Hip(ea)ster Road: 6 reasons why Leith is among UK’s ‘most trendy’ locations

Leith Depot in Leith Walk. Picture: Peter Mason
Leith Depot in Leith Walk. Picture: Peter Mason
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It’s not news to those that live there of course, but Leith’s cultural stock has never been higher.

So much so in fact that this week it was named one of the UK’s top ‘hipster hotspots’ thanks to its thriving arts scene and on-going regeneration.

Property experts Zoopla, which came up with the list, also took into account the rising value of Leith’s properties, which it said grew on average 13.49 per cent over the last five years.

The accolade comes amid a gradual transformation which has seen a host of new arts venues, restaurants and cafes move into the historic port as it continues to shake the ‘Trainspotting’ image.

Suzanne Shanny, manager of one of Leith Walk’s newest pub’s the Leith Depot, said the area had earned its up-and-coming title, particularly when it came to its new shops, restaurants and cafes.

She said: “It’s definitely different from how it was 10 to 15 years ago.

“It’s been nice to see the area becoming regenerated and communities definitely appreciate that.

“There’s always been a local spirit in Leith and when people come to the area they realise it’s always been quite friendly and integrated compared to a lot of other areas.”

Gill Norval, owner of Leith Walk shop-come-studio Creative Showroom, agreed and said a lot of her customers remarked on how much the area had changed.

The 36-year-old said: “It’s where I wanted to set up shop because I knew it was a growing area and would be able to take something like that.

“Creatives tend to go to areas where they can get cheaper rent and studio space.

“I think as soon as creatives go to any area it does become more vibrant and more up and coming.”

Leith Late festival producer Morvern Cunningham said it was good to see the area being recognised but stressed the need for cultural safeguards to prevent creatives from being priced out.

She said there was a “real need” for affordable studio space, whether this came from petitioning the council or property developers to help make that happen.

Read on for six reasons why Leith has earned its ‘hip’ reputation...

Leith Farmers Market

Nestled next to the Water of Leith, this bustling market is foodie heaven. Expect bustling stalls and lots of independent traders to tempt you with their homemade produce.

Leith Depot

Cosy and laidback, this bar opened on Leith Walk in November last year. As well as its tasty food, Leith Depot also lays on exhibitions and music nights to help put local talent on the map.

LeithLate

This annual multi-arts festival brings together an array of art, music and film across dozens of venues in Leith. It is joined by other notable local festivals such as Edinburgh Mela in August and Leith Festival in June.

Shutter Project

A side project of Leith Late, the Shutter Project commissions contemporary artists to create installations on the shutters of businesses along the length of Leith Walk.

Biscuit Factory

Once home to Crawford Biscuits, this Anderson Place warehouse has now been transformed into a multi-purpose arts hub. Music, art and food all feature in its cultural offering.

Creative Showroom

Leith Walk’s Creative Showroom, which opened in June, is one of the area’s newest innovative spaces. Not only does it promote and sell the work of Scottish makers, the showroom also houses individual studio space for up to eight creatives