa Fe-style furniture thought it a good gimmick to deck out the approach alley with the facade of a cowboy town. The store has long gone so the neglect adds to the "ghost town" authenticity. Bring your own Stetson and tumbleweed.
  • 5 Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill EH9 3HJ, +44 131 668 8100. This opened in 1896 to replace the observatory on Calton Hill in New Town (which remained active to 2009 but is now an art exhibition space). The ROE is owned by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and houses the University of Edinburgh's Institute for Astronomy. Public evenings in winter are on Tuesday (booking essential) with talks and tours of the site. Talks £5.    
Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill
  • 6 Craiglockart Castle is the tumbledown stump of a 15th century towerhouse, at the entrance to Napier University on Glenlockhart Rd.
  • Blackford Hill is a steep lane to the observatory then a gentle slope on the ridge west to a radio mast and viewpoint.
  • 7 Hermitage of Braid is the most attractive part of the valley of the Braid Burn, with a firm path. Several other sections of the stream are parks: it arises on the Pentlands above Dreghorn and flows east to Duddingston, where it becomes the Figgate Burn and reaches the sea at Portobello.
  • 8 Craigmillar Castle, Craigmillar Castle Road EH16 4SY (Bus 42), +44 131 661 4445. Apr-Sep daily 9:30AM-5:30PM, Oct-Mar daily 10AM-4PM. Extensive ruin of a medieval castle, built from the 14th century and abandoned in the 18th. Here was hatched the plot to murder Lord Darnley, the inconvenient husband of Mary Queen of Scots. He was blown up at Kirk O'Field (now the site of the university Old College) and when that didn't do the job he was smothered. Adult £7.50, child £4.50, concession £6.    
  • 9 Swanston Village is a gorgeous little hamlet at the edge of the Pentland Hills, created in the 18th century and little altered since. Robert Louis Stevenson spent a lot of time here in his teens and twenties, as his parents used Swanston Cottage as a holiday home. Access by Swanston Rd (not the Avenue) and use the free car park by the golf club at the foot of the village. Paths lead into the hills. Imaginative property agents also apply the name Swanston to the housing estate just north of the ring road.
  • Caiy Stane is on Caiystane View off Oxgangs Rd near the turnoff for Swanston. It's a sandstone megalith of similar dimensions and hue to Obelix, companion of Asterix the Gaul. In the Neolithic Age it was part of a ritual complex on the open hillside, but the other stones have gone.
  • 10 Colinton is an attractive village centred on its old bridge, the medieval crossing point of the steep glen of the Water of Leith, and parish church. In the early 1900s many villas were built in Arts and Crafts style. Colinton Tunnel on the Water of Leith cycleway is well-lit, with an elaborate mural based on Robert Louis Stevenson's poem "From a railway carriage". It burrows beneath the glen slopes and is best accessed from the modern bridge, where a track leads down to a free car park.
  • Redford Barracks are the imposing buildings along Colinton Rd east of the village. The army still have a presence here but the main occupants the infantry have already moved out, and the building's future is not clear. Dreghorn Barracks a mile south remains active.
  • 11 Balerno is a village off A70 eight miles from city centre (Bus 44). It's at the head of the Water of Leith Walkway.
Malleny Garden is open daily from 10AM, April-Sept to 5PM and Oct-March to 4PM, adult £3, NTS / NT free.
  • Threipmuir and Harlaw Reservoirs are two miles uphill from Balerno, with scenic walks at the edge of the Pentlands.

