An autumnal walk around Stockbridge

Published on Sunday the 10th of November 2013 at 10:03 pm
Page last updated on Wednesday the 27th of November 2013 at 10:54 pm

This weekend was a bit of a lazy one and having been indulged with both football and rugby on television yesterday we ventured out for some fresh air today, heading towards Stockbridge.

As we walked up our street the sun was illuminating some trees in the distance with a golden glow.

We’re spoiled with good views from our street, with Calton Hill rising above the rooftops to the south-east.

To the south-west, along our street, is a great view towards Edinburgh Castle.

We made our way west through grand New Town streets to Fettes Row, which curves around to the bottom of St Vincent Street where St Stephen’s Church stands. The church’s bold tower, designed by William Playfair, houses Europe’s longest clock pendulum.

Nestled at the bottom of St Vincent Street on the corner with Circus Lane is the St. Vincent bar.

We managed to resist the temptation to stop off for a pint, having not long left the house, and continued down St Vincent Street to where it becomes St Stephen Street. St Stephen Street is something of a hidden gem in Edinburgh, packed with characterful independent shops, bars and restaurants.

Looking back St Stephen’s Church was resplendent against a bright blue sky that belies the temperature. Today was the coldest day of this autumn so far.

Before reaching the main section of St Stephen Street we took a detour up Clarence Street from the end of which was a good view of Stockbridge Parish Church (formerly St Bernard’s), lit up by the sun.

Along Henderson Row is the Edinburgh Academy, designed by William Burn and completed in 1824.

Also on Henderson Row are several immaculately-decorated grand entrance porches complete with flower pots and exotic plants.

Close to the corner of Henderson Row and Clarence Street are the remains of an old commercial sign painted on a stone wall, advertising a firm of bakers and confectioners.

We returned back down Clarence Street and picked up where we left off on St Stephen Street. The residents and businesses are rightly proud of their well-kept street, and encourage people to keep it that way.

The majority of the buildings on St Stephen Street are tall and made of stone, which makes a low brick building stand out (helped by the low autumn sun). Originally built as a church hall of St Vincent Episcopal Church, it now houses the dance company Dance For All.

Next to it is the former St Stephen’s School building, which was associated with St Stephen’s Church, now converted into apartments.

Across the road is Mr Purves Lighting Emporium, which is only open one afternoon a week (Saturdays, if you were wondering).

Further along St Stephen Street is the main entrance to the old Stockbridge Market, now replaced with housing.

Walking under the arch leads you to a path which cuts through the site of the market to Hamilton Place.

At the end of Hamilton Place we turned up Kerr Street in search of the Artisan Bakehouse, a new-ish bakery whose bread we wanted to try. They had quite a selection in the window, and even more choice inside.

We opted to try a crusty white loaf and an oat bread on this occasion. Appropriately next door to the Artisan Bakehouse is IJ Mellis, the celebrated cheesemongers.

At the bottom of Kerr Street is the bridge of Stockbridge, crossing the Water of Leith, which was built in 1801.

On the south bank of the Water of Leith are the Jubilee Gardens which every Sunday is home to the new Stockbridge Market.

We had a wander around the stalls and I was very tempted to buy some ales from the newly award-winning Eden Brewery, but with a bag already full of bread (and camera gear) I decided to save that treat for another week.

On our way out we spotted the very stylish Steampunk Coffee Volkswagen Transporter reflecting the setting sun.

Across the bridge from the market are the old premises of the Edinburgh Savings Bank with its distinctive clock tower, now a branch of Pizza Express.

We made our way across the Stockbridge, pausing to take a photo of the sign.

We continued along Deanhaugh Street which becomes Raeburn Place, and turned off at Portgower Place for Inverleith Park.

At one end of the pond hungry swans and seagulls were congregating around a girl with a bag of breadcrumbs.

After a quick walk around the pond we returned to Raeburn Place via North Park Terrace and Comely Bank Road, where a vintage shop called GirCo caught our eye.

As did the macarons in Patisserie Madeleine!

The light was fading fast now so we started to make our way home, pausing for a couple of photos on Drummond Place of the old globe-style lights and the deep blue sky reflected in the windows.