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Short Breaks from Newcastle in general

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Ever needed to just get away, but you can't go for too long? Please tell us about your short breaks away (e.g. day trips, road trips or weekend breaks), whether it be for ultimate relaxation, or to be active and practice hobbies you may have (fishing,

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      01.03.2003 19:24
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      So, you're stuck in Newcastle and you're looking for something to do. Why not hop on the train up to Waverley Station in Edinburgh. Been there done that? Centuries of history surrounding you below an impressive, towering castle not your thing? Couldn't look at one more museum or art gallery? In short, you just don't want to visit Edinburgh, you want to visit a different town altogether. No problemo. Climb the steps from the station up to Princes St. and turn right, cross the road, and within 100 metres you are on Leith Street. Continue past the St James shopping centre and you come to Leith Walk, the road leading down to the port. You'll know when you are in Leith when you come across the Boundary Bar. One half of the pub is in Edinburgh, the other half in Leith. When the two places controlled by separate councils, the licencing hours were different and it was possible to drink for an extra 30 minutes in one side of the bar! LEITH is an ancient burgh and used to be a completely separate town from Edinburgh until it was incorporated into Edinburgh City in 1920. (against the wishes of the vast majority of the inhabitants. Leithers don't consider themselves citizens of Edinburgh, I've never actually lived there but I was born in a Leith hospital and so consider myself a Leither first. • HISTORY • At one time, Leith was Scotland's major port, trading all over the world. Along with nearby Granton, the town also supported large deep-sea fishing fleets and had an important whaling industry. Therefore, between the two ports the shoreline was lined with ship yards, dry docks and repair yards. The streets of Leith were full of shipping agents and merchants plus, as you would expect, a multitude of pubs, clubs, doss-houses and brothels. With the fishing and shipping trade moving away in the 1950's, the area declined badly and a lot of slum clearance took place
      - only to be replaced by modern slums - and the area fell into a state of decay. In recent years there has been a lot of investment in the area and its fortunes have been turned around. Many of the historic buildings that survived the 60s 'planners' have been restored and a good number of old warehouses have been converted into expensive waterfront flats. This is now one of the trendier parts of the city and is awash with fashionable bars and restaurants.....and poseurs! It is, however, a predominantly working class area and still retains a grittiness that is not hard to find. This is Begbie (of Trainspotting fame) territory and the City's red light district, so it is probably best not to stray too far from the main thoroughfares at night! Don't let that put you off visiting, just take the usual precautions and you will be perfectly safe. • Around and about • The Shore is the road which runs alongside the Water of Leith before it flows into the Firth of Forth. This street is lined with upmarket bistros and restaurants. Just east of the restored Town Hall is a public park called Leith Links which, it is claimed, was the world's first official golf course. The rules of the game were drawn up here in 1744 by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, ten years before St. Andrew's formalized them. Lamb's House is a well preserved house in which Mary, Queen of Scots spent her first night in Scotland on her return in 1561. The Royal Yacht Brittanica is docked at Commercial Quay where there are canals and fountains surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants. Some photographs of the port and it's buildings can be viewed at; http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/towns/moretpix292.html • EATING AND DRINKING • Prices indicated are for a two course meal excluding drinks; (1) under £10 (2) £10-20 (3) over £20 Kings Wark, 36 The Shore. (2) This is one of the oldest pubs in Leith, dating from the early 17th century and has not changed much since. It has an historic atmosphere and serves excellent food. Open daily from noon till midnight. Fishers 1, The Shore (2) This is one of the best fish restaurants in town and can be very busy. The restaurant is situated