Leith (Edinburgh) Scotland, May 2020

12–14 May 2020

The next IMCoS UK visit will be based in Leith, Edinburgh’s historic port which has been undergoing considerable regeneration over the last twenty years, now rebranded as Edinburgh’s Waterfront. IMCoS has visited Edinburgh before and this will give a different perspective of the city, as well as offering hotels which are quite close together and only about 15 minutes by bus from Edinburgh city centre. Leith is recognised as Edinburgh’s foodie quarter, with two restaurants with a Michelin star, and many gastropubs, notably specialising in fish dishes.

There will also be a day excursion by coach through the Scottish Borders to visit Drumlanrig Castle (63 miles / 100Km).

Because of the capacity of the venues, numbers are limited to 30, so early booking is advised (booking opens in November).

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trinity House of Leith: a maritime institution which dates back to the 14th century, housed in a Regency architectural gem.
  • National Library of Scotland Maps Reading Room: displays of maps from private, institutional and business collections, introduced by map curator Paula Williams.
  • Wanlockhead Lead Mining Museum: the highest village in Scotland.
  • Drumlanrig Castle: view estate plans with Prof David Munro in the late 17th century Dumfriesshire home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch & Queensberry.
  • The Great Polish Map of Scotland, a huge outdoor relief model.

 

PROGRAMME

Tuesday 12 May

  • Travel to Leith.
  • There will be two (optional) opportunities to meet up informally with other participants in the evening. Meet in a local pub at 17.30-18.00 for a walk around old Leith for about an hour. This will finish at a restaurant at 19.30 where those who do not wish to walk may join us (please note this meal is not included in price).

Wednesday 13 May

  • Morning: Visit to Trinity House of Leith, originally founded in the 14th century by mariners. This small architectural gem, built in 1816, holds nautical memorabilia contributed by its members, portraits, ship models, navigation instruments and some sea charts, although the bulk of the chart collection is now held in the archives of Historic Environment Scotland, who took over care of the property in 2001. A nautically inspired plaster ceiling is remarkable.

99 Kirkgate, Leith EH6 6BJ  https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/trinity-house/history/

  • Afternoon: Visit the Maps Reading Room, National Library of Scotland. The focus of the display will be examples from several different collections – private, institutional and business, introduced by map curator Paula Williams. This will finish by 16.30.

Causewayside Building, 33 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SL  https://www.nls.uk/using-the-library/location-maps#cb

  • Evening: free time. Explore Edinburgh, or you may wish to try one of Leith’s Michelin restaurants (advance booking is usually necessary) or there are several good gastro-pubs to choose from.

Thursday 14 May

  • Morning: There is an early start about 8.15-8.45 to drive through the Scottish Borders to Dumfriesshire in south west Scotland, to visit Drumlanrig, a seat of the Dukes of Buccleuch & Queensberry. On the way we shall stop for a couple of hours at Wanlockhead Lead Mining Museum (tea/coffee and cakes on arrival). This is the highest village in Scotland and the site of mining for several centuries (lead, copper, silver and gold). There will be an optional mine visit underground plus a guided tour of cottages, fitted out as they would have been in the 18th, 19th and early 20th Another cottage houses the second oldest subscription library in Britain, founded in 1756 (the oldest is a mile down the road in the aptly named village of Leadhills); in spite of the remoteness of the location and appalling working conditions the miners were highly literate. For those less able to walk or to go underground, there is an excellent museum, which covers the social history of the village and also a display of mining equipment.

Walking shoes or robust trainers will be needed as there is rough terrain in the mine. Waterproof clothing is desirable in case of bad weather, or drips within the mine.  https://www.leadminingmuseum.co.uk/

  • Afternoon: There will be a short time for a soup and sandwiches lunch at Drumlanrig, before splitting into two groups. Professor David Munro has been researching the Drumlanrig estate plans for many years during his retirement and will introduce us to the map collections, assisted by the Duke’s archivist. Professor Munro was formerly a lecturer at Glasgow University, then Director-Secretary of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. While one group views the maps the other group will have a guided tour of the castle, then swap. If time and weather permit, a short walk in the grounds may be possible before leaving about 16.30.  https://www.drumlanrigcastle.co.uk/
  • Evening: On the return journey we shall stop at the Barony Castle Hotel, for a reception and dinner. This is in a striking building, dating from 1715, and the Great Polish Map of Scotland is in the grounds of the hotel. The map is claimed to be ‘the world’s largest 3D terrain relief model of a complete nation’. This outdoor relief map was built in the 1970s in gratitude for Scotland’s welcome and support for Polish people during World War II.

