Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Dancing in the streets at traffic-free event in Edinburgh city centre

Victoria Street, Edinburgh Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council

Residents and visitors danced on the cobbled roads of the Old Town in Edinburgh on Sunday as the second traffic-free day offered a host of events for revellers.

The second Open Streets took place between noon and 17:00.

It included swing dance and hip hop performances, quiet havens for book worms as well as circus skills, walking tours and street games.

The initiative takes place on the first Sunday of every month.

The 18-month pilot project sees streets including a large stretch of the Royal Mile, Cockburn Street and Victoria Street closed to traffic and handed over to pedestrians and cyclists for the afternoon.

George IV Bridge, North Bridge and South Bridge remained open as did access to the foot and head of the Royal Mile.

Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council
Image caption The first Sunday event was a success

The city council hopes to gradually increase the number of streets that are included after a break during the summer months, and could eventually see a loop of the Old Town closed to traffic for the event - including Cowgate, the entire Grassmarket and Holyrood Road.

Lesley Macinnes, City of Edinburgh Council's transport and environment convener, said: "What we achieved at the first event has not only had a massive positive reaction from people, not just inside Edinburgh, but it's a very clear signal of intent.

"We have not done this as a one-off - we are doing it across an 18-month period that we are committing to.

"That allows us to build that evidence around what people are looking for, how people are reacting to it, the impact it is having in this specific area.

"All of those aspects of it, we need to build up knowledge on."


Open Streets event programme

A "hula hoop extravaganza" drop-in workshop took place at the West High Street between noon and 14:00, while all ability bike trials took place at the same location between noon and 16:30.

Street games including Connect 4, chess and badminton were played on the High Street during the entire event, while a learning event for P3 to P5-aged pupils, "play on pedals", took place at the Grassmarket from noon until 15:00.

Self-guided walking tours were picked up from the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Canongate, while The Cranny on Canongate held a pot luck picnic from noon until 16:00 - inviting Canongate residents to bring baked goods or a dish to chat about the new community centre and ideas for gardening and arts projects.

Youngsters made tissue flowers and chalk a butterfly selfie at Chessel's Court between noon and 16:00, while "reading havens" were set up at Sanderman House Garden, Chessel's Court Garden, Old Tolbooth Market at Canongate where free books were on offer to read.

People could try e-bikes with Hart's Cyclery between noon until 16:30 at the Grassmarket end of Victoria Street.

Hip-hop dance performances by house company, House of Jack, took place on West High Street between 13:15 to 13:35 with a chance to join in.

Free circus skills for all ages, including spinning, twirling and juggling were on offer at the Canongate between 14:00 and 16:00.

Free walking tours of the Royal Mile, that lasted about 50 minutes left from the Quadrangle at City Chambers between noon and 16:00 while Tai Chi display and taster sessions were available between 15:00 and 16:00 at Parliament Square on the High Street.

Four 15-minute yoga sessions were held at Canongate between 14:30 until 15:30.

Swing dancing also took place at West High Street from 15:30 until 16:30.


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