Things to do in Leith

Edinburgh Mela Edinburgh Festivals

Celebrating Leith’s fascinating history and it’s multicultural character, discover more about this vibrant neighbourhood through its varied attractions and events.

Historic Highlights

Children By Bell Helen PughWith a number of awards to its name, The Royal Yacht Britannia is Leith's most popular attraction. Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace for over 40 years, it is now permanently berthed at the shore area and its 5 decks offer a fascinating glimpse into life at sea for both the Royal Family and the 220 Royal Yachtsmen who served on board. Once you’ve completed the self-led audio guided tour, why not relax in the Royal Deck Tea Room where you can enjoy freshly prepared, home-made food and stunning views. A range of family-friendly events also take place on-board throughout the year – keep an eye on their What’s On page for details.

Located within a grand Georgian house that was once housed the Incorporation of Mariners and Shipmasters, Trinity House explores Leith’s maritime history and is packed with a variety of interesting nautical objects including navigational instruments, ship models and wartime charts.

Walkways & Trails

Leith Shore People SittingConnecting Balerno in the south-west of the city with Leith and the Firth of Forth in the north, the Water of Leith Walkway runs 13 miles through the city. Navigated as one route, or broken into sections, it’s a great way to explore and connect with nature either on foot or by bike. Top tip: see if you can spot artist Antony Gormley’s “Six Times” standing figure looking out to the Firth of Forth.

The Mural Trail(Image Credit: Leith Heals by Breeze Thirteen / Underwater Scene by Ross MaCrae)

As you make your way through Leith, keep your eyes peeled for some brightly painted utility boxes. Depicting small murals, the Mural Art Trail was commissioned as part of the Trams to Newhaven project and showcases the work of local aspiring and established graffiti and street artists, as well as brightening up some under-appreciated items on the streets. All tell a story, past and present in Leith - from the pigeons that live on tower blocks to the 3 sea lions that escaped from Edinburgh Zoo in 1924 (they were subsequently found happily swimming around Leith Harbour!) For large-scale murals, don’t miss the impressive Leith History Mural on North Junction Street – painted in 1986 by Tim Chalk and Paul Grime, it depicts scenes of everyday life and important historic events from Leith’s past.

Leith Mural WideIf you fancy learning more about the history and people of Leith, and helping a good cause, then why not book a place on an Invisible Cities Walking Tour. Hosted by experienced tour guides, all of whom have been affected by homelessness, they offer their own personal insight into Edinburgh’s past, present and future. There are two tours specifically designed around Leith - History of the Trainspotting Generation, and The Alternative Story of Leith.

Unique Spaces

A creative arts and events hub, The Biscuit Factory is housed within inside the former Crawford’s biscuit factory. While biscuits are no longer made here, it is an exciting venue which hosts all kinds of pop-up events and markets. And what was once an army drill hall, Out of the Blue Drill Hall is today a much loved community resource that is home to studios, rehearsal space, exhibitions, classes, events and a cafe. In 2016 it also became home to Out of the Blueprint, a print studio supporting young Scottish artists.

Gifted to Leith following its incorporation into the city of Edinburgh in 1920, Leith Theatre has welcomed many big names and events, including AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and has been a venue for the 1972 Commonwealth Games. Following a long closure, in 2017 Hidden Door breathed new life into this iconic building and since then it has become a popular venue for community events, concerts, movie screenings and lots more.

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop was set up in 1986 and it’s amazing purpose-built venue offers various classes for sculptors of all levels. Try your hand at clay, wood or metal work, join one of their free talks, exhibitions or tours, or take a breather in their licensed café.

Festivals

For a week in June, Leith comes alive with arts, music, theatre and history - The Leith Festival began in 1907 as a means to raise money for the then Leith Hospital and is still going strong today. Don’t miss this lively family-friendly event.

Edinburgh Mela Bollywood Love StoryWhile for two days in September, the leafy Leith Links becomes a hive of colour, music and dance as Edinburgh Mela comes to town. This exciting festival aims to showcase a colourful range of music, art and dance from around the world, making it one of the most breathtaking events on Edinburgh's annual calendar.

LeithLate began life in 2011 as a one-night celebration of Leith – today the 3-day festival showcases Leith’s public spaces, shops and creative community with a bumper programme of events, art, music and food.

 

From food & drink for all tastes and budgets to an array of fantastic shops, discover more about this bright & lively neighbourhood in our Guide to Leith >