Queen Margaret University to Leith, Edimburgh

The aim of the walk is to enjoy Edinburgh’s suburbs, outlying areas, and Green Belt setting (while it still exists) by making use of footpaths, tracks, disused railway lines and riverbanks, ascending mine tips, passing alongside farmland, docks and seafronts, and heading through quiet housing-estates as well as shopping-centres and University campus. This one-way walk goes from Wester Hailes to Kaimes and represents the leg 3/5 of a stroll around Edinburgh.

This walk is part of a multi-day hike: Stroll around Edinburgh

Technical sheet

A Midlothian walk posted on 19/08/22 by Roy's Edimburg Walks. Last update : 22/08/22
  • Walking
    Activity: Walking
  • ↔
    Distance: 11.65 km
  • ◔
    Calculated time: 3h20 
  • ▲
    Difficulty: Easy

  • ∞
    Return to departure point: No
  • ↗
    Vertical gain: + 10 m
  • ↘
    Vertical drop: - 31 m

  • ▲
    Highest point: 35 m
  • ▼
    Lowest point: 3 m
  • ⚐
    District: Midlothian 
  • ⚑
    Start: N 55.933197° / W 3.072672°
  • ⚑
    End: N 55.977088° / W 3.175299°

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Start : Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

(S) From the main entrance to Queen Margaret University, and walking towards the red and white automatic barrier used by the buses. Keep ahead to cross the railway bridge and then turn immediately left along the John Muir Way. This bush-lined footpath runs parallel to the railway for a good stretch.

(1) Eventually when housing, to the right, ends the path swings right around its outer edge. Keep on along the bush-lined path to go under a high electricity power-line. Soon, at a path junction, find a rough path to the left, which leads through to zinc-cladded industrial units.

Very briefly go right, then immediately left, on a narrow path, to pass between two units. Emerge onto the main (A6095) Musselburgh Rd. Go left. Cross over, when clear of traffic, and then, at the roundabout, go right through the ornamental gates into Newhailes.

(2) Keep ahead. Past the car park on the left, is the visitor centre and stable block (cafe, toilets). The well-stocked garden centre is also worth a visit. Resume the walk by going half-right passing a picnic area and across the front of Newhailes House.

Keep-onwards to follow a path into trees, to pass a shell grotto. The path stays in the woods, eventually swinging right to reach the Brunstane entrance to the Estate. Exit the Estate grounds and turn left. Do NOT cross the Burn. Instead follow it upstream.

(3) Follow the riverside all the way to Brunstane Station, crossing under the East Coast Main Line about half way along. Turn right. Pass the cul-de-sac of Daiches Braes. Take the next street to the right (Brunstane Dr). Follow as it swings left to reach the main road.

(4) Use the handy traffic island to go straight across and into Joppa Quarry Park. Exit, beyond the play park, at the far-right onto a foot-bridge across the railway. Once over go left along the pleasant Joppa terrace. Swing right at its end. Keep on right. In a few paces, at the cross roads go left and along the curvaceous Argyll Cres. This ends at a T-junction. Ignore the rough alleyway ahead.

(5) Go left and swing right along Hope Lane North. Pass a children’s play area. Just before the Lane end bear left, through metal half-barriers, onto ‘The Christian Path’. Exit by a huge electricity pylon and turn right along the cobbled Brighton Place.

Take the next left, the delightful (Georgian) West Brighton Cres. Towards the end, go right into Rosefield Park. Follow its right hand edge. Exit by the play area. Keep ahead into Rosefield Av. Walk directly ahead towards the magnificent Old Portobello Town Hall, passing more Georgian houses and the library.

(6) At Portobello High Street turn left. Take the 3rd right, Bridge St., noting the brown memorial plaque to Harry Lauder. Follow Figgate Burn to the coast and go left along the promenade. Keep ahead to the far end, and onwards on the combined footpath/cycleway alongside the busy road.

At the railway bridge take the footpath leading straight on. At its end turn left over the level-crossing. Turn left, at the main road to retrace a few of your steps, and cross the busy main road at the pedestrian lights. A few paces up Seafield Street rise to the right onto a disused railway line.

(7) Follow the disused line right, above Seafield Cemetery, all the way to Leith Links. Descend half-left and follow the right-hand edge of the Links to bowling greens and tennis courts. Exit the Links. Keep ahead over the intricate traffic island of John’s Place, and ahead along Queen Charlotte Street.

(8) Keep ahead over Constitution Street, noting the old Town Hall and octagonal tower near the junction, to your right. Follow cobbles to a grassy/play area. Bear right along Water Street. Ahead lies Lamb’s House (Leith’s oldest building) with its Dutch gables.

Turn left, just before Lamb’s House, along Burgess Street. Go right at the river to cross over the bridge at Sandport Place.

(9) Pass the Roseleaf Pub. Turn right, down Dock Street, towards the twin spires of St. Ninian's Church. Immediately before the former church, pass the one remaining gateway to the old Citadel.

(10) At the foot of Dock Street go left to Tiso’s. (E)


  1. S : km 0 - alt. 30 m - Queen Margaret University
  2. 1 : km 0.82 - alt. 23 m - End housing
  3. 2 : km 1.42 - alt. 29 m - Newhailes
  4. 3 : km 2.8 - alt. 22 m - Burn riverside
  5. 4 : km 3.93 - alt. 34 m - Main road - Joppa Quarry Park
  6. 5 : km 5.03 - alt. 16 m - Hope Lane North
  7. 6 : km 6.21 - alt. 13 m - Portobello High Street
  8. 7 : km 9.3 - alt. 12 m - Disused railway line
  9. 8 : km 10.88 - alt. 11 m - Constitution Street
  10. 9 : km 11.46 - alt. 7 m - Roseleaf Pub
  11. 10 : km 11.57 - alt. 8 m - Old Citadel
  12. E : km 11.65 - alt. 7 m - Tiso’s

Useful Information

Start : Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Public transport :

  • Start : Queen Margaret University bus stance (Lothian 30,45)
  • End : Lothian Bus 22, Leith

Facilities :
Tiso’s has a café and toilets as well as outdoor gear.

More information at Roy's Edimburg Walks website here.

Always stay careful and alert while following a route. Visorando and the author of this walk cannot be held responsible in the event of an accident during this route.

During the walk or to do/see around

Find more information on this link here.

Also find some thoughts on urban growth. Quo Vadis Edinburgh? Click here.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.