As the gateway to Edinburgh, the Port of Leith welcomes many visitors every year. While the Port of Leith is not of itself a popular tourist destination, it has been restored since the era of decline from the 1940s to the 1980s. No longer the seedy crime-ridden neighborhood, today's Port of Leith is a vibrant community with chic restaurants, pubs, shops, beautiful parks, an exciting nightlife, and a variety of community events. Because it offers affordable transportation links and living costs, the Port of Leith is a point of entry for immigrants from all over the world, making it a cosmopolitan city.
The Port of Leith has a temperate maritime climate that is milder than its northern location might suggest. Winters are mild with temperatures normally above freezing, and summers are comfortable. Being near the sea, temperatures do not vary a great deal around the year. Located between the coast and the hills of Scotland, it is a windy city and can be rainy. Temperatures range from a high of 19 °C (66 °) to a low of 1 °C (33 °F) in January.
Visitors to the Port of Leith will want to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, the ocean-going home to the British Royal Family until it was decommissioned in 1998. In her lifetime, the royal yacht travelled over one million nautical miles across the world. The famous vessel has hosted some of the world's most famous people, and it was the honeymoon location for several royal couples. Visitors can enjoy tea in the newly-opened Royal Deck Tea Room as they tour the vessel. Entrance to the ship is through the Ocean Terminal in the Port of Leith.
The Water of Leith Walkway is a popular place to enjoy nature and the city at the same time. Following the course of the river through from the Port of Leith to the Balerno suburb, the 21-kilometer walkway skirts the Pentland Hills. Most of the route is bordered by woodlands and full of birds and wildlife, yet it is in the heart of Edinburgh. Maintained by the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, the walkway is a great break from the busy city whether you are walking, cycling, or riding horseback. The Urban Wildlife Site includes patches of the ancient woodland, carpets of wildflowers, at least 11 species of fish (free permits are available for anglers), and more than 80 species of birds. Lucky travelers may spot a badger, an otter, or a deer.
The Leith Links, a city park, is the home of international golf. The first record of golf in the Port of Leith was a dispute in 1552 between the cobblers and the "gouff" ball makers. The Links was also the scene of the Siege of Leith in 1560. Locals tell the story of the time the Duke of York, later King James VII of Scotland, challenged two English nobles to a golfing match in 1681. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, this was Edinburg's premier golfing location. Today, the Leith Links is a large open space with tree-lined avenues and walkways used for a variety of games and activities.
Travelers wanting to visit the Port of Leith and Edinburg by sea can find a list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.
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