My Favourite Edinburgh Hidden Gems

Edinburgh, UK

This is a blog post I've been meaning to write for quite some time and have had a few requests for it - so I do apologise that it's taken this long! I've found it slightly tricky to write as what is a hidden gem to someone may not seem like one to someone else. So, I've tried my best to include a range of locations that both tourists and locals will hopefully find interesting! Also, all these locations I've chosen are free to visit and within walking distance from the city centre. So, in no particular order, let's begin!

1. Royal Mile Closes

Okay, so the Royal Mile isn't exactly a hidden gem but I'd argue that there a loads of hidden gems that can be found by popping into the Closes (small alleys) that lead off of the Royal Mile. Click Here to see a list of all the closes, their history, and where they are located. I've listed a couple of my favourites below.

Favourite Closes:
  • Boswell’s Court, is the entrance to The Witchery Restaurant and depending on the season is often decorated! During Christmas is my favourite.
  • Brodie’s Close will forever be associated with one of Edinburgh’s most infamous residents, Deacon William Brodie. Click Here to read more about him. (Scroll up to the first photo to see it!)
  • Advocate’s Close, is the subject of many photographs and paintings as it has a magnificent view of the Scott Monument!
  • Dunbar’s Close is a hidden gem which most people walk right by. It’s a secret garden in the heart of the city that once you step into you soon have to convince yourself that you’re still in a city. A perfect place for a picnic - if you're blessed with nice weather!
  • White Horse Close is one of the most picturesque closes, well worth a visit!
  • Chessels Court houses a wonderful old building with an adorable heart-shaped ivy!
White Horse Close, Royal Mile

2. Dean Village & Belford Mews

Dean Village is one of my favourite hidden gems! Located next to the Water of Leith and only a ten minute walk from West Princes Street, it's a tranquil and picturesque place for a walk. I have a vlog on YouTube about Dean Village and how to reach it, Click Here to watch it. Whenever I want to get out of the city centre and have some peace and quiet, I head down to Dean Village! It also has some amazing photo opportunities.

If, like me, you admire cute mews houses, while you're in Dean Village take a wander to Belford Mews! The mews are made from red sandstone and are unlike any mews houses I've seen in Edinburgh.

3. Water of Leith Walkway & St Benard's Well

I've led many a tour here before and I always get a similar reaction. Everyone always comments at how peaceful it is and how they don't even feel like they're in the city centre anymore. The Water of Leith Walkway is a wonderful path that starts from Balerno and finishes in Leith. Personally, I've never walked the whole route but my favourite section is between Dean Village and Stockbridge - where you can find St Bernard's Well.

4. Circus Lane

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I love this little lane! With St Stephen's rising up in the background and an old cobbled lane - it's incredibly picturesque. The whole lane is lined with little mews houses (if you're unfamiliar with the term, they were once rows of stables, usually with carriage houses below and living quarters above, where servants of the larger houses would stay). Most of the houses on lane take great pride in their appearance and decorate the exteriors with beautiful flowers and foliage. 

5. Royal Bank of Scotland, Dundas House

Dundas House is located at 36 St Andrew Square and is currently the Registered Office of the Royal Bank of Scotland. However, the bank is extremely welcoming and encourages visitors to admire the stunning architecture and take photos! They even have a member of staff that is appointed to answer any questions you may have about the building.

Read more at:
The grand architectural masterpiece in St Andrew Square, which has been home to the Royal Bank of Scotland since 1835,

Read more at:

6. Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is one of my favourite art galleries in Edinburgh! Admittedly, it's architecture may play a major factor in my preference. First, a little history behind the building. At the end of the nineteenth century, the idea of a National Portrait Gallery for Scotland was championed by many, including the historian Thomas Carlyle. Rowand Anderson created a modern purpose-designed art gallery to rival the most advanced at the time in Europe and America. At the same time, he wanted his building to be a shrine for Scotland’s heroes. The only slightly annoying thing is, I find it impossible to take a good photo inside this stunning building, but it is well worth a visit!

Well, those are my top 6 favourite hidden gems in Edinburgh and no doubt there are plenty more to discover! Hope everyone has a lovely week.

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