WONDER WALK 1
CONTEMPORARY ART TO CULTURAL HUB
Distance: 1.5 – 2 miles
Duration: Approximately one hour, more with stops
Terrain: Mostly flat
For a relatively short walk in only a few square miles of city, this one really packs a lot in. World-class modern art, Victorian industrial heritage and designer, high street and independent shopping. Luxury spas, afternoon teas, cathedrals, cask ales, G&Ts, and the city’s primary cultural hub at the end of it all. This could only be Edinburgh.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
75 Belford Rd, Edinburgh EH4 3DR
Edinburgh EH4 3AY
Edinburgh's West End
Stafford Street, Edinburgh EH3 7BD
Edinburgh Gin Distillery
1a Rutland Place, Edinburgh EH1 2AD
Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR
The Usher Hall
Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH1 2EA
Royal Lyceum Theatre
30b Grindlay Street, Edinburgh EH3 9AX
10 Cambridge Street, Edinburgh EH1 2ED
88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 9BZ
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian
Princes St, Edinburgh EH1 2AB
Edinburgh's West End
The elegant “village” around William St, Queensferry St and the west end of Princes Street.
1: The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
We start near the Water of Leith, with the two imposing neo-classical buildings that form the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Home to long and short-term collections and exhibitions from 20th and 21st century artists, plus an extensive collection of Dada, surrealist and sculptural works, the buildings are connected by an extraordinary landscape designed by Charles Jencks. Oh, and there’s a lovely café in each, in case you need fortification for the rest of the journey.
[Image: Eduardo Paolozzi, Vulcan, 1998-1999 © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, Licensed by DACS 2019.]
2. Dean Cemetery and the Dean Village
Not many art galleries have a cemetery in their grounds – but this is Edinburgh. So from Modern Two, you can walk straight in to the Dean Cemetery, a fashionable burial ground for well-to-do Victorians, where the elegance of the monuments echoes the sculptural glories in the galleries. Wander down Dean Path and Damside and you’ll come to the Dean Village, and extraordinarily picturesque oasis on the banks of the river, and probably one of the most photogenic locations in Edinburgh.
3. William Street and Edinburgh’s West End
Stroll along Manor Place past St. Mary’s Cathedral and William Street, and you enter Edinburgh’s West End. Designed in 1813 by James Gillespie Graham, the district varies in character from the ornate Victorian to the elegant Georgian. Its cobbled lanes are at the heart of the city’s fashion and culinary scenes, with plenty of places to stop for refreshment among the chic boutiques, organic bakeries, and quirky galleries. In fact, why not finish your West End wanderings at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and treat yourself to an indulgent afternoon tea?
4. Edinburgh Gin Distillery
In the mood for something a little stronger? This next stop is just the thing. 1A Rutland Place is the home of Edinburgh Gin, where a variety of tours are on offer to connoisseurs and interested amateurs alike. Make sure you book in advance, though, as they are, understandably, extremely popular! You’ll discover Edinburgh’s historical association with fine gin making and get a fascinating glimpse into the science behind the art of production. Naturally, you’ll finish up with a little taster or, if you’d prefer, a miniature to take home.
5. Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
If you feel the need for more treats after your distillery visit, our next port of call is the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa for some modern Scottish luxury. You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the sumptuous One Spa services, which pamper and preen with a range of therapies and treatments. Scottish brasserie One Square serves modern and seasonal foods from Scotland’s menu of fine produce, accompanied by 105 types of gin. And if craft beers are more your thing, you’ll love The Beer Kitchen from local brewery Innis & Gunn.
6. The cultural hub
Side-by-side on Lothian Road, the Usher Hall, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Traverse Theatre and Filmhouse mark our final stop. Between them, they’re bound to offer something you’ll enjoy, even if it’s only the outstanding architecture. The A-listed, domed structure of the Usher Hall complements the Victorian columns of the Lyceum. The modern Traverse building somehow works alongside the neoclassical former church that hosts the three-screen Filmhouse. So even in the unlikely event that you can’t find anything you fancy from their year-round programmes, the four buildings themselves put on quite a show.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
75 Belford Road
Telephone: 0131 624 6200