Walk about ten minutes from the hubbub of Princes Street and you’ll suddenly find yourself in what looks like a Bohemian country village, complete with stone bridges, gabled houses and only the sound of the Water of Leith to keep you company. This is Dean Village, one of Edinburgh’s hidden attractions. Walk one way alongside the water to get to the National Gallery of Modern Art (signposted), or stroll in the opposite direction to Stockbridge, another idyllic, well-to-do area of town virtually untouched by festival fever.
How to get to Dean Village
Head up Queensferry Street at the West End of Princes Street and turn left onto Bells Brae, following the cobbled road down to the water from here.
Possibly Edinburgh’s most popular attraction that’s not actually in Edinburgh, the success of the book and film The DaVinci Code (filmed on location here) has brought many a curious visitor to this beautiful church, looking for clues to the mythical Holy Grail. Fictional references aside, the incredible stone carvings preserved here since the fifteenth century, in particular the famous Apprentice Pillar, are enough to wow anyone. Make a day of it and explore the path that runs past the Chapel grounds and through the gorgeous greenery of Roslin Glen Country Park. Festival? What Festival?
How to get to Rosslyn Chapel
The village of Roslin (with its confusing alternative spelling) is seven miles from Edinburgh and easily accessed by catching bus no. 15 from Lothian Road.
Stone carvings at Rosslyn Chapel Image: landhere, CC BY-SA 2.0..
This originally Roman town is now best-known for its sporting traditions, with Musselburgh Racecourse and the historic Musselburgh Links, the oldest golf course in the world, both must-see sights for sports fans. You can also potter around the the past at the nearby Palladian-style property, Newhailes (Lothian bus no.30 stops outside the gate), or stop at the restaurant housed in the old Tolbooth on the High Street to sample some modern Scottish cuisine. Watching the boats bobbing at Fisherrow harbour, you’d hardly know that all the fun and frolics of Edinburgh is just five miles away.
How to get to Musselburgh
A recently installed bypass from Edinburgh means its a mere 25-minute drive, or you can get to Musselburgh directly along the coastal cycle path from Leith or Portobello. Lothian bus 45 also goes this way.
With its romantic causeway at the mercy of the Firth of Forth tides, and a tiny centre consisting mainly of whitewashed brickwork, the old harbour and obligatory local pub, Cramond is the very definition of a quaint seaside village. Check the tide times here and plan your walk across to Cramond Island, site of former World War II defences. Don’t worry if you miss your chance, though – there are lovely, if bracing, walks to be had along the seafront, while The Cramond Inn does a mean line in pie-and-mash style comfort food and cheaper pints than you’ll find in many central Edinburgh pubs. On a budget? We’ve got more money-saving tips on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe here.
How to get to Cramond
Bus no. 41 will take you from Edinburgh straight to the main street in Cramond.