Edinburgh’s Costa del Sol, Portobello

Once a thriving seaside resort to rival anything abroad the years have not been particularly kind to Portobello. Lying to the north east of the city centre, it’s now a mainly run down largely depressing place. It’s still heaving on warm sunny days but when the weather starts to turn there’s not a lot to draw the crowds down here these days. Sad to think it was one of the main tourist destinations of the city but now few tourists will ever see it.



This used to be a thriving entertainment centre, it had a mini theme park attached and it’s arcade games drew in the crowds, these days it’s a dingy place with a little used ten pin blowling alley and a collection of ageing arcade and fuit machines. Not quite the “Funpark” it’s name claims.

Directions to Portobello

Directions to Portobello

Signpost outside the Funpark, leading the unwary to the delight of Portobello. Blackpool it isn’t.


The Puggy

Inside Nobles Amusements, I’d have liked to have taken more but the security guy was on my back as soon as he clocked a camera. One of the few places you can still play prize bingo. Funnily enough, these machines actually seem to pay out, there were plenty of willing punters ready to give it a shot too.

"Traditional" Fish and Chips

"Traditional" Fish and Chips

Fish and chips and the beach, it just goes together doesn’t it? Sad to say, the produce wasn’t as traditional as they advertise, chips shouldn’t be in polystyrene boxes!

Walking the Beach

Walking the Beach

Possibly the highlight of Portobello. When the tide goes out you can walk along the beach beyond the breakwaters. These days the beach is pretty clean but it did have a reputation of being rather manky in years gone past.

Portobello Baths

Portobello Baths

I suppose strictly it should be titled the Portobello Swim Centre, but in years gone by this was always referred to at the Porty Baths. My dad attempted to teach me to swim here many years ago. Quite a grand building inside it’s quite good it’s still here and not gone like the old outdoor pool which is now a set of 5 a side pitches.

Flying a Kite at Portobello

Flying a Kite at Portobello

Finally to finish this is a great shot to illustrate Portobello. It’s cold down here in late autumn/winter. It’s a fairly exposed position here on the Forth, bring a coat if it’s not July or August. You’ll need it.

This entry was posted by Grant.

2 thoughts on “Edinburgh’s Costa del Sol, Portobello

  1. err bollocks sorry I live in leith and go to Porty frequently often up to 3 times a week and I’m always struck by the number of foreign visitors on the bus there or waiting at the bus stop. In my experience many more foreign people make the effort to go down there. One of my favourite memories of Porty is going down in the summer and my tastebuds being tatalized by an African barbeque being held by a familyon the beach.Porty is a wonderful open space with lots of interesting old nooks and crannies. It has a great community spirit one of the few places in the UK which managd to stop a vast Tesco’s being built there. I think its interesting that you have used B&W to emphasise the ‘drabness’ where as I find it in colour full of interesting skies, changing light.I’ve got lots of colour medium format of Porty on my blog. Oh and you didn’t mention the joy of walking at night along the prom and seeing the lighhouses in the Forth.

    • Each to their own I suppose. I’ve lived in Edinburgh all my life and have some very early memories of Porty. A trip to Porty was a treat back then and when you look at the prom area, which should be the main focal point of the place it’s tired and at times plain grotty. I do appreciate though the work that’s gone in to get the beach up to scratch but the place needs some serious investment. I used B&W, not to emphasise “drabness” but because it’s the style I want to use for this blog. Either mono or desaturated colour. I do a lot of other work in vibrant colour and want this project to be a little different. It’s all a personal viewpoint, as is photography in general. I’m glad though you felt strong enough to post, I suppose that means the blog got noticed which is better then drifting off into internet obscurity.

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