[Image Credit: Stockbridge Edinburgh]
Stockbridge, to the north of the city centre, has a village feel and charm. It has a definite Bohemian vibe and many artists, musicians, poets, writers and thespians have made the area their home. Young professionals and decades-long residents co-mingle in this delightful pocket at the bottom of the New Town, which stretches all the way to the plush realm of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
The Water of Leith makes its way through this attractive area which also houses the ancient water mills of Dean Village. Independent retailers and a wide range of restaurants, cafés and bars give this area a strong, individual character. It's a beautiful spot to explore during a weekend break to Edinburgh.
Stockbridge takes its name from the Scots words "stoccbrycg" meaning a timber foot bridge after the original bridge that crossed the Water of Leith to the small village. The current stone Stock Bridge was built in 1801 with the help of the architect James Milne and it now allows traffic to cross the river between the two adjoining estates of Deanhaugh and St. Bernard's both of which were purchased in the 1790's by the painter Henry Raeburn (1756 -1823).
After the creation of Edinburgh's Georgian New town which began in 1767, building steadily progressed northwards to emcompass the small villages along the river including Stockbridge and the Dean Village and its deep valley is a riot of stone carvings, waters and ancient buildings.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a must-see venue for modern and contemporary art and is home to fantastic sculpture parks.
Whatever the season, there really is nowhere quite like the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to enjoy a leisurely walk or have your eyes opened to the joys of nature and for colour and warmth, visit The Glasshouses!
Stockbridge has a great mix of jewellers, galleries, second hand and gourmet food shops complemented by cosy cafes and restaurants. The weekly Sunday Stockbridge Market is a focal point for residents and visitors with a feast of fresh produce and artisan bakers and for high quality cheese pop into I.J Mellis.
For beautiful jewellery inspired by Scotland’s landscapes try the Sheila Fleet Gallery. Bastion of old-school vinyl record shopping Voxbox is a relatively recent addition to the area, as too is Dick’s, a bonanza of specialist clothing, accessories and homewares. Need some tranquillity? The Floatarium Spa offers sanctuary sealed through reflexology, head massage and microdermabrasion.
Two Michelin-starred chefs give ‘gastro-pub’ a good name at The Scran & Scallie - also worth a visit is Hamilton's. Long-standing and popular Ping On Chinese restaurant does the simple things very, very well indeed or try the Spanish influenced and homely Rafael's. With quirky décor, The Pantry delivers finesse on the plate and provides a fresh new addition into the area’s eateries.
For that morning roll and coffee, try The New Town Deli or Peter's Yard. Into the evening, cocktails are the thing at The Last Word Saloon, a low-lit refuge allowing you to dig in to unusual mixers such as chilli jam and thyme-infused honey.
A highlight of the calendar year is the Stockbridge Duck Race. A fun event which takes place in June, contestants release rubber ducks with numbers on their backs into the Water of Leith and race down to Falshaw Bridge. Prizes are donated by the local businesses within the area and the money raised from entry fees goes to a worthwhile charity.
Famous residents have included portrait artist Sir Henry Raeburn, poet James Hogg, surgeon Sir James Young Simpson and more recently actor Norman Lovett and the lead singer of the band 'Garbage', Shirley Manson.
The original Mrs Doubtfire or "Madame Doubtfire" lived and ran a rag and bone shop in South East Circus Place, Stockbridge. She was the inspiration behind the novel by Anne Fine who also lived in the area which was in turn the inspiration for the movie starring Robin Williams.
Stockbridge was voted ‘Great Neighbourhood of the Year’ by the Academy of Urbanism –experience for yourself the warmth of this community on your next visit or weekend break to this part of Scotland’s capital.
To find out more about Stockbridge, visit their local website: www.stockbridgeedinburgh.com.
This is Edinburgh: Soak up the atmosphere on the bustling streets of Stockbridge in this delightful part of Edinburgh - a perfect spot to explore during a weekend break.