Do edit

Craigmillar Castle
  • 1 Summerhall, 1 Summerhall EH9 1PL, +44 131 560 1580. Contemporary art exhibitions and event venue in a confident Edwardian building, home of Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies from 1916. In 2011 the vets moved out to Easter Bush campus, birthplace of Dolly the Sheep. See below for the distillery, brewery and pub within Summerhall.    
  • 2 The Queen's Hall, 85 Clerk Street EH8 9JG, +44 131 668 2019. Performance space for musical events across all genres. The neo-classical building was a chapel from 1824 and converted to a concert hall in 1979, with a capacity of 900.  
  • 3 Royal Commonwealth Pool, 21 Dalkeith Road EH16 5BB, +44 131 540 2100. M-F 5:30AM-9:30PM, Sa 5:30AM-8PM, Su 7:30AM-8PM. The pool was built for the Commonwealth Games in 1970, and was used again for the 1986 and 2014 games.    
  • Union Canal starts at Lochrin Basin 200 yards west of Tolcross. See Edinburgh/West#Do for its course out through Slateford and Wester Hailes, eventually to Falkirk, where it joins the Forth-Clyde Canal to Glasgow. It's navigable throughout and has a firm cycle path.
  • Dominion Cinema, 18 Newbattle Terrace EH10 4RT (100 yards north of Waitrose), +44 131 447 4771. Art deco cinema opened in 1938 with plush leather sofas for an upscale experience.  
  • Church Hill Theatre is on Morningside Rd 100 yards north of the Dominion. It stages amateur productions.
  • Water of Leith flows into the city from the Pentland Hills and reservoirs to the west. It descends through Colinton (plunging through a tunnel) to Longstone, crossing beneath the Lanark Road and the Union Canal, which vaults over the valley on an impressive aqueduct. It continues north into Saughton and Murrayfield, see Edinburgh West. There's a choice of footpaths along the valley. Firmest and driest, and suitable for cycling, is the trail along the Balerno railway, which operated 1874-1968.
  • Arthur's Seat is easily accessed from south Edinburgh, but see Old Town.
  • Golf courses are Prestonfield (see Sleep), Liberton, Craigmillar Park, Braid Hills, Wee Braids, Merchants of Edinburgh, Mortonhall, Kingsknowe and Swanston.
Swanston Village
  • Rugby: Currie Chieftains play rugby union in the Premiership, the amateur top tier in Scotland. Their home ground is Malleny Park in Balerno.
Watsonian FC play in National League One, the second tier. Their home ground is Myreside, off Colinton Rd in Polwarth.
  • 4 Midlothian Snowsports Centre, Hillend, Biggar Road EH10 7DU (Lothian Bus 4 or 15), +44 131 445 4433. M-F 9AM-9PM, Sa Su 9AM-7PM. This has a main slope of 400 m, a loop alongside, 3 nursery slopes, a chairlift and 2 tows. Equipment hire is available or bring your own. Wear long trousers, long sleeves and gloves as the dendrex matting will skin you when you fall. Some disruption as a restaurant and other facilities are being built, and limited parking.    
  • 5 Pentland Hills rise abruptly just south of the city and roll southwest for 20 miles towards Carstairs and Biggar. Of Devonian Old Red Sandstone, they're upland grazing and heath with several reservoirs and commercial pine forest. Highest is Scald Law at 1900 ft / 579 m, of no great prominence as the other hills along the ridge are of similar height. The northern half is a regional park, popular for hiking, mountain-biking and horse-riding. Multiple access points include:
- from Bonaly or Swanston by the track over Castlelaw to Glencorse;
- from A702 either from Flotterstone Inn up Glencorse, or from Silverburn to Scald Law;
- from Bonaly along the lane past Torduff and Clubbiedean reservoirs;
- from Threipmuir and Harlaw reservoirs above Balerno.

Buy edit

Ski centre on Hillend
  • 1 Scotmid Coop, 5 Leven St EH3 9LH, +44 131 229 7656. Daily 7AM-10PM. Convenience supermarket in Tolcross.
  • Drinkmonger, 11 Bruntsfield Place EH10 4HN (100 yards south of Scotmid), +44 131 229 2205. M-W 10AM-7PM, Th-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-6PM. They offer a very good selection of whiskies, wines, beers and other spirits.
  • 2 Waitrose, 145 Morningside Road EH10 4AX, +44 131 447 6899. M-F 8AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 9AM-8PM. A branch of the national supermarket chain. Free rooftop parking.
  • 3 Great Grog, 2 Dalkeith Road EH16 5BP, +44 131 667 2855. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. Independent store with a good selection of local and international beers, wines and spirits.
  • 4 Cameron Toll, 6 Lady Rd EH16 5PB, +44 131 666 2777. M-Sa 7:30AM-10PM, Su 8AM-8PM. Large shopping centre with Aldi supermarket and filling station.

