After a long 20 year wait, Renton, Spud, Sickboy and Begbie have returned to the big screen and to Edinburgh.
With T2 Trainspotting one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2017, Scotland’s capital city is set to play one of its biggest movie roles in more than a decade.
Written by Leith’s own local hero, Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting is a cult classic. Loosely based on an adaption by Welsh of his original follow-up book, Porno, T2 sees the whole gang back and reunited in the capital.
After more than three months of filming in over 50 locations across the city, here are a few of This is Edinburgh’s favourite T2 filming locations for visitors and residents to #ChooseEdinburgh and discover a whole other side to the city.
Arriving into Edinburgh
Whatever way you choose to arrive in Edinburgh, you’ll experience a part of Renton’s return to the city as you can see in the video above.
Whether you’re flying into Edinburgh Airport, arriving into Waverley Station or even using the city’s trams – you’ll be following in Ewan McGregor’s footsteps – maybe even sitting in the same tram seat!
Take to the streets
Edinburgh’s streets are steeped in history and heritage, with many of them playing an important atmospheric role in T2.
Calton Road just behind Waverley Station is where Renton’s shoplifting dash comes to an end when he is hit by a car in T1, also making a cameo again in the sequel.
Edinburgh’s most famous street, the Royal Mile, features in the film, easily reached from Waverley Station by both Cockburn Street and the impressive steps of Fleshmarket Close - both film locations for T2.
After exploring the Royal Mile, head up towards George IV Bridge, stopping for a light refreshment at the G&V hotel’s new ground floor bar. Epicurean serves everything from colourful cocktails using home-grown flowers and herbs to a tempting Tanqueray Afternoon Tea.
From here, head down the scenic curve of Victoria Street, one of Edinburgh’s most picturesque and colourful streets - and scene of a night-time get-away in T2.
The Grassmarket nestles in the heart of the lower levels of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
One of the most vibrant areas of the city, it’s a paradise of vintage shops, Scottish designers and artisans. The Grassmarket is bursting with some of the best independent shopping Edinburgh has to offer, in an area with a dramatic and unparalleled view of the castle.
Renton runs through the Grassmarket in T2 and the the four star Apex Hotel Grassmarket, would provide perfect accommodation for your stay with winter prices starting from £60 per night.
A pint in the Port Sunshine
[Image credit: Arran Bee]
Of all the city’s areas, Leith has undergone the biggest transformation since the dark drug-fuelled nineties portrayal in the original Trainspotting. The colourful buildings lining The Shore’s cobbled streets are now home to a strong creative community, with independent galleries, shops and cafes, sitting alongside Michelin Star restaurants, The Kitchin and Restaurant Martin Wishart.
With so many gastro pubs and eateries to choose from, head towards Commercial Street for a spot of lunch, a favourite haunt of Renton and Sick Boy in the film. Treat yourself to a fresh Scottish seafood platter at The Ship on the Shore.
Thankfully Leith’s historic and independent heart still beats strong. The Central Bar’s cellar is used as the location for Begbie and Sickboy’s reunion in The Port Sunshine. The name is a nod to another nearby Leith drinking institution, The Port O’ Leith and the Proclaimer’s classic anthem, Sunshine on Leith.
The Central Bar is a pub for Leithers, but the combination of red brick, long mirrors and large-scale tiled artwork has remained largely untouched since the late 19th century, when it was built beside what was then Leith’s Central Station.
Clubbing in Cav
[Image credit: The Cav]
The original Trainspotting had an iconic clubbing scene and T2 is no different, get on your dancing shoes and head to the legendary Cav nightclub. Edinburgh’s largest nightclub near Fountainbridge and just off Lothian Road, it provided the dance floor sequence to the Trainspotting cast. Following an open call for public casting for people to come along in their best eighties gear, many a young local were eagerly hoping they made the final cut!
Blow away the cobwebs by joining EMF Running Tours, one of Edinburgh’s running clubs now offering a new T2 themed jog round the city, runners will get to experience some of the film locations up close. Start on Princes Street, recreating Renton’s famous dash from T1 before heading up past Calton Hill, down by the Scottish Parliament and through Holyrood Park before tackling the historic Arthur’s Seat.
Fancy a bit of post-run relaxation? The Macdonald Holyrood Hotel is right at the heart of Holyrood Park with spectacular views of Arthur’s Seat and a spa, all just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre with prices starting from £130 per night, including breakfast.
Retail and rehab
Princes Street is the perfect place for a bit of retail therapy, or head to the opposite end of Edinburgh’s main shopping promenade at Multrees Walk, the luxurious designer department store Harvey Nichols. Its café Forth Floor Restaurant, also makes an appearance as the backdrop to Renton’s updated “Choose Life” speech when he and Veronika and Renton are having dinner. It also offers amazing panoramic views of The New Town and beyond.
Afterwards, take a stroll down through Edinburgh’s New Town streets to Stockbridge and admire Saint Stephen’s Church, which was used as the internal setting for Spud’s rehab group. While you’re there, explore the many small retailers and baristas or enjoy a relaxing long lunch at Scran and Scallie.