Last Monday we spent the day in Portobello a suburb of Edinburgh. Elena is due to run a half marathon in Edinburgh and wanted to run the part of the course which started at Portobello, so we all headed east for the day. While Elena was off running we and the boys explored Portobello. It was once upon a time, in the 19th century, an important and busy holiday centre for the good citizens of Edinburgh. It was particularly famous for its wide sandy beach and its swimming pool – the one where a young Sean Connery used to work as a life guard. It was a rather dullish day when we were there, but remained dry so the boys got time to play on the beach. There is now a distinctly run down, old fashioned air to the place. It does however still have a certain charm and at least one really good cafe serving organic home baking. The area close to the beach and the main street retains many of traditional stone built houses, shops and other buildings, and it was a pleasure to wander about the place. Below are some highlights of Portobello. First the beach itself, the swimming baths and three carved pillars originally from Dalmeny House.
Next a selection of the lovely fronts of some of the traditional stone houses to be found in Portobello.
Portobello was once an independent burgh with its own town council, before its incorporation into Edinburgh. Below are photos of the old town halls from this period. The first rather ornate building is now the Police station. The third photo is of one of the many churches in Portobello.
Portobello has retained its own sense of community and the old high street still has a fair selection of shops and cafes. Here are a few of the shop fronts.
I end with a glimpse at the contrast you can find in the lifestyles of the people who used to live in Portobello. The next two photos show different views of a tenement block which still has the traditional outside stairwell. When we were first married our first flat was in such a tenement in Dundee. The outside stairwell was not just a way of getting up to your flat, but also contained the outdoor loo for the residents. I hopoe that these flats no longer rely on an outside loo. The final photo is of a building which was built around 1785 as a summer house for one of the richer families in Portobello. This tower was built with medieval carved stones. Two worlds, just a stone’s throw apart.
We enjoyed out little visit to Portobello and it is well worth a trip, especially if you can go on a warm and sunny summer’s day.