in an old windmill with good views of the harbour. Open daily, noon till 2330. The Shore, 3-4 The Shore (2) Another excellent fish restaurant with massive windows overlooking the Water of Leith. Occasional live music. Open dailly 1100-2400. The Vintners Rooms, 87 Giles St. (3) The restaurant and bar are situated in former wine vaults dating from the 1600's. the rooms are lit by candlelight and are very romantic. The menu is French and the food and the service are top class. A cheaper option is lunch in the bar. Open Mon-Sat 1200-1400 and 1900-2230. www.thevintnersrooms.co.uk The Rock, 78 Commercial Street. (3) A converted waterfront warehouse, one of many but one of the best. Fine Scottish cuisine in a modern setting. Open Tues-Sat 1200-1400 and 1830 2200 Skippers 1a, Dock Place (2) Yet another establishment specializing in seafood. Small with a nautical theme, booking is recommended. www.skippers.co.uk The Village 16, South Fort Street. A modern cafe bar and gallery which also has live music and events. www.bevillage.com Brittania Spice 150, Commercial Street. (2) Indian, Nepalese and Thai food in a bright, nautically themed restaurant. www.brittaniaspice.com Carriers Quarters 42, Bernard Street (1) Leith's oldest unaltered pub dating from 1785, serving traditional pub fare. Guiliano's on the Shore 1, Commercial St. (2) A popular Italian eatery with live music. Open dailly noon-2300. Martin Wishart Resta
      urant 54, The Shore. (3) One of the best restaurants in Edinburgh with a French influenced menu. They do a 12.50 GBP set lunch menu for a less expensive option. Open Tues-Fri 1200-1400 and 1900-2200, Sat1900-2200 (fitz)Henry 19, Shore Place (2) This warehouse brasserie has a Michelin award for it's original Scottish cooking. Open Mon-Sat 1230-1430 and 1830-2230. La Carmargue 23 Commercial St. (2) Excellent French cuisine, open dailly 1900-2300. Kublai Khan's Mongolian Barbecue 43, Assembly St. (2) Interesting eating experience with dishes including roast yak and curried ostrich. Denzler's 121, Constitution St. (2) Popular Swiss restaurant with elegant decor. Open Tues0Sat 1200-1400 and 1830-2200 Cafe Truva The Shore. (1) Cheap and cheerful Turkish dishes for less than 5 GBP The above list is only a small sample of pubs and restaurants in Leith. The opening hours of the pubs vary to suit shift workers and you can find somewhere open at any time of the day or night. • SHOPPING and ATTRACTIONS • Ocean Terminal This 444,000 sq.ft. shopping centre development is anchored by Debenhams department store, including a large roof-top restaurant, Bhs, 12-screen cinema complex, Conran Restaurants, and the UK's biggest tourist attraction, the Royal Yacht Britannia is moored alongside. www.oceanterminal.co.uk Leith Mills 70-74 Bangor Road Large outlet selling thousands of items including kiltware, crystal, gifts, golf merchandise and much much more. Flux 55 Bernard Street Scottish Artisans Gallery Shop selling a wide and often unique range of contemporary hand-crafted products. www.get-to-flux.co.uk Leith Walks Have a walk round Leith and discover its heritage. There is an excellent guided tour of the best of the shore, with others available in Edinburgh and the Pentl
      and Hills. Meeting point opposite The Ship on the Shore. www.leithwalks.co.uk The Royal Yacht Brittania Open every day. Take a tour round the Royal Yacht Britannia at its home berth on Edinburgh's Waterfront. www.royalyachtbrittania.co.uk Scotch Malt Whisky Society 87 Giles St. Whisky tastings for groups of all sizes, within a fabulous 18th century building. www.smws.com The Leith Gallery 65 The Shore Leading gallery in Scottish Contemporary Art. Frequently changing exhibits in a welcoming environment. www.the-leith-gallery.co.uk There are also several busy shopping streets with a huge range of services as Leith has it's own town centre where Leith Walk, Great Junction St. and Constitution St. meet. • HOTELS • Malmaison 1 Tower Place Modern hotel www.malmaison.com Holiday Inn Express Ocean Drive Newly built www.hiex-edinburgh.com Travel Inn Pier Place Lodge style www.travelinn.co.uk There are several Bed and breakfast choices; for more information contact http://www.edinburgh.org/ Leith is probably not on the usual tourist trail but if you are in Edinburgh it is well worth a visit. A 20 minute stroll down Leith Walk, which is lined with shops, bars and restaurants, for a spot of lunch is well worth the effort. There are frequent bus services from Princes St. to the foot of the Walk and a cab will only cost £2 or £3. Thanks for reading ©proxam2003

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