Top Up and Walk: Portobello Promenade
Approx. Distance: 2.2 miles
Paw Scale: 5/5
Positioned pretty much in the middle of the two-mile long Portobello Promenade, top up from the tap and enjoy a host of activities and attractions in the area.
For those more adventurously-minded, there’s wild swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking and sailing in the sea, while the Promenade is a mecca for joggers and cyclists – all of whom can now easily rehydrate on the go.
But for those who like an easier pace, the Promenade – with its broad walkway and growing number of pubs, coffee shops and eateries – is perfect for grabbing your reusable bottle and strolling along as you enjoy the sounds of crashing waves.
Head east and in just 40 minutes – first passing the Portobello Baths (one of only three remaining Turkish Baths in Scotland) and hugging the coast as you pass through Joppa – you’ll reach Fisherrow Harbour and the start of Musselburgh. Head west and in two miles – passing the site of former Portobello Outdoor Pool where Sean Connery was once a lifeguard and for dog owners, perhaps stopping for a famed liver cake for your pooch at the Crumbs stand – you will find yourself at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, which has been welcoming lost and abandoned pets since 1883.
Portobello – voted the best neighbourhood in the UK at the 2020 Urbanism Awards – has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years; so what better time to head away from the beach and discover more of the community.
Head up Bath Street to Portobello High Street and take in the ever-expanding range of independent niche shops, such as – The Velvet Easel Gallery, The Portobello Bookshop, Two Sisters and Harry’s Gourmet Dog Treats; or see what it’s like to have a traditional local butchers – Findlay’s – and greengrocer’s – Root Down. Foodies will never be short as the High Street is home Bross Bagel’s flagship unit, as well as Greek Artisan Pasties and the eagerly-awaited new Ameila home-made pasta shop.
Come on the first Saturday of every month, and there’s popular Portobello Market in Brighton Park.
If you want a deeper dive into the area’s history, log onto the Portobello Heritage Trust and work out a route to review the sites and clues to how Portobello became industrialised in the 19th century, manufacturing bricks (“Portobello brick”), glass, lead, paper, pottery, soap and mustard.
Although the Promanade is brilliant for dogs, it can get very busy. Alternative options close by are Figgate Park, which boasts an impressive array of wildlife and fauna, and the National Trust’s Newhailes House and Gardens, which has an enclosed collections of many paths and walkways.
Finally, and of course the most obvious attraction of all, Portobello’s biggest draw is its beach. Since the early 1800s, people have been coming to Portobello Beach to escape the city and to enjoy the golden sands – and hopefully the sunshine.
So for your next visit, be sure to pack you bucket and spade – and your reusable water bottle.