Dean Village is a hidden gem and a delight to visit for anyone visiting Edinburgh. Here you will find a scenic oasis of tranquillity just five minutes away from Princes Street in the West End.
The cobbled narrow streets lead you to various turreted buildings and cute city gardens around the village, which is so close yet so far removed from the main thoroughfare of Scotland’s capital.
Dean Village sits by the Water of Leith and meanders for nearly 20 miles through Edinburgh from Balerno at the foot of the Pentland Hills to the sea at Leith. The walkway follows the Water of Leith past many plaques and historic sites which celebrate its heritage, where water mills facilitated bread baking and various savoury products which many people still enjoy today.
There were 11 working water mills in the 17th Century that were ideally situated to feed the population at that time. You will find various plaques such as bakers’ shovels that give you clues to the main industry here many years ago.
Thomas Telford designed Dean Bridge and St Bernard’s Well which was built in 1760. William Nelson, a publisher, purchased St Bernard’s Well as a gift to benefit the citizens of Edinburgh. A plaque commemorating his public spirit and generosity was erected by the Lord Provost and Council of the City of Edinburgh.
You can take the weight of your feet by virtue of many memorial benches that are placed to honour those who enjoyed life’s simple pleasures by relaxing and absorbing the unique features around the Water of Leith. Some of these seats date back to the 1930s from Polish immigrants and have been lovingly kept and restored for people to enjoy to this day.
It’s worth noting that there are no cafes or toilet facilities here, so you will have to head back towards Princes Street if necessary.