There’s so much to see in Bruntsfield in Edinburgh: cosy brunch spots, boutiques, and even a detour to the Wild West!
Have you ever been to Bruntsfield in Edinburgh? If not, you may be missing out.
But before I go any further, let me confess. This post isn’t just about Bruntsfield. It’s also about nearby Morningside, and little sprinkle of Marchmont too. These areas are all pretty close to each other and so it made sense to group them together in one comprehensive city guide. So what can I tell you about them?
Well, one thing I love about Edinburgh is that however well you think you know the city, it can show you a new side and make you fall in love with it all over again. In a city of nearly infinite nooks and crannies, there is much to be discovered in Bruntsfield, Morningside and Marchmont. Gorgeous brunch spots? Charming boutiques? The Wild West? Ding, ding, ding. You can find all of these gems right here.
Why visit Bruntsfield in Edinburgh?
In short, it’s always worthwhile stepping outside of the areas of the city you know like the back of your hand and seeing what’s wider afield. Yes, the centre of Edinburgh is beautiful. Beautiful like it’s been picked up and placed in a frame in the National Galleries of Scotland. However, it’s not the only space in the city worth paying attention to; there’s a lot going on in Edinburgh outside of the city centre.
Morningside and Bruntsfield in Edinburgh are two areas of the city that you may not have visited before. However, they’re absolutely worth making the trip for. If you want to really get under the skin of the city and see more than the bog-standard tourist hotspots then give them a try!
Bruntsfield in Edinburgh
Where is Bruntsfield?
Located less than a mile from the west end of Princes Street, Bruntsfield in Edinburgh can be found to the south west of the city centre. Walk another ten minutes from Tollcross and you’re there.
What is Bruntsfield like?
Brimming with cosy brunch spots, cafes, and independent boutiques that will entice you with their window wares, Brunstfield in Edinburgh is a pocket-sized cultural hub that’s chilled and cool. It’s an affluent area but it also feels pretty eclectic, with lots of different ages and demographics milling around.
Bruntsfield: did you know?
Bruntsfield recently featured in the movie Trainspotting 2. The flat that Sick Boy lived in located in the rather plush Montpelier Park in Bruntsfield. I do wonder how he could afford a place there as it’s not exactly cheap. However, I’m suspending my disbelief for now. Unless it belonged to his girlfriend in the film?
Morningside in Edinburgh
Where is Morningside?
Morningside is also located in the south of the city, which is rumoured to be where the aea gets its name from. It gets the morning sun in the ‘morningside’ of the city if you see what I mean. If you get to Bruntsfield, just keep on walking and you’ll arrive in Morningside in no time.
What is Morningside like?
Morningside has a rep for being a little bit fancy. I read this great article which jokes how the three supermarkets of choice in the area – Waitrose, Sainsburys, and Marks & Spencer – give you an idea of the vibe. So it is upmarket, yes, but it’s also got some hidden quirks that are a bit more unexpected!
Morningside: did you know?
If you’ve read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark you’ll know that Morningside is her stomping ground. The area also used to be served by Edinburgh’s original tram system from 1872 and the 1950s.
OK, so we’re up to speed on some key facts about Bruntsfield and Morningside. Now let’s take a look at what the best things to do are there…
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Things to do in Morningside and Bruntsfield Edinburgh
Visit the Wild West in Morningside
You may be wondering what I’m talking about. The wild west… in Edinburgh? Thankfully I haven’t lost my mind. Nope, the wild west is actually a real place in Edinburgh. It’s a whole street that looks like it has been lifted out of a John Wayne movie. So how did it happen to be here in Scotland? Good question. Well, it was created by a South Western Furniture Company in the 90s as an advertising gimmick, which I just love!
To find it you’ll have to walk right into Morningside. It’s tucked away down a side street on the right side of the road and then off an alleyway just off Springvalley Gardens. There are no sign posts, so you’ll probably think you’re a bit lost and meandering aimlessly around this residential area… and then you clock it. I actually think we thought we were wandering onto private property until we realised this was it!
So what will you see there? It’s actually pretty damn cool. Probably even more cool than I thought. There’s a saloon, jail, cantina and stables, and even though it’s a little bit scruffy these days it’s still really intriguing, just because it is so unexpected. It’s definitely a bit of a hidden gem. Two other people appeared when we were there but it doesn’t seem like it’s this big tourist hotspot or anything. If you’re looking for unusual things to do in Edinburgh that are a bit quirky and off the beaten track then this is definitely one to try!
Some Tripadvisor reviews say it’s not all that (yawn..) but I quite enjoyed the rundown ghost town vibes. It’s not every day you get the feeling you’ve stepped into the film set for a western movie so I was all for it!
