Vennel Steps, Edinburgh

The Vennel Steps in Edinburgh are a magnificent sight to behold. Edinburgh is by far the most lovable city in Northern Europe.  The Vennel Steps, offers a magnificent viewpoint of the castle and is a place where every tourist should amble through for the views and the history. Vennel itself is situated in the area of Grassmarket. The Grassmarket area of the city is reminiscent of European in terms of its appearance, but Scottish through and through in its history and culture. For many years, Grassmarket has been a trading space for cattle, crops and cloth. It was also at the very core of 18th-century Edinburgh hotel trade. However, the most intriguing part of this area of Edinburgh is perhaps its gory history. It was infamously renowned for being a place for public execution. The fable lives on and following the execution of Maggie Dickson, a woman who murdered her own baby, the area remains a haunted one, some say. You can find the pub named after her too which serves drinks and food.

The Grassmarket area is where you will find the famous Vennel steps and this area in general has a rich history. No matter the reason for your travel to Grassmarket, you will be sure to find a plethora of delights, such as quaint coffee houses, gelato spots (something that it is known for in the area), and back streets waiting to be explored. Its rich culture and whilst discovering this area, you will be sure to taste traditional Edinburgh. With walking trips available, you can delve deeper into the area, and learn about the Flodden Wall, a wall built in 1560 to protect the city against an English invasion that never came. To this day, the remains are sealed in the city’s history.

How To Find The Vennel Steps 

If you are in the city then you will want to head along West Port Road in Grass Market. This area is a historical marketplace and can be a great place to pick up some little treasures and charming items. It is a bustling area that is full of charm and so once you spot the Grass Market Hostel and Mary’s Milk Bar you know you’re in the right place. In between these two buildings, you will notice a little sign that says “Vennel - Leading to Brown’s Place”. This is the little snicket you want to head through and then take the stairs upwards to the top. In the distance you will be sure to see the illuminated castle, at sunset it is quite magical and offers stunning views that are a little off the beaten track. If you are heading to this area by public transport then the nearest station will be East Fountainbridge, Old Town is 581 meters away, which is a picturesque 8 min walk. 

If you are arriving from Edinburgh train station, you will want to head down South Bridge until you reach Chambers street, turn left onto there and continue until you reach the National museum of Scotland and turn left again onto Bristol Place. Curve to the right onto Teviot Place and follow the road until you come across George Heriot’s School then right onto Heriot Place. Then you will be in the area of the Vennel steps.  There are plenty of other little attractions in this area. 

Nearby Places to Eat 

If you are in the area and want to get a spot of lunch or dinner then there are plenty of places in the area that offer traditional food and a place to retreat. After your long walk, you can sip a beer and enjoy some of the great cuisine of the city. It is an area of the city with plenty of little coffee shops and places to grab a slice of cake. Here are some in the nearby area:

L'Etoile Salon de Tea

A cosy, casual tea shop that serves traditional afternoon teas and sandwiches. For a little experience of Great Britain, this is the place to be. With a four star review, this is a little cosy spot to get away from the harsh Edinburgh winds and soak up the street views from the window. 

Bread Street Brasserie

An upscale dining area that has plush interiors and is a really lovely spot for lunch or dinner. It is a hotel restaurant with a luxurious contemporary look, including local beef and seafood from a grill. It has a choice for all palettes and has wheelchair access. A casual but lovely interior to finish your day off after a long walk in the city. 

Taza in Town

For a taste of the Mediterannean in Edinburgh, you don’t have to look much further. This four star restaurant is a modern and delightful spot for those who enjoy foreign cuisines. It shows the city’s true multicultural element and offers good quality foods from across the Med and beyond. 


Another hotel restaurant, Agua is a delightfully modern and airy restaurant, with a bright yellow decor, this interior is thrilling! Full of mediteranean cuisine, you can dine in luxury and still get a feel for the great city. 

Petit Paris

A taste of Paris in Edinburgh. Even though Edinburgh is dubbed the Athens of the North by many Europeans, here you can find a taste of Paris! A sweet little bistro that compliments the history of the city. With delightful foods this is a perfect pre-theatre stop off! 

Nearby Photo Spots 

The city is full of places for tourists. Near the Vennel steps, there are a few areas that you should add to your photography list. Not only are you likely to capture the essence of the city in this area but also the mist and the atmospherics if you are here through the winter months.  Here are some of the top spots that are great:

  1. Flodden Wall 

  2. The Lovers Touch

  3. Middle Meadow Walk 

  4. Greyfriars Kirkyard

There are so many places to explore, but the Vennel steps prove to be a hidden gem of the city. Be sure to explore at night too for extra charm and wonder. 

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