Eat edit

  • 1 Susie's Vegtarian Kitchen, 27A Marchmont Rd EH9 1HY, +44 131 466 4873. F 5-8PM, Sa noon-8PM. Vegetarian wraps, burritos and burgers.
  • The Wee Boulangerie, 67 Clerk Street H8 9JG (just north of Queen's Hall), +44 131 629 3134, . M-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 9AM-3PM. Delicious French bakery for breads, croissants, baguettes and so on. Mostly takeaway but they have a few tables to sit in.
  • Chaskaa, 30 Leven St EH3 9LJ (100 yards up from Kings Theatre), +44 131 228 3838, . M-Th 2-10PM, F Sa 1-10:30PM, Su 1-8:30PM. Modern Indian restaurant, consistently high quality.
  • LeftField, 12 Barclay Terrace EH10 4HP (by Upright Gallery), +44 131 229 1394. Th 5:30-9PM, F-Su 12:30-2PM, 5:30-10:30PM. This cosy seafood bistro gets great reviews.
  • 2 Three Birds, 3 Viewforth EH10 5JD, +44 131 229 3252. Th F 12:30-2:30PM, 5-9PM, Sa Su 10AM-4PM, 5-9PM. Fine dining with a classic British menu, but almost entirely GF and much is vegan.
  • The Clay Oven, 176 Morningside Rd EH10 4PU (opposite Waitrose suprmarket), +44 131 447 9724. W-M 4:30-10PM. Takeaway offering trad Indian cuisine, fully halal.
  • Söderberg cafe-bakeries are at 310 Morningside Rd a block down from Waitrose, at 1 Lister Square behind Quartermile, and at 27 Simpson Lane on Middle Meadow Walk, all open daily.
  • Bakery Andante, 352 Morningside Road EH10 4QL (200 yards down from Waitrose), +44 131 447 8473. Daily 8AM-6PM. Small bakery chain with three other city outlets.
  • 3 Hermitage Bar, 1 Comiston Road EH10 6AA, +44 131 447 1205. Su-Th noon-11PM, F Sa noon-1AM. This pub has very good food at reasonable prices and a pleasant modern interior.
  • Voujon, 107 Newington Road EH9 1QW (corner of Salisbury Rd), +44 131 667 5046. Daily 5-11PM. Reliable North Indian / Bangladeshi restaurant.
  • Splurge at Prestonfield, see Sleep.

Drink edit

Canny Man's pub sign
  • Cask and Barrel, 24-26 West Preston Street EH8 9PZ (top of Newington Rd), +44 131 667 0856. Su-Th noon-midnight, F Sa noon-1AM. Trad pub with a central horseshoe bar, good selection of ale and whisky. No food. They have another pub on Broughton St in New Town.
  • 1 Leslie's Bar, 45-47 Ratcliffe Terrace EH9 1SU, +44 131 667 7205. Su-Th noon-11PM, F Sa noon-midnight. A trad pub with charming 1890s interior, dog-friendly, changing guest ales and a decent selection of whiskies.
  • Golf Tavern, 30-31 Wrights Houses EH10 4HR (on Links behind Upright Gallery), +44 131 221 5221. M-Th 2-11PM, F noon-1AM, Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-11PM. Good food and an outside seating area facing Bruntsfield Links. You can hire golf clubs and balls here to play on the Links.
  • Canny Man's (Volunteer Arms), 237 Morningside Road EH10 4QU (100 yards down from Waitrose), +44 131 447 1484. Daily noon-11PM. Famously idiosyncratic pub with quirky decor, excellent range of ales, impressive choice of wine and whisky, and decent food.
  • 2 Holyrood Distillery, 19 St Leonard's Lane EH8 9SH, +44 131 285 8977. Su -W 11:30AM-7PM, Th-Sa 11:30AM-8PM. Small distillery making whisky, vodka, gin and rum. Established in 2019, their first whisky went on sale in 2023. Tour £22.
  • Summerhall makes gin and whisky in the kennels of the former Royal Dick vet school east end of the Meadows, tours available.
  • Barney's Beer is a brewery within the same Summerhall building.
  • Royal Dick is a pub with food in the courtyard of Summerhall, open Su-W noon-midnight, Th-Sa noon-1AM.
  • See Penicuik for Stewart Brewery and a couple of small distilleries a mile or so south of the ring road.

