Although LEITH is generally known as the port of Edinburgh, it developed independently of the city up the hill, its history bound up in the hard graft of fishing, shipbuilding and trade. The presence of sailors, merchants and continental traders also gave the place a cosmopolitan – if slightly rough – edge, which is still obvious today. While the stand-alone attractions are few, Leith is an intriguing place, not just for the contrasts to central Edinburgh, but also for its nautical air and its excellent cafés, pubs and restaurants.

Leith’s initial revival from down-and-out port to des-res waterfront began in the 1980s around the area known as the Shore, the old harbour at the mouth of the Water of Leith. More recently, the massive dock areas beyond are being transformed at a rate of knots, with landmark developments including a vast building housing civil servants from the Scottish Government, and Ocean Terminal, a shopping and entertainment complex beside which the former royal yacht Britannia has settled into her retirement.

Britannia

Launched in 1953, Britannia was used by the royal family for 44 years for state visits, diplomatic functions and royal holidays. Video clips of the ship’s most famous moments are shown in the visitor centre (within Ocean Terminal) along with royal holiday snaps, and you can roam around the yacht itself, which has been largely kept as she was while in service, with a well-preserved 1950s dowdiness – a far cry from the opulent splendour which many expect.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Scotland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 of the best road trips in the UK

6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter …

11 Apr 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
7 must-visit places in Scotland you've probably never heard of

7 must-visit places in Scotland you've probably never heard of

Scotland sports such a strong selection of tourist attractions – from castles and cabers to kilts and whisky – it’s easy to forget that there is much mor…

01 Mar 2017 • Robin McKelvie insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month