Portobello Beach

davPopping to the beach for an afternoon isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when visiting Edinburgh. However, at only a 20-minute bus ride away from the centre of the capital, the town of Portobello provides a charming seaside escape from the city. With its old, late 1800s promenade, and borderline-tacky amusement arcade, Portobello has all the classic staples of a once-thriving beach resort. Yet, it retains a nostalgic sense of faded elegance.

DSC07010The soft, golden sand stretches out for two miles, so while the beach can get busy in the summer, you won’t be short of space to swim and sunbathe. You won’t have to venture far from the beach to find food, with fish and chip shops, beachside food stalls and pubs sprinkled across the length of the promenade, and within the town itself. The shops all have a strong locally-oriented ethos, with a refreshing lack of big-brand names anywhere to be seen.

Outside of the peak summer times, the beach is a perfect hotspot for dog walkers and their canine companions. On these cooler days, when you just don’t fancy taking a dip into the North Sea, head to the town’s Victorian swimming pool, complete with some of the UK’s last remaining Turkish baths.

Natalya Smith