Eat brunch at Honeycomb & Co
Visiting Bruntsfield Edinburgh? You simply have to get brunch here!
My sister used to live in Bruntsfield in Edinburgh until a couple of years ago, and she always used to tell me about this place called Honeycomb & Co in Bruntsfield. Apparently, it was the best brunch in town and the coffee was amazing! So the last time I visited Edinburgh I made sure we made a point of going here.
This was when lockdown had opened up again and, of course, we hadn’t booked, so we weren’t able to get seats inside. After six months of lockdown they were in much too high demand! We did manage to get some seats outside, however. It was a bit brisk, shall we say, but I was more than happy to power through if it meant getting to eat here!
So what to order? This was tough. The menu is divine. It’s not just your usual brunch stuff, or if it is, it’s done with a bit of a twist. There’s cheesy mushroom toast, a full cooked breakfast, avocado, and shakshuka, which is what my sister ordered. There’s even mac ‘n’ cheese with sourdough for dipping. I mean that’s a game changer for brunch!
In the end I went for the French toast. But this was no ordinary French toast. It was actually a savoury twist on the dish, which swerved the typical sweet maple syrup topping for something altogether more interesting. That was: double cream, bacon, sweet chilli and pepper jam, tahini yoghurt and dukkah. What is dukkah you may be wondering? Well, it’s a middle eastern condiment made using a mix of spices, and it’s delicious. So much yum!
You can view the Honeycomb & Co menu right here
Honeycomb & Co
1 Merchiston Pl
Edinburgh EH10 4NP
Where to eat in Bruntsfield
Of course there are numerous other places to eat in Bruntsfield. In fact, you’ll probably be spoiled for choice! Here are a few of my top places to eat and drink in Bruntsfield…
- Montpeliers – a bit of a Bruntsfield institution and the perfect spot for on-street alfresco dining
- Cafe Grande – I can personally attest to the avocado on toast here being divine – it does it busy however!
- Seeds for the Soul – 100% vegan cafe in Bruntsfield with Biscoff hot chocolate on their menu. Mmmm.
Where to eat in Morningside
Where would I recommend in Morningside? There are a few places! We actually tried to go to Salt Cafe but it was packed out. I’d definitely love to go back though.
- Salt Café in Morningside – stylish décor and a great brunch menu
- Leaf & Bean Café – stop by for buttery breakfast pastries and good coffee
- La’ Telve – the cheerful yellow décor is as inviting as the food
Get cupcakes from Cuckoo’s Bakery
Be better than me: don’t skip the cupcakes when you visit Bruntsfield in Edinburgh. I remember walking past here and my sister pointing out that Cuckoo’s Bakery was really nice and we should probably go at one point. Unfortunately, we’d just stuffed ourselves with brunch at Honeycomb & Co, so we weren’t really in a position for shovelling down a cupcake as well. However, Cuckoo’s Bakery in Bruntsfield is a pretty big deal. They have nearly 14k followers on Instagram, which tells you just how much of a big deal they are.
So what can I tell you about it? Well, Cuckoo’s Bakery is most famous for its cupcakes. They come in a whole host of flavours! There’s Nutella cheesecake cupcakes, Jammie Hearts cupcakes, Highland Coo cupcakes, Oreo and chocolate cupcakes, and loads more. They also have a selection of gluten free cupcakes, vegan cupcakes, and non-dairy milks to try if you want to sit in and enjoy your cupcake with a coffee. You can also order celebration cakes if you have a special occasion coming up, which also look amazing!
OK, so you might be wondering whether Cuckoo’s Bakery offers delivery. The good news is it does, although only in the local area. If you’re within the Edinburgh bypass, however, then you’re in luck! This place really is a highlight of Bruntsfield in Edinburgh and can’t wait for lockdown to open up again so I can visit!
16 Bruntsfield Place
Edinburgh EH10 4ES
Sniff out a bargain in the Morningside charity shops
I daydream of the days I can go back to the charity shops in Morningside. When I was a student here they were a regular haunt of mine and I remember picking up some really nice pieces over the years. There was one striped cardigan that I found in one of the charity shops here I pretty much wore to death during my student days. What a find that was!
In short, charity shops in Edinburgh are a whole different class. The Stockbridge charity shops are well known for being stocked with hidden treasures (and are definitely on the list to visit once we can get back to normal) and Morningside charity shops are also really good. It was exciting to have a chance to revisit them during a recent trip to Edinburgh.
So what charity shops are there in Morningside? Well, there’s a Shelter, Save the Children, Cancer Research UK, British Red Cross, and lots more. Although we didn’t actually buy anything this time there were definitely a lot to look at, from books, to ornaments, to second hand clothes. I’m in no doubt that there are some serious treasures to find!
