Visiting Antony Gormley’s 6 TIMES

Follow this stunning series of six sculptures for a beautiful stroll through Edinburgh along the Water of Leith.

6 TIMES is a series of six sculptures created by Turner Prize-winning artist Antony Gormley (born 1950). Installed in 2010 and reinstalled in 2019, these life-size cast iron sculptures of the artist's body are a must-see. The work is quiet and contemplative, drawing attention to the natural and man-made environment of the Water of Leith that runs through the heart of Edinburgh - making it an ideal, peaceful walk. 

It is possible to see all the sculptures in one day - although you'll need your walking boots on! You can get to the Water of Leith walkway from Modern One (via steep steps) or from Roseburn (reachable by bus from the city centre) and follow it through to Leith and the sea. Alternatively, you can split the sculptures across different days, giving you the perfect excuse to explore different parts of the city.

Antony Gormley, 6 TIMES HORIZON from 6 TIMES

Antony Gormley, 6 TIMES GROUND from 6 TIMES

Antony Gormley, 6 TIMES SKY from 6 TIMES

Antony Gormley, 6 TIMES RIGHT from 6 TIMES

Antony Gormley, 6 TIMES LEFT from 6 TIMES

Antony Gormley, 6 TIMES HORIZON from 6 TIMES

Sculptures I, II and III are relatively close to one another, so can be quickly ticked off. Begin at Modern One - a twenty-five minute walk from Princes Street or ten minutes from Haymarket station.

At the entrance to Modern One, find the head and shoulders of the first sculpture (I) – there is a full human form here, the rest of which is in the concrete! Once you've encountered this unfortunate figure, walk up the path to the back of Modern One, perhaps pausing on the way at the café or taking a look at our latest exhibition. By two dark green gates on the far side of the car park there is a sign for the Water of Leith. Follow the signs down (and down and down) the steep steps to the the left of the bridge you’ll find the next figure (II).

Antony Gormley, 6 TIMES Figure II. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland © The Artist

This figure stands serenely beside the fiercely-cascading water. There are a few benches here, making it a relaxing place to pause to look at the sculpture, and perhaps a heron too! When you’re ready, continue along the path with the figure on your left. It’s a pleasant and easy stroll along the water, though can be muddy. Along the way, you’ll pass through the stunningly beautiful Dean Village, which is a favourite amongst tourists, photographers, and Instagrammers.

Please note there is step-free access from Belford Road to the Water of Leith path through the Dean Village.

St Bernard's Well

Between the Dean Village and Stockbridge you’ll pass the intriguing St Bernard's Well. Various claims have been made of the well's healing powers and its smell has been descrobed as an "odious twang of hydrogen gas"! Keep on this path, which eventually takes you to Stockbridge, where the eponymous bridge gives you the best view of the next figure (III).

A great spot for lunch, Stockbridge is packed full of pubs and cafés, and even a Sunday market (10am-5pm). From Stockbridge, if you wish, you could head south up Frederick Street towards the delights of the city centre, such as our wonderful sister galleries the Portrait and the National.

Antony Gormley 6 TIMES LEFT from 6 TIMES 2010 © The Artist

However, for those choosing to continue the sculpture hunt, sculptures IV and V are further east along the Water of Leith Walkway. You’ll find the next sculpture near Powderhall, near the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. And the sculpture after that is near Bonnington, close to Leith and lots of 'in the know' haunts such as The Pitt Market. From here, you can return to the Water of Leith walkway by retracing your steps back, or via Keddie Gardens Play Area. Continue along the walkway to Leith where you'll find the final sculpture.

Antony Gormley 6 TIMES SKY from 6 TIMES 2010 © The Artist
Antony Gormley 6 TIMES RIGHT from 6 TIMES 2010 © The Artist

If this is too much walking, try catching a bus from Stockbridge straight to Leith. Resist the bars and restaurants for long enough, and you’ll find sculpture VI near Leith docks - from the Royal Yacht Britannia, follow the seafront until you obtain the best view, and some seats! This final figure, gazing out to the horizon, stands alone and unreachable, in stark contrast to the first sculpture submerged in the pavement.

Within Leith, and along Leith Walk, you’ll find plenty of places to quench your thirst and rest your weary feet. There are great pubs and restaurants, including must-try seafood. Regular buses can take you back to Princes Street, Waverley Station, or the National on the Mound!

Antony Gormley 6 TIMES HORIZON from 6 TIMES 2010 © The Artist

Whether you’ve seen them all in one day or across different trips, 6 TIMES is a highly-rewarding way to explore the north of Edinburgh. 

6 TIMES comprises six life-size figures, positioned between the grounds of Modern One and the sea at Leith Docks, Edinburgh. It was commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland, with support from the Art Fund, funds from the Gulbenkian Museum of the Year award 2004, and further support from The Patrons of the National Galleries of Scotland, Claire Enders and The Henry Moore Foundation.

By Katie Smith, 4 September 2019