Dean Village is a charming neighbourhood in the Water of Leith. Located just a few minutes away from Edinburgh's city centre, it has many colourful cottages, pastoral greenery, and a rushing river that come together to paint a beautiful and peaceful village straight out of a Victorian storybook.

Dean Village was originally a mill town in the 19th century. You can still spot traces of its heritage in stone plaques, millstones, and architecture of the houses found all over the neighbourhood.

Dean Village in Edinburgh - one of the highlights of 10 Best Things for Couples to Do in Edinburgh and 11 Instagrammable Places in Edinburgh (Read all about Edinburgh here)

What are the highlights of Dean Village?

One of the most popular attractions in Dean Village is the historic Well Court, a stately red sandstone building constructed in the 1880s. The building was originally meant to provide better accommodations for the village’s working-class families, who used to live in dilapidated tenements before moving into the court.

Sir John Findlay, who commissioned the construction of Well Court, was also responsible for the construction of the beautiful clocktower in Dean Village. This clocktower was intended to help the court’s inhabitants stick to the strict curfew imposed by Sir Findlay in exchange for staying at Well Court. However, such restrictions no longer exist, and the court’s present inhabitants are free to enter and leave when they please.

What are the best things to do in Dean Village?

Dean Village is home to 2 art galleries: the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Dean Gallery. Both frequently host free exhibitions throughout the year.

The National Gallery, in particular, can be of significant interest to art lovers. It has extensive collections of Surrealist and Dada art. The museum itself occupies several majestic neoclassical buildings that once served as an orphanage. The gallery has a lawn carefully landscaped to mirror the chaos theory.

Another point of interest in Dean Village is St. Bernard’s Well. The water in the well was thought to have healing properties, attracting people from all over the world. Designed by Edinburgh’s very own Alexander Nasymth, a landscape painter, the well as it stands today resembles the Temple of Vesta, a classical Roman temple in Tivoli. A statue of the Roman goddess of health, Hygieia, can be found in the centre of the spring. Though St. Bernard’s Well has remained closed to the public since the 1940s, visitors are allowed to enter on special days like Edinburgh’s Open Doors Day.

If you’re interested in Victorian history and stonework, the local cemetery is a good place to visit. Located in the northern part of the village, Dean Cemetery features grandiose sculptures and headstones. The cemetery is famous for housing a handful of notable names in British history, including Isabella Bird of the Royal Geographical Society and Dr Joseph Bell, a renowned Scottish surgeon and University of Edinburgh lecturer known as the inspiration behind Sherlock Holmes.

Good to know about Dean Village

Dean Village is a joy to visit any time of the year, particularly in the summer and autumn. If you visit later in the year, you’ll be treated to an abundance of colour as the leaves change with the season. You can explore the village on your own or join one of the guided tours hosted by the village association.

If you have time, take a leisurely stroll by the River Leith. Go to the stately Dean Bridge and climb down by the edge of the river, where you can take pictures of some of the most scenic views in the village.

Dean Village in Edinburgh

Location: Dean Path, Edinburgh EH4 3AY, UK

Geri Mileva | Contributing Writer