Circus Lane is one of the best little hidden gems in Edinburgh. I’m a little embarrassed that I live so close and yet it’s taken me years to get here! What better way to kick off my exploring Edinburgh series, which I’ve announced in this travel journal post!
How to get to Circus Lane
Edinburgh is an incredibly walkable city. It takes roughly thirty minutes to reach Circus Lane from the centre of Old town, and about 20 minutes from Edinburgh’s train station (Edinburgh Waverley).
If you have luggage with you or just prefer to take the bus, it’s just 12 minutes by bus from the Princes Street stop near Waverley. Get off at the Royal Circus stop.
Heading from anywhere else? Here’s where you can find Circus Lane on Google Maps.
Circus Lane: Edinburgh’s most charming street!
Circus Lane is nestled in Stockbridge but few people know about it! It’s definitely worth a short stroll down, as it’s one of the most charming streets in Edinburgh. Stockbridge is known as an artists, writers, poets, and musicians’ area, and Circus Lane truly embodies the laid back, whimsical, and quirky charm that flows through the neighbourhood. With it’s cobbled path and ivy-framed doorways, Circus Lane is a quick stop that you absolutely shouldn’t miss!
The street is, admittedly, pretty short, so you can definitely tack this onto any visit to Stockbridge without having to worry about time constraints! I’d give walking down this street 10 minutes or so if you’re planning on taking photos, and less if you’re just passing through.
The history of Circus Lane, Edinburgh
Circus Lane is a mews lane from around 1765. I had no idea what a mews lane was prior to moving to the UK, so I’ll try to explain further! A mews lane is essentially, a row of stables and carriage houses that had homes or spaces to live directly above them (like a modern day garage). They were actually built on the backside of homes, typically owned by more wealthy residents. So even in 1765, Circus Lane was a hot spot! And for good reason, there’s tonnes to do nearby in Stockbridge (recommendations and suggestions in the next section!).
Towards the middle of Circus Lane, you’ll start to see St. Stephen’s Church, which you’ll actually end up at after walking the stretch of Circus Lane. The church was completed in 1828, designed by William Henry Playfair, and home to Europe’s longest clock pendulum!
Things to do around Circus Lane
Stockbridge is one of my favourite parts of Edinburgh. It’s a beautiful blend of old and new, nature and city, quirky and trendy. I definitely recommend spending an afternoon exploring the neighbourhood!
Cafes & Restaurants Near Circus Lane
Stockbridge is home to MANY many amazing coffee shops and cafes.
Soderberg Bakery – amazing Swedish bakery. This is a go-to of mine!
Cafe No. 33 – cute cosy space to grab a coffee, soup, or snack! Perfect for a rainy day.
Good Brothers Wine Bar – perhaps if you’re on an late afternoon/evening walk around Stockbridge?
La Barantine – The place to go if you want to be transported to a French boulangerie or patisserie!
Stockbridge Kitchen – two words: cake & coffee!!!
Walks around Circus Lane & Stockbridge
Waters of Leith – I walk along the Waters of Leith literally every day I go outside. Beautiful paths that make you feel like you’re outside of the city. From Stockbridge, I really like walking along the Waters of Leith either to Leith Docks (long walk) or to Dean Village (shorter walk).
Dean Village – Dean Village is such a sweet part of Edinburgh! The architecture is amazing and it’s right on the water. 10/10!
The Stockbridge Market – A must on a Sunday afternoon. The Stockbridge Market is a farmers market where you can find fresh, locally-sourced fruits and veggies and meats/fish, as well as ready-to-eat baked goods and hot food. Not hungry? There are always stalls where you can find perfect gifts and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Edinburgh Botanic Gardens – These big, beautiful gardens are absolutely worth visiting! I always take visitors here if they want to escape the city a little bit.
Other Edinburgh Posts
I’ve lived in Edinburgh for a while now, and I’ve put together a guide to all of my favourite spots and hidden gems! Here are my posts about Edinburgh.