The West End and Dean Village

The West End is the name given to the western fringe of the New Town – the area neighbouring Edinburgh Haymarket railway station.

The area has a similar charm to the New Town, and is fringed at its northern edge by Dean Village, quaintly perched in the gorge valley of the Water of Leith.

The West End is an upmarket area in the west of New Town where most of the consulates and embassies are located. There you will find the very best contemporary, independent and stylish boutiques as well as excellent restaurants, pubs and bars.

It’s a much loved place for the locals who enjoy the trendy atmosphere of the area.

Next to the West End is Dean Village, a picturesque and peaceful neighbourhood by the Water of Leith. It’s worth a visit! It feels like stepping back in time with its 17th century houses and bridge. Explore the area by walking on the path by the river. If you go southwest, you will be taken to the Scottish National Galleries of Modern Art; if you take the northeast direction you will reach Stockbridge which is another trendy area better known by locals than tourists.

Visiting this part of town makes one forget how close the centre is. Nature is so abundant here! The green areas and the river make it feel like a countryside village but with all the conveniences of a big city such as excellent restaurants, cosy cafés and stylish bars.

Edinburgh is perfect to explore by foot so if you got to Stockbridge, take Arboretum Avenue (north) to the Royal Botanic Garden, a lovely place to visit any time of the year. Admission is free. The cafés and shop are definitely worth a visit.

Across the road from the Botanic Gardens is Inverleith Park. From there you will have beautiful views of the Edinburgh skyline. This is the place where the locals gather during the New Year’s celebrations because of its incredible views to the Edinburgh Castle.

Another nice place to visit, although it’s not opened to the public (but you can have a quick stroll around), is Fettes College. On the west end of Inverleith Park, it’s a magnificent building! Fettes is an independent school founded in 1870 and is where Tony Blair studied.

If you need to go back to town but have already walked your fair share, most of the buses (if not all of them) heading south will take you back to the city centre (New Town). Just make sure you have change for your bus ticket fare (price in 2012: £1.40 one way/adult) and that you are going to the right direction (south).

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