"Sittin' on the dock of the bay"


Portobello is a beach resort located three miles (5 km) to the east of the city centre of Edinburgh, along the coast of the Firth of Forth, in Scotland. It is now a suburb of Edinburgh, with a promenade fronting on to the wide sand beach. Its heyday as a resort was almost certainly in the late 19th century, and it was in slow decline throughout the 20th century. Its attraction was mainly limited to the inhabitants of Edinburgh, but some claim it was an attraction to Glaswegians, particularly when the Glasgow Fair "trade holiday" signalled the start of a 2 week holiday for the west. By the 1960s it had evolved into an area of amusement arcades and some permanent funfair attractions. From the 1980s onwards these also gradually disappeared and by the end of the 20th century the Promenade had almost no attractions specific to its seaside location, although the Tower Amusements and Fun City amusement arcades remain as the only 'seaside attractions' to this day.

But the beginning of the 21st century has seen a rapid revival of Portobello's fortunes. Perhaps helped by tourism and council initiatives, but also by a wealth of bottom-up community action, Portobello beach can be as crowded on a summer's day now as it was in the photos from the 19th century. The community action spurring this regeneration is taking many forms: from the arts group 'Big Things on the Beach' with events that have attracted thousands to the Prom to 'Portobello Open Doors' Village fair, and from PEDAL (Portobello Transition Towns) Community Market, Community Orchard and Car Free Day to the revived Portobello Kayaking and Sailing Club (PSKC) bringing a very active groups of adults and children in a range of sailing dinghies and kayaks to the beach. PSKC incorporates RowPorty who have built two St Ayles rowing skiffs, Ice Breaker and Jenny Skylark. The skiffs are part of a renaissance in traditional rowing around the coast of Scotland, and were built by local people and craftsmen. Over the years, the water quality in the area has improved, thanks largely by the decision to stop dumping Edinburgh's sewage into the sea.

Local authority: City of Edinburgh Council

OS Grid Reference: NT305738

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Things to see and do in and around Portobello

  • Orcadia Trampoline Centre
  • Tumbles at Portobello
  • Clown Around Indoor Play Centre
  • Craigmillar Castle
  • Shawfair Pottery
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • Our Dynamic Earth
  • Royal Commonwealth Pool and Clambers
  • The Museum of Edinburgh
  • Invergordon Distillers Ltd
  • Huntly House Museum
  • The People's Story Museum
  • People's Story Museum
  • Jamboree Adventure Soft Play
  • Geoffrey (Tailor) Highland Crafts
  • John Knox House
  • Museum of Childhood
  • Museum of Childhood
  • Brass Rubbing Centre
  • Creative Connections
  • Serenity Scotland
  • Auld Reekie Tours
  • Mercat Walking Tours of Edinburgh
  • St Cecilias Hall Museum of Instruments
  • James Pringle Weavers
  • Sandemans Edinburgh Free Tour
  • Inveresk Lodge Garden
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Biggar Gasworks Museum
  • Royal Museum

Tourist Information

Edinburgh Information Centre
above Waverley Shopping Centre
3 Princes Street

Phone 08452 255 121
Email info@visitscotland.com

Photos are automatically tagged by geographic coordinate proximity and/or are submitted by website visitors, and may not necessarily be specifically of Portobello.


Forecast for Monday 20 May


Chance of rain 4%
Max temp. 11°C
(feels like 9°C)
Wind 2mph, gusting to 3mph.
Pressure 1012
Humidity 84%
UV Index
Air Quality


Chance of rain 5%
Max temp. 13°C
(feels like 12°C)
Wind 1mph, gusting to 3mph.
Pressure 1013
Humidity 73%
UV Index
Air Quality


Chance of rain 28%
Max temp. 15°C
(feels like 14°C)
Wind 1mph, gusting to 3mph.
Pressure 1013
Humidity 67%
UV Index
Air Quality


Chance of rain 29%
Max temp. 15°C
(feels like 15°C)
Wind 2mph, gusting to 3mph.
Pressure 1013
Humidity 65%
UV Index
Air Quality


Chance of rain 30%
Max temp. 14°C
(feels like 13°C)
Wind 2mph, gusting to 4mph.
Pressure 1013
Humidity 72%
UV Index
Air Quality


Chance of rain 11%
Max temp. 12°C
(feels like 11°C)
Wind 2mph, gusting to 3mph.
Pressure 1015
Humidity 86%
UV Index n/a
Air Quality
Five Day Weather

Nearby coastal places and features

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Accomodation in and around Portobello

Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs


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