Beneath the Surface: Revealing More About EH4
Familiar place names often evoke a slideshow of landmarks in the mind’s eye, coupled with sensory memories of living or visiting a place. For instance, any conversation about New York City will likely bring up snapshots of yellow taxi cabs, hustle and bustle, tall skyscrapers, and a city that never sleeps. The same is true of Edinburgh and its wonderful neighbourhoods. Comingled with the images of Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyrood, the sights and sounds of the Royal Mile, are the quiet walks through Stockbridge and along the Water of Leith, relaxing or picnicking in Inverleith Park, and the charming quaintness of Dean Village.
The Water of Leith is one of the most sensational geographical aspects of living in the EH4 area. Beginning in the Pentland Hills and coming to Edinburgh by way of Balerno, the waterway traces and flows through Edinburgh for nearly twelve miles before emptying into the Firth of Forth. The most beautiful and iconic section of the Water of Leith curls around Stockbridge and Dean Village. This is easily one of the most peaceful and lovely ambles to explore in Edinburgh and as a resident you’ll find that it offers a sense of detachment from the noise of city life; one is aware of being in a city but this stretch of path is so tranquil and picturesque that it fosters a feeling of having stumbled across a sleepy hamlet.
Following along the Water of Leith through Dean Village brings you to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art buildings. These two buildings stand gracefully on either side of Belford Road with an eye-catching sculpture park and landscaping. Nearby is Belgrave Crescent, a fantastic sweeping crescent packed with Victorian townhouses that use bold architectural elements including canted bays and balustrading.
Just along the road, betwixt the Dean Gardens and along the Water of Leith, is St Bernard’s Well. Worth a visit, the well was erected in 1789 over a natural spring famed for its healing power. The building over the spring contains a statue of Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health, while the pumphouse beneath is adorned with blue and gold mosaic and is a copy of the Temple to the Sybil at Tivoli. The Edinburgh gem was furbished in 2012 as part of Edinburgh World Heritages’ Twelve Monuments Project.
There is no shortage of characterful streets and pockets of EH4. Any shortlist must include Ann Street, for a gander at traditional Georgian properties, tree lined Ravelston Dykes, Learmouth Terrace for great views of the skyline that include the iconic Fettes College building, and South Learmouth Gardens for its fantastic central garden with easy access across the city. As a Blackhall resident, one will quickly be enamoured of the close-knit community, excellent schools, and convenient location. For splendid traditional mews homes, don’t miss out Sunbury Street’s Belford Mews.
Taking in the architecture and the neighbourhood’s beauty is not all that EH4 residents have at their fingertips. There is always something on at the Modern Art museums, including great programmes tailored for kids, and the Stockbridge Market on a Sunday attracts a well-deserved crowd. The splendid expanse of Inverleith Park offers sweeping views across the city including the castle. The large park with its grand main walking boulevard boasts sporting activities, a playground, tennis courts, and a pond. At the weekends, the Model Boat Club meets at the pond, which was actually constructed in the 1890s as a purpose-built model boat pond!
When living in EH4, don’t forget Crammond beach and Crammond Island! Crammond has a lovely sand beach popular with families and dog walkers. There is a café along the beach, or one can venture to the Crammond Inn pub, with fantastic views on a clear day from the beer garden. For those more adventurous, walk over the ¾ mile causeway at low tide to Crammond Island, with its rich Roman archaeology and WWII military defences and emplacements.