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Water of Leith Walkway: My Secret Summer Escape in Edinburgh

Take a walk along the Water of Leith which runs from Leith to Edinburgh in Scotland. Discover Water of Leith walkway access points and St. Bernard’s Well which is famous for its mineral waters.
We're Edinburgh Fringe fanatics, but even the most devoted festival-goer needs a breather! This summer, we traded the crowds for a calming stroll alongside the Water of Leith. 

This 13-mile waterway winds from Edinburgh to Leith, and we explored two scenic stretches of its walkway: Stockbridge to the historic Dean Village, and Leith to a peaceful spot near Bonnington (easily accessible by bus). 

Here are eight highlights from our refreshing warm weather walk - a perfect way to experience a different side of Edinburgh in the Summer.

Stacked stones in the Water of Leith in Edinburgh

1. Sweet Treats and Cheeses in Stockbridge 

Stockbridge is a quaint neighborhood about a 20 minute walk from Edinburgh's New Town. The Water of Leith runs right through the heart of town. Come to Stockbridge if you want to eat well. 

There are plenty of restaurants and artisanal coffee shops along the high street. We sampled a delicious fruit danish and coffee at Söderberg Stockbridge, a Swedish inspired coffee shop. We also stopped into I. J. Mellis Cheesemongers to pick up supplies for our walk. 
The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Shops in Stockbridge

2. St. Bernard's Well

Strolling along the water from Stockbridge, we soon came upon Bernard's Well. Famous for its mineral waters, the current structure was raised in 1789. 

The building is usually closed except for special occasions but it adds great atmosphere to the walk along the Water of Leith.
The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - St. Bernard's Well

3. Sandwiches by the Riverside

We ducked down a flight a stairs to the water's edge for a makeshift picnic lunch. We'd selected mature cheddar and onion jam sandwiches pressed into a panini from I.J. Melis Cheesemongers. It was very zen having a bite and listening to the water gurgle past.
The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Riverside

4. Steep Steps

Continuing along the path through a deeply forested area, we encountered a steep set of stairs and headed down toward water's edge, an air of mystery surrounded us as we wondered what was in store at the other end and hoping we wouldn't find a dead end and have to climb back up :-)
The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Steep Stairs

5. Waterfalls and Runes

Fortunately, the stairs led us along the Water of Leith toward Dean Village. We passed a waterfall and then small piles of rocks (dare I say runes?) dotting the middle of the water. How did they get there and why? It remains a mystery but looks really cool.
The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Waterfalls and Runes

6. Beautiful Butterflies

The Water of Leith is an area of natural beauty passing through the heart of Edinburgh. I spotted this gorgeous butterfly along the path which made my day.
The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Butterfly

7. Nesting Birds

On our second outing along the Water of Leith from Leith to Bonnington, we spotted a number of nesting birds like this moorhen. So many species call this river home.
The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Nesting Moorhen

8. Sculpture Out to Sea

The Water of Leith terminates at (surprise!) Leith. We took the opportunity to walk along the port. There are some shops, a mall, and plenty of large container ships in the area. 

What impressed me the most though was this solitary figure sculptured at the end of the pier looking out toward the horizon. I found it very poignant somehow.
The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Sculpture on the pier

Overall, the Water of Leith provides a great opportunity to take a break from the craziness of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Get outside, get your legs pumping, and have a quiet walk through this lovely area of nature before your next show.

The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Signpost

The Water of Leith in Edinburgh - Signpost

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Water of Leith Walkway: My Secret Summer Escape in Edinburgh
Water of Leith Walkway: My Secret Summer Escape in Edinburgh
Take a walk along the Water of Leith which runs from Leith to Edinburgh in Scotland. Discover Water of Leith walkway access points and St. Bernard’s Well which is famous for its mineral waters.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog