Thursday, 3 November 2011


This beach resort on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with the intriguingly un-Scottish name of Portobello, was very popular with Victorian and Edwardian daytrippers. The resort got its name from the fact that its founder was a seaman who served under Admiral Edward Vernon in the 1739 battle of Puerto Bello in Panama. The original name of the area was the more Scottish sounding Figgate Muir, at a time when there was an expanse of moorland here. It was on this moor that William Wallace gathered his men for the campaign which would lead to the Battle of Dunbar.

There is an amusing piece of newsreel footage on the British Pathe website filmed in Portobello in 1927 depicting members of 8th Brigade taking part in a series of traditional “sports day” sports such as sack racing, three-legged racing and a kind of jousting tournament. The town, which went into something of a decline following its heyday as a resort, has had a bit of a makeover in recent years. The beach is cleaned daily and several of the imposing buildings on the promenade have been refurbished.

Map of the area.

'Portobello' photo (c) 2010, eGuide Travel - license:

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