Introduction to Tollcross

Canal 1 600X250

Joining Bruntsfield & Morningside with Lothian Road, New Town to the north, and the Old Town to the east of the city, Tollcross is a major thoroughfare into the city.

Easily accessible on foot from the city centre, it has a selection of place to eat and drink that accommodate all tastes and budgets, a good range of everyday shops and a variety of hotels that offer a comfy place to rest after a day’s exploring. And for those moments when you need sanctuary in nature, the leafy Meadows and Bruntsfield Links are close by.

Tollcross Street 600X250If you’re a fan of the flicks or the big stage, Tollcross will not disappoint – from cinemas offering all-action blockbusters to a stunning Edwardian theatre which has played host to some of the world’s biggest stars, this neighbourhood knows how to put on a show!

Getting Here

Tollcross is approximately 15 minutes’ walk from the west end of Princes Street. Lothian Buses 10, 11, 15, 15a, 16, 23, 27, 45 all serve the area on a regular basis. From the Old Town and the Grassmarket area of the city, Tollcross can be reached on foot in around 20 minutes. 

A Brief History of Tollcross

For many centuries, Tollcross was a major trading route for farmers and merchants arriving from the south. It is though that the name derives from a crossroads where toll payments were collected from travellers entering the city.

Canal 4 600X250In the 1800s the area was a hub of industry, being home to a distillery, a brewery, ropeworks and ironworks. This was thanks to the Union Canal, which ends just west of Tollcross at the Lochrin Basin. The brewery was on the site where the Kings Theatre now stands.

The clock at the centre of the junction dates back to 1901, when the area was a busy tram hub. It was gifted by Provost James Steel and Treasurer Robert Cranston and made by James Ritchie and Sons (who also built the clock at the West End of Princes Street, and Edinburgh’s famous Floral Clock). During building works in 1974, the clock was removed, and after an outcry from the local community, this historic landmark was reinstated at the junction, slightly removed from its original location. Since May 2022, the clock is away for essential maintenance.

Read on to discover more about the top things to see, do and experience in Tollcross >