We shall arrive back in Leith about 22.00-22.30.  http://www.mapascotland.org/home/

Friday 15 May

Although the organised IMCoS programme finishes on Thursday, you may also wish to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia. The visit may take about 2-3 hours, but this could still allow time to return south by train in the afternoon. The train to London takes 4½ – 5 hours.  Book online at: https://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/

 

SUGGESTED HOTELS

Coach pick-up for the excursion on Thursday is from these three hotels.

  • Premier Inn, 51-53 Newhaven Place, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 4TX.

This budget hotel has a quiet scenic location on the seafront beside the old fishing harbour of Newhaven, with wonderful views across the Forth Estuary and a distant sight of the Forth Bridges.

About 15-20 minutes walk to Leith, but there are regular bus services. The Skylink 200 bus from Edinburgh airport passes nearby at Newhaven harbour.

Prices from about £52 per room without breakfast. Free car parking. No air-conditioning.

https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/scotland/lothian/edinburgh/edinburgh-leith-waterfront.html

  • Holiday Inn Express, Britannia Way, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ.

This mid-price hotel has a noisier and less scenic location than Premier Inn but offers more services and is closer to Leith meeting places.

It is at the terminus of Skylink 200 bus from Edinburgh airport (about 45 minutes), near Royal Yacht Britannia and Ocean Terminal shopping mall. (NB. Ocean Terminal’s new owners plan to change its name to Porta).

Prices about £100+ per room including breakfast.

https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/gb/en/edinburgh/edblh/hoteldetail#scmisc=nav_hoteldetail_ex

  • Malmaison, 1 Tower Place, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 7BZ

This 4-star ‘boutique’ hotel is in an imposing building overlooking Leith Harbour, renovated from the former Seamen’s Mission. Closest to Leith meeting places. Near to bus routes from city centre, but not on an airport link.

From £100+ per room.

https://www.malmaison.com/locations/edinburgh/rooms-suites/

 

TRAVEL

RAIL: Waverley station. There are regular buses from Princes Street to Leith (about 15-20 minutes).  The London-Edinburgh train takes 4½ – 5 hours

AIR: The Premier Inn and Holiday Inn are on the Skylink 200 bus route from Edinburgh Airport (half hourly service, taking about 45 minutes). For Malmaison take the tram or Skylink100 bus into the city centre, then a local bus, but a taxi is easier.

BUSES: Skylink services: https://www.lothianbuses.com/our-services/airport-buses/  Exact fare is required in cash, but some buses now have card payment.

TAXIS: Cost about £10+ from the station, or about £25 from the airport.

 

RESTAURANTS

If you wish to enjoy the Michelin star restaurants, do book in advance.

  • Restaurant Martin Wishart is more formal and has held a Michelin star since 2001, offering French-style cuisine. Various menu prices from lunch £35 to several different tasting menus around £100.   https://restaurantmartinwishart.co.uk/
  • The Kitchin (chef Tom Kitchin is also French trained) has a more relaxed atmosphere, concentrates on local seasonal produce, and offers various prices, from lunch (around £36) to tasting menu (£170). Opened in 2006, a Michelin star was awarded in 2007. https://thekitchin.com/

 

COST & BOOKING

COST:  £115 per person

This includes:

  • All entry fees on Wednesday and Thursday
  • Coach travel on Thursday in an executive coach with on-board toilet
  • Food on Thursday:
    • morning coffee/tea & cakes
    • soup & sandwich lunch
    • wine reception and dinner

Booking can be made using the attached form, or by completing the online option below.

PS.  Don’t worry if it thanks you for the Annual Dinner or something – it is for Leith 2020!
Menu