11 things to do in Portobello (that aren’t bathing on the beach)
Portobello Beach

With the weather threatening to take a turn towards the positive in the mighty ‘Burgh – you may feel the urge to don the swimming costume and head forth onto the golden sands of Portobello beach.

Go ahead, we’re not stopping you – but once you’ve dried off and peeled the seaweed from your elbows it’s time to explore Porty in all its glory.

There’s plenty to scoff, drink, gaze at in Edinburgh’s coastal suburb and here are just 11 worth your time.

1. Take a dip with The Wild Ones

Morning swim with the Wild Ones #Portobello #Edinburgh #coldswim #seaswimming

A photo posted by paul scully (@paul.scully) on

Every Sunday come rain or shine, a group of local residents take a plunge into the choppy waters of Portobello. It’s meant to be a truly invigorating Sunday wake-up call and sure fire way to shake a Saturday hangover, but we’ve too chicken to actually dip our toes just yet…

Every Sunday: Portobello Beach / facebook.com/groups/wildonesedinburgh/

2. Grab breakfast (with waffles) at The Espy

If you like it then you should've put an egg on it (and bacon!). Waffles from the Espy! #edibledinburgh🍴

A photo posted by edibledinburgh🍴 (@edibledinburgh) on

A seafront public house which offers no-frills friendly service and a good plate of grub – the Espy is a Portie locals favourite and usually packed out on a Summer’s day. However, those breakfast waffles speak for themselves. Lord have mercy.

The Esplanade Bar & Restaurant, 62-64 Bath St, EH15 1HF / facebook.com/the-espy

3. Take in some art (and a coffee) at The Tide

If you’re looking for a cultural fix, then The Tide often plays host to local artists who can showcase their work in the cafe – you can take in some shore-side inspiration whilst sipping on a coffee and taking in the community atmosphere.

The Tide, 56 King’s Rd, EX15 1DX / facebook.com/TheTideArtGalleryAndCoffeeShop

4. Consume a crepe from Crumbs of Portobello

Although you may have already consumed your own bodyweight at our other recommended eateries, you should at least leave some space for a crepe from this promenade vendor. With their mix of sweet treats and salivatory savoury numbers, Crumbs of Portobello is easily one of the beach’s best fixtures.

Crumbs of Portobello, Portobello Promenade, EH15 1HJ / facebook.com/crumbsofportobello

5. Catch some live music at Dalriada

Delriada Bar, Portobello Edinburgh


Whilst boasting some pretty sensational sea views, it’s all about the atmosphere inside which brings people out to the Dalriada. Their live music nights are warm and welcoming events, with a mixture of trad and local acts strumming the day away from Wednesday to Sunday. The Sunday Sessions have gained something of a reputation for being a truly inclusive bar-wide sing-a-long.

Dalriada Bar, 77 Portobello Promenade, EH15 2EL / dalriadabar.co.uk

6. Sample a draught beer at The Skylark

Often described as Portobello’s most hip and happening establishment, The Skylark is all about the breakfast and lunch during the day before becoming a bar joint until midnight. It’s a stylish layout and the bar offers some of the big hitters of Scottish brewery scene including West, Barney’s Beer and Stewart Brewing. They also run a semi-regular film night, with flicks projected straight onto the wall.

The Skylark, 243 Portobello High St, EH15 2AW / theskylarkportobello.com

7. Check out some al fresco tunes at the ‘Big Beach Busk’

Closing Edinburgh’s Festival season in true Portie style. The Edinburgh Beach Busk sees the Promenade become a barrage of local musicians, entertainers and street performers – all strutting their stuff and creating a pretty amazing spectacle.

Aug 27: Portobello Promenade / facebook.com/BigBeachBusk

8. Hook in a fish supper from St. Andrews

St Andrews Restaurant & Takeaway


Yep, we’re well aware of the irony that one of Edinburgh’s finest chippie options happens to be name after one of Fife’s most famous locations. St. Andrews is something a Portie institution though, with a fish supper that you can walk down the Prom with or a more traditional sit-in option which is hugely tasty fare.

St. Andrews Restaurant: 280-284 Portobello High St, EH15 2AT / standrewstakeaway.co.uk

9. Get retro at the arcade

Bright light city gon' set my soul… 💰 #portobello #edinburgh #arcadegames #vivalasvegas

A video posted by Matthew Dunne-Miles (@mdunnemiles) on

What would *any* seaside resort be without a proper amusement park? Noble Leisure offers all the bright lights and noises of the arcades of your youth – just now you take on Angry Birds as well as the coin pushers.

Noble Leisure, 49 Figgate Ln, EH15 1HJ / facebook.com/NobleLeisurePortobello

10. Get steamy in the Turkish baths

time out at the #turkishbaths #portobello

A photo posted by ędįëmõøñbėãm (@ediemoonbeam) on

One of just three Turkish saunas still in working order in Scotland, the baths at Portobello’s swim centre are a pretty grand affair and one of the city’s best hidden gems. After embracing the steam in the sauna, you can finish off your rest and relaxation session with a plunge into the Frigidarium.

Portobello Swim Centre, 57 Promenade, EH15 2BS / edinburghleisure.co.uk

11. Sail the seven seas with Row Porty

Porty Row, Portobello Beach


If jumping directly into the water isn’t exactly quite your bag, then Portobello’s Sailing and Kayaking Club rowing branch may sound better for a seafaring adventure. The group have hand-crafted boats which they take out on the choppy waters of Portobello. It’s a community project who are always looking for enthusiastic new members. Why lay on the beach, when you could be out mastering the waves?

Portobello Sailing & Kayaking Club, 57 Bath Street, EH15 1HE / facebook.com/rowporty/


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Main image: CC / Flickr / Magnus Hagdorn