South of Edinburgh’s Old Town is one of its village-style suburbs with a booming trade in local shops and businesses.
Here are a few local facts to highlight Bruntsfield’s status as one of the city’s most popular and thriving areas.
1. Bruntsfield isn’t Morningside
It may sound obvious, but these two areas are often bundled together. Residents of each will vigorously insist that theirs is better (whereas only Bruntsfield really is the best). For reference, the boundary falls at Holy Corner, where Bruntsfield Place becomes Morningside Road. Simples.
2. Holy Corner is named for its four churches
With one church on each quadrant of the junction at this crossroads, Holy Corner is aptly named, although only three remain active as churches. The fourth is today the Eric Liddell Community Centre.
3. Bruntsfield Links is one of the world’s oldest golf courses
Scotland’s national sport has been played here for at least three centuries, and the nearby Golf Tavern lays claim to being the world’s oldest functioning clubhouse. It’s also where you can hire golf sticks and dimply balls for a free round on the adjacent course, during the summer months.
4. The Links are dog heaven…
The open green space of the Links are a popular space for locals to exercise a wide range of dogs.
5. …except during the summer when they’re barbecue heaven
As soon as the weather improves, the smell of charcoal and burnt meat takes over as everyone within a mile radius descends with their disposable barbecues. The fire service are also regularly in attendance to deal with fire in the waste bins from the leftover hot coals. It’s a sure sign of summer.
6. The area has so far avoided Chocolate Wars…
The Chocolate Tree
…despite having two independent chocolatiers operating within yards of each other. Coco wraps up the luxury market while the The Chocolate Tree boasts a fine range of organic and ethically created products. But why choose between them? Pick and mix from both for maximum artisanal confectionery effect.
7. Breakfast here can last all day
Whether you fancy a traditional fry up or a continental option, Bruntsfield has a variety of breakfast providers to cater for every appetite. Settle down with a full Scottish platter at Project Coffee or Montpeliers, whose Full Monty big breakfast will keep you satisfied til tomorrow.
8. One of Scotland’s greatest scientists lived in a local castle
John Napier, inventor of mathematical algorithms, lived at Merchiston Castle, today a campus of the university named for him.
9. We don’t do fusion food…
…despite having an Italian restaurant operating under the name Inca. Alas, the long-awaited fusion of Italian-Peruvian cuisine has yet to be served here.
10. We do do vegan food
Moon & Hare is one of the latest additions to the Bruntsfield massif, offering a variety of vegan and vegetarian, raw, gluten free and organic produce. If that’s not your style, nip next door for something deep fried from Globetrotter, the area’s only chip shop.
11. We have Edinburgh’s oldest family-owned pet shop
Established in 1890 Hill-Lord still trades under the names of the original owners, although today it’s the Traynor brothers who provide everything from animal feeds to petcare. They also deliver locally and are a welcome alternative to the big-brand pet suppliers.
12. Scotland’s first female doctor worked here
Sophia Jex-Blake campaigned to have women admitted to study medicine at Edinburgh University, and as the country’s first qualified female doctor she established a women’s hospital in Bruntsfield, today converted into housing.
13. Miss Jean Brodie lived here
In the 1969 film version she did, at any rate. Maggie Smith, who won an Oscar for her role as Edinburgh’s infamous girls’ school teacher, is shown leaving and entering a property on Admiral Terrace.
14. We didn’t bury plague victims here
The undulations of Bruntsfield Links are sometimes misattributed to the burial of 16th-century plague victims. In fact they were buried a little further south than the Links. These dips are the less gruesome result of quarrying for stone.
15. Crossing the cycle lanes can be a challenge
Without apportioning blame to either bikes, pedestrians or sundry other pavement users, you take your life in your hands when crossing the bike lane over Bruntsfield Links. Oh, all right. It’s the fault of the cyclists. Happy now?
16. We have a huge array of independent shops
From a community greengrocer to an artisan cheesecake outlet, the mix of shops and businesses in Bruntsfield is the very definition of eclectic, and most are independent or locally owned. Florists and furtniture shops sit alongside barbers and beauty parlours.
And there’s more!
Bruntsfield rocks. You should definitely come and live here. Or maybe just visit, once in a while.
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All photos: Gareth Davies