Portobello, once a seaside town popular with holidaymakers, now offers a relaxed residential suburb. This seaside district lies four miles east of the city centre and is perfect for families and professional couples alike.
Portobello was originally known as Figgate Muir. Moorland which the Figgate Burn flowed to the Braid Burn, which continued to the sea. At this time, the land was used as pasture for cattle by the monks of Holyrood Abbey
By the 18th century, the area was bustling with seamen and smugglers. In 1742, a cottage was built on the (now) high street by George Hamilton, who served in the capture of Porto Bello in Panama. George named the cottage Portobello Hut in honour of the victory. The name, Porto Bello literally translates as beautiful port. By 1753 other houses were built around it.
Portobello became an industrial town, manufacturing bricks, glass, lead, paper, pottery, soap, and mustard. In 1833, the town was officially made a burgh in 1833, however, in 1896 it was incorporated into Edinburgh by Act of Parliament.
A railway station opened in 1846 (closing in 1964) providing easy access for visitors. The resort included an open-air heated swimming pool, which, in later years, is where Sean Connery (supposedly) worked as a lifeguard.
In 1901, Portobello Baths were opened on The Promenade. The Portobello Baths are one of three remaining operational Turkish baths in Scotland
Like many parts of Edinburgh, the majority of properties in Portobello are of Georgian and Victorian architecture. Those close to the High Street tend to be generous flats, whilst properties at the Promenade and further afield are larger terraced houses.
Modern developments have started to pop up, allowing first time buyers the opportunity to purchase a new home for less close to the sea.
Portobello is home to one of the most popular beaches on the east coast of Scotland.
During the summer, it’s filled with crowds from Edinburgh. The beach hosts regular beach volleyball, as well as one of Europe’s biggest busking events, the annual Big Beach Busk.
The promenade is filled with cafes, restaurants and bars, including The Beach House and The Esplanade Bar & Restaurant.
Portobello High Street is home to a number of independent shops, from a traditional butcher and fishmonger to trendy coffee houses. Stop in to Skylark for freshly brewed coffee and a delicious bite to eat (you can’t go wrong with a Croque Monsieur [or Madame or Mushroom!]). Or pop in to Twelve Triangles for fresh bread and tasty pastries!
Supermarkets include Lidl, as well as a Sainsbury’s Local, a Morrisons on Portobello Road. There is also a 24 hour Asda at the nearby Jewel and Fort Kinnaird (just a short bus or car trip away) provides an array of high street shops, eateries, a gym and cinema.
Portobello Organic Market takes place on the first Saturday of every month in Brighton Park. Here you will find local organic fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and baking as well as stalls featuring local crafts.
Schooling is available from nursery to secondary level, including the recently relocated Portobello High School. Higher education is within easy reach, in particular Edinburgh College on Milton Road and Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh.
Regular buses run to the city centre and further afield day and night. Portobello is ideal for the commuter with the A1 and motorway networks easily accessible.
Fun for all…
As well as a Victorian swimming pool equipped with traditional Turkish baths, Portobello has a local rowing club welcome to everyone over 16, regardless of experience.
If golf is more your thing then Portobello hosts a stunning nine-hole golf course, which has the picture-perfect Arthur’s Seat as a backdrop.
For the little ones, Tumbles at Portobello Gymnastics and Softplay Centre is the perfect place to run off some energy! Why not join in the fun and have a bounce on the trampolines at Orcadia Creative Learning Centre.