If you’re looking to escape from the bustling centre of Edinburgh, head down to the picturesque Dean Village and discover the perfect place to spend a peaceful afternoon. The remarkable beauty of the little suburb makes it feel like you’ve stepped into a real-life fairy tale. You’ll have a quiet and restful time, but you won’t be bored — there’s plenty of things to see and things to do in Dean Village in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As you walk down the cobblestone path which lines the calm, winding Water of Leith, the medieval village will take shape in front of you, displaying its quaint houses which border a quiet road. Walk down the narrow Hawthornbank Lane to reveal the most charming view of the tranquil waters surrounded by 19th century Dean Village homes.
Dean Village – Well Court Hall
Once an affluent milling village, Dean Village is constantly reminded of its rich past through millstones and plaques dedicated to the honour of its once-thriving milling industry. Walk along the aptly named Miller Row towards Bell’s Brae where you can see the remains of former flour mills. As a bread lover, I really felt at home here.
The most photographed and iconic building in Dean Village is Well Court Hall. Built-in the 1880s, the red sandstone building once home to water mill workers. Those who lived in Well Court Hall were required to attend the nearby Holy Trinity Church and were kept on time by the ticking of the large clock tower attached to the photogenic building.
One of my favourite things to do in Dean Village is to take a stroll through the historical Dean Cemetery, situated just north of the scenic village. Almost a work of art, the graveyard heavy with Victorian-style tombstones is home to the former middle- and upper-class population of Edinburgh. Today it features monuments of well-kept history and homes for many of Scotland’s stunning songbirds.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
On the edge of Dean Cemetery sits the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art — one of the free things to do in Dean Village, Edinburgh. The museum holds a large collection of Dada and Surrealism art and boasts an incredible landscaped lawn. Created by artist Charles Jencks, the lawn is dotted with sculptures from some of the world’s most revered artists.
The address of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is 75 Belford Road. You’ll find it just past Dean Cemetery.
If you head the other way along the Water of Leith, just off of Mackenzie Place, you’ll find yourself next to St. Bernard’s Well. The well was once believed to contain a natural spring that had the ability to heal many different medical ailments, from minor pains to arthritis.
Atop the well sits a statue of the Greek and Roman goddess of health, Hygieia. The beautiful statue is perched on a Roman-style temple, surrounded by columns and a domed roof featuring a golden pineapple.
Follow the path towards Stockbridge and make way for another adventure in Edinburgh.
Getting to Dean Village
Dean Village is located near Stockbridge along Edinburgh’s Water of Leith. The village is a short walk from Edinburgh’s famous Princes Street. You can get there by walking down Queensferry Street from Princes Street until you reach the village.
If you don’t feel like walking, you can get to Dean Village by taking a quick taxi ride from the city centre. You can also get there via one of Edinburgh’s hop-on hop-off bus tours. Be sure to get off at Charlotte Square to get to Dean Village.
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More Information About Things to do in Edinburgh
- Excellent Things to do in Edinburgh
- The Ultimate List of Spooky and Haunted Things to do in Edinburgh
- Historic Edinburgh Cemeteries to Explore
- Spending the night inside the Edinburgh Vaults