by Claire Simpson, Porty resident since 2005

Most famous for its long stretch of sandy seashore, Portobello is Edinburgh’s hidden gem. Georgian architecture that wouldn’t look out of place in the capital’s New Town, green spaces and quirky High St retailers mean that there is much more to the area than the beach and the run-down amusement arcades that never fail to attract droves of visitors to the area when the sunshine makes a rare summer cameo.

The Prom has a personality of its own. On still, calm Sunday mornings, it is sparsely populated with a few locals enjoying the view over a morning coffee and a newspaper, while on sunny weekend afternoons kids roam free on the sand, at the prom-side parks and even in the water. The Espy, a popular bar and restaurant, overlooks the sea front and, with its shabby chic furniture, excellent drink and food menu and board games, it serves as a home from home to while away a day. Its neighbour, the Beach House, is a seafront café offering local and organic produce within a charming, bright and airy space.

Away from the beach there is plenty to explore. New Tapas bar Malvarosa, located on the High St, offers an authentic slice of Spanish cuisine and is extremely popular with locals. For shoppers the High Street has retained a decent level of independent retailers – a rarity now in most cities. A recent addition to Porty’s main thoroughfare is Urban Igloo, which stocks upcycled furniture as well as smaller arts and crafts items, often commissioned from locally based artists. Nearby is Friday Street, which offers antique and vintage furniture, perfect for many of the period homes located in the area.

And if you want to escape to greener surrounds, Figgate Park is a peaceful retreat. Developed by the Council in recent years, its large pond is home to a wide range of water fowl including ducks, geese, swans and even a heron. Many hours can be lost on a lazy Sunday, observing the birds and gently roaming this leafy and tranquil spot.