Sleep edit

Budget edit

  • 1 Argyle Backpackers, 14 Argyle Place EH9 1JL (Bus 41 from Waverley), +44 131 667 9991. Mixed reviews, good facilities, definitely not a party hostel. Dorm £22 ppn.
  • 2 University of Edinburgh Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Road EH16 5AY, +44 131 651 2001. University student accommodation is available to others from last week in June to first week in September. Their main site is Pollock Halls, where you might be in Baird House, Chancellor's Court, Scholar's Hotel or Scott Hotel. They also run KM Hotel half a mile north at the edge of Old Town.    
  • 3 Mortonhall Caravan & Camping Park, 38 Mortonhall Gate, Frogston Rd EH16 6TJ, +44 131 664 3137. Clean spacious site open all year, with good facilities and buses to town. Tent £22, hook-up £30.

Mid-range edit

In the Pentland Hills
  • 4 The Bruntsfield, 69 Bruntsfield Place EH10 4HH (overlooking Bruntsfield Links), +44 131 229 1393. Traditional hotel a 15 min walk to Old Town. Pets welcome. B&B double £100.
  • 5 Southside Guest House, 8 Newington Road H9 1QS, +44 131 466 6573. This changed owners in 2022 and quality has dipped, but it's still a decent mid-price option. B&B double £130.
  • 6 94DR, 94 Dalkeith Rd EH16 5AF, +44 131 662 9265, . This 6-bedroom villa is now only available to book on an exclusive basis by the week, and no longer a standard B&B.
  • 7 Kingsway Guest House, 5 East Mayfield EH9 1SD, +44 131 667 5029. Smart friendly guest house in a quiet spot. B&B double £100.
  • Sonas Guest House, 3 East Mayfield H9 1SD (next to Kingsway GH), +44 131 667 2781, . Pleasant B&B in an 1870s villa. Parking for cars, but no motorbikes accepted. B&B double £110.
  • 8 23 Mayfield, 23 Mayfield Gardens EH9 2BX, +44 131 667 5806. Outstanding B&B with 7 rooms in a smartly decorated Victorian house. No children under 7. B&B double £190.
  • 9 Travelodge Cameron Toll, 43 Craigmillar Park, Cameron Toll EH16 5PD (on A701), +44 871 984 6458 (premium cost). Usual Travelodge chain experience, good value for what you pay. B&B double £130.

Splurge edit

  • 10 Prestonfield House, Priestfield Road EH16 5UT (on Prestonfield golf course), +44 131 225 7800. On the site of a former monastery hence "Priestfield", this was built in 1687 as a country mansion, and is now an upscale hotel with 23 rooms near the foot of Arthur's Seat. Rave reviews for comfort, service and cuisine, and it often hosts events. Wedding parties should mind where they pose, as Highland cattle graze in its grounds. B&B double £270.

Connect edit

There are internet stations and printers at all public libraries, see Edinburgh#Connect for how to access these. Branches in the south of the city are Balerno, Colinton, Craigmillar, Currie, Gilmerton, Moredun, Morningside, Oxgangs and Newington.

Go next edit

  • Most buses heading north will bring you into Old Town; many continue into New Town.
  • Roslynn chapel is in the glen north of Penicuik. Take bus 37 down Newington Rd and get off at Roslin Hotel.
  • Scenic Glencorse is up the lane from Flotterstone Inn. Take Stagecoach Bus 101 heading for Biggar.

Routes through South
Old Town  NW   SE  DalkeithCarlisle
AyrLanark  SW   NE  HaymarketNew Town

This district travel guide to South is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.