Portobello in Edinburgh
|Read time 3 mins
Portobello is a charming suburb of Edinburgh and great for a family seaside trip, with takeaways, amusement arcades and even Turkish baths.
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Like many places in Edinburgh, Portobello has the uniquely retro charm of a timewarp.
In this instance, a 1970s timewarp. If you were born in the late 1960s, that can make a trip there like revisiting your childhood.
Portobello's charm can leave you feeling as refreshed as a trip to Oporto.
Visit Portobello, Edinburgh
Formerly a separate beach resort, Portobello is now an Edinburgh suburb three miles east of the city centre, located just down the coast from the port of Leith.
With plenty of on-street parking and two bus routes connecting the area with Edinburgh city centre, Portobello is a great option for a family trip during your self-catering break.
Once the haunt of seamen and smugglers, it retains a rough-and-ready charm.
Turkish baths in Portobello
Portobello also has the distinction of being home to one of only three sets of Turkish baths in Scotland.
The Portobello Swim Centre, where you can experience the sweltering Ottoman heat, dates back to 1901.
It's quite a sight and almost worth the trip to Portobello on its own merits alone.
Today it is run by Edinburgh Leisure and offers a high-spec gym as well as the opportunity to swim in a traditional Victorian pool.
After your workout, you can relax in the Turkish baths, where visitors move through three hot chambers, as well as the steam room.
Brave a dip in the Frigidarium and release those endorphins!
Where to eat in Portobello
A couple of newer gastro cafes have opened up along the front, next to the sea wall that borders a wide, sandy beach.
They serve the standard 21st-century cafe fare of lattes, Americano coffee and pastries.
Portobello retains echoes of a more robust cuisine. The high street is littered with basic takeaways catering to most palates.
Make sure to visit St Andrews Takeaway on the High Street, a longstanding Portobello institution.
St Andrews Takeaway offers the traditional seaside dish of fish and chips, as well as Italian cuisine.
Another firm favourite with our team is Bross Bagels, which has several locations across the city.
Founded by a Canadian, Bross brings the joy of Montreal bagels to the people of Edinburgh, with fantastic filling options for a variety of tastes.
What to do in Portobello
As befits any seaside resort, Portobello also has an amusement arcade where you can feed the fruit machines and idle away free hours.
For many years, the town was the haunt of Glaswegians during the annual Glasgow holidays.
Today, the average Glaswegian is more likely to head for Portugal than Portobello!
Sadly we cannot guarantee that the weather will be as good as that of Portugal, but the arcades and many eateries ensure a fun day out come rain or shine.
If it is a sunny day you will find the locals strolling along the promenade and also along the beach, where various sporting activities take place on a regular basis.
The Beach Wheelchairs project also has a base along the seafront, from which visitors can hire a wheelchair and enjoy some fun on the beach!
There are plenty of gems to explore on the high street as well, with many independent shops selling their wares.
Ideal for your next self-catering holiday
The area has kept its sense of holiday fun and offers a great family day out from central Edinburgh.
Although only a few miles away from Edinburgh's Princes Street, Portobello's shabby charm can leave you feeling as refreshed as a trip to Oporto.
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