Explore the Bruntsfield boutiques
Bruntsfield in Edinburgh has its own vibe when it comes to shopping. If you’re bored of all the chain stores of Princes Street or want something with a little more independent charm than the latest glitzy shopping mall (mentioning no names!) then give the shops in Bruntsfield a go. You won’t be disappointed!
Home décor fanatics may be drawn to Nordic Living by Biehl in Bruntsfield, which always has gorgeous window displays of all these beautiful scandi pieces that make me want everything. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s a great place for inspiration. I think my sister had to move away from Bruntsfield just so she didn’t spend all her money here. There’s also clothing store Biscuit which will have you going ‘oh crumbs’ over all their beautiful window wares. Curiouser and Curiouser is the place to go for all your prints, jewellery, and homewares needs and there’s also the temptation of the Victoria & George Antique Furniture Store.
- Nordic Living by Biehl – a beautifully presented scandi-style interior design shop
- Biscuit Clothing & Living – upmarket, covetable clothes that I challenge you to be able to walk past
- Curiouser and Curiouser – stock up on prints and homewares by Scottish artists and makers
Cut through Bruntsfield Links into the Meadows
Ah, you haven’t done Edinburgh properly if you haven’t been to the Meadows. You can jump into the Meadows by crossing Bruntsfield Links, the small green which joins up with the Meadows proper. A vast, green space in the centre of the city, the Meadows are a haven away from the bustle and business of the city centre. If you want to escape the crowds for a while and revel in some open space then come here!
The landscape of the Meadows shifts with every season and that means that the tree-lined avenues are always wearing a slightly different outfit. Whether that’s the fluffy pastel pink of the cherry blossoms in spring or the fiery red crunchiness of the leaves underfoot in autumn, the Meadows are amazing 365 days of the year.
Wander through them in summer and you’ll spot people playing tennis or clustered in groups cooking BBQs and surreptitiously sipping on booze. In August the grass will be crowded with big top tents for the festival, as well as many street performers who will be sure to charm you out of your spare change as you walk past.
Catch a movie at the Dominion Cinema
I love an independent cinema. You may have heard of the Cameo in Tollcross in Edinburgh, which is a wonderful arthouse cinema I used to frequent for all my favourite indie movies. There’s just something infinitely charming about a cinema that’s packed with history and hasn’t sold its soul to giant-sized drinks and popcorn that costs the earth. The Cameo is still going, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to go and see something there again.
But what if I told you there was also a beautiful art deco cinema tucked away in Morningside? The Dominion Cinemag is located just off the main road on Newbattle Terrace in the heart of Morningside, and has been a part of the city for over 75 years. The cinema first opened in 1938 with a seating capacity of 1300 people. It was designed in an art deco style by architect Thomas Bowhill Gibson and its charm and character is all part of its appeal – just take a look at these cute sketches of the exterior which really goes to show how different it is to your chain store cinemas.
It’s now run as a four-screen venue and is listed as a category B building and it’s family run, with the same family heading it up ever since it first opened nearly 100 years ago. One final fact is that the cinema has only closed twice in its lifetime; once during WWII when there were concerns over air raids and, of course, in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Once this is all over, it’s another place I would love to go and visit again.
Edinburgh EH10 4RT
Take a dip at Warrender Baths
Rich with history and charm, these iconic Victorian baths are an iconic part of the local area. Although actually known as the Warrender Swim Centre, I much prefer their traditional name: the Warrender Baths.
I used to live down the road from these swimming baths when I was a student and I would go as often as I could. Turns out that was surprisingly regularly – anything is better than studying or writing an essay when you really don’t want to, right? Anyway, these are old fashioned swimming baths that have retained plenty of charm. None of these soulless boxes with no history – these swimming baths are a real piece of the past.
Located in nearby Marchmont, Edinburgh, you’ll first spot the old-fashioned Victorian architecture at the front. They were first opened in 1887 by Sir George Warrender, the 6th Baronet, and are home to what’s said to be one of the oldest, most famous, and most successful swimming clubs in Edinburgh. Seriously, there are whole heap of Olympic medal winners that have trained here! I don’t know too much about competitive swimming but Olympic gold medallist David Wilkie swam and trained with the club, which is pretty cool!
Inside, there’s a 23-metre pool, a selection of fitness equipment, and a sauna, which is where I spent a lot of time. It’s a not a massive space – all the changing cubicles are dotted around the outside of the pool rather than in a separate area – but it’s perfectly fine and I actually quite like the old-fashioned poolside vibes. Next thing you know we’ll all be in our Victorian striped bathing suits. In all seriousness, though, if you’ve got a rainy day on your hands or you just fancy a bit of pool and sauna time, come here for some old-style charm.