|Location Map ( geo)
|East Preston Street, Edinburgh (NT264724)
|Princes Street, Edinburgh (NT247736)
|Melville Drive, Lothian Road
|1.1 miles (1.8 km)
|A7, A701, A702, B700, A8
|Route outline (key)
Being both small and sparsely populated for the most part, the 7-zone has the luxury of being able to use its three-digit numbers on roads that would probably not merit them elsewhere. The A700 is a case in point, originally running for only a mile and a half across the south side of Edinburgh city centre, connecting the A7 at East Preston Street with the A8 at the west end of Princes Street. The road forms the south-western quadrant of a sort of de-facto ring road around the Old Town part of the city centre. It also forms (from Morrison Street southwards) part of the boundary of the city's Low Emission Zone; parts would also have been used as the Inner Cordon of the proposed congestion charging scheme.
The route starts at a signalised crossroads with the A7 and A701, where the A7 TOTSOs right from East Preston Street onto South Clerk Street, with the A700 continuing ahead on West Preston Street and the A701 terminates from the south on Newington Road. Initially heading west, the A700 has to TOTSO itself at the end of West Preston Street, turning right at signals onto Summerhill Place. So far the route has run between the tall Georgian style terraces with shops below tenements. However, there are trees ahead and at the next set of traffic lights, the route TOTSOs left onto Melville Drive, running along the south side of the Meadows, a popular piece of open parkland. To the south of the road is the student area of Marchmont, while to the north are the open meadows, with playgrounds, tennis courts, croquet lawn and cricket pitches set in the tree lined lawns. Although Edinburgh has a lot of open green space around the city centre, much of it is the hilly crags around Holyrood Park, so the Meadows are a well used area of relatively flat open parkland.
As the route slowly curves to head north west, Bruntsfield Links open up on the right, another piece of parkland which contains a free public golf course, reputedly the oldest in Scotland. This makes the road rather attractive since it is flanked by open space on both sides; but alas, not for long, as Melville Drive soon becomes Brougham Place which is built-up on both sides once more. This leads to the signal-controlled Tollcross junction, with the A702 to the left for Biggar, which appears to now be the end of the foreshortened A700.
For nearly 100 years, the A700 kept its original route, but is has recently been truncated at Tollcross. Prior to this, it continued nearly north along Earl Grey Street and Lothian Road to meet the A8, Princes Street very close to the start of the A90 at the West End Junction. On this stretch it met the B700 (Morrison Street) and the unclassified West Approach Road, both on the left; this latter is largely on the path of disused railway lines and leads to the A71 for Kilmarnock and again to the A70. This part of the route has, however, recently been renumbered as the A702, a much more important route which heads south out of Edinburgh to meet the A74(M), and so provides one of the busier routes out of the city.