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Guide to Edinburgh Outdoors

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Follow my selection of the most interesting and fun places to explore outdoors in Edinburgh.

Good for
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveller

8 Places

5 City Tips

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8 Places

Arthur's Seat

Geologic Formations

Princes Street Gardens

Gardens, Parks

Water of Leith Walkway

Scenic Walking Areas

Calton Hill

Geologic Formations, Lookouts

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Art Galleries, Gardens, Points of Interest & Landmarks

The Meadows

Gardens

Dean Village

Historic Sites

Cramond Village

Historic Sites

Paul P's City Tips

  • An adult day ticket gives you unlimited travel on buses and trams for 24 hours. A family ticket, for 2 adults and up to 3 children, is also great value.
  • It is not customary to tip bar staff for serving drinks, and this is certainly not expected.
  • In pubs or cafes, a tip jar is usually placed near the till for you to leave a tip in if you wish.
  • For taxis, locals usually round up the fare to the nearest pound.
  • A 10% tip is customary in restaurants. Many restaurants automatically add this to your bill.
  • Arthur's Seat
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Arthur's Seat is an outdoors must-see for its beautiful hills and volcanic geology, which can be approached from all directions and allow for spectacular views of Edinburgh. Within 10-15 minutes of walking or climbing, you'll already be blessed with stunning views, but you can quite easily spend half a day exploring the area and immersing yourself in its history and beauty.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Make sure that you wear sensible outdoor shoes, as there are a few rocky areas to negotiate.
    • Routes vary in difficulty from gentle strolls to harder climbs for the more adventurous.
    • There are no cafes, restaurants or toilets on Arthur's seat, so bring some water and snacks with you.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing view! 14/10/2018
    • Spectacular views 14/10/2018
    • Arthur's Seat
    Address:
    Queen's Drive
    Edinburgh EH8 8HG
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
    Other:
  • Princes Street Gardens
    Gardens, Parks
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Previously an artificial loch that acted as a defence for the castle, today these beautiful gardens are always full of colourful flowers and plants. Situated directly under the castle, Princes Street Gardens provide a different yet picturesque perspective on the historic building itself. They are a great city-centre spot in which to recharge naturally.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is a very nice seated area, should it rain and you need to take cover.
    • There are plenty of cafes inside the gardens, and a good restaurant at their west end.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #26 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • a good spot after a bit of shopping 15/10/2018
    • Beautiful fall colors 14/10/2018
    • Princes Street Gardens
    Address:
    Princes Street
    Edinburgh EH2 4BA
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 529 7921
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • Water of Leith Walkway
    Scenic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Water of Leith Walkway is a fantastic network of walking and cycling paths that connect you to all different parts of the city. Simply choose the route that suits how far you want to explore, and get going!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • On the path towards Balerno, look out for lots of wild gardens! Their herbs can be picked and used to make fantastic pesto!
    • The Water of Leith conservation website provides PDF maps of the routes.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Magical walk! 11/10/2018
    • Nice place to visit 09/10/2018
    • Water of Leith Walkway
    Address:
    24 Lanark Road
    Edinburgh EH14 1TQ
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 455 7367
    Other:
  • Calton Hill
    Geologic Formations, Lookouts
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    A UNESCO site, Calton Hill is quite unique and offers stunning views over all parts of the city – from the main thoroughfare of Princess Street at the west end, to Arthur's Seat and Salisbury crags. On the hill itself, there are many interesting buildings to explore, including The National Monument (modelled on the Greek Parthenon and built as a memorial to the Scottish soldiers who died in the Napoleonic war), The City Observatory, Robert Burns Monument, The Duguld Stewart Monument and the Nelson Monument.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are no cafes or toilets/facilities on Calton Hill.
    • The Hill is not wheelchair-friendly.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Stunning 13/10/2018
    • Amazing place! 12/10/2018
    • Calton Hill
    Address:
    St. Andrews House 2 Regent Road
    Edinburgh EH1 3DG
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 529 5151
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
    Art Galleries, Gardens, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    With 70 acres of grounds and thousands of plants and flower species from around the world, the Royal Botanic Garden is well worth a visit.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The gardens are a 20-30 minute walk from the city centre, or you can take bus #24 or #29 from Princess Street.
    • There is a restaurant and gift shop at the main entrance, and two further cafes at either side of the gardens.
    • Entrance to the gardens is free. There is a separate charge for the glass houses.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Part of the bus tour 15/10/2018
    • very peaceful 15/10/2018
    • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
    Address:
    20 Inverleith Row
    Edinburgh EH3 5LR
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 552 7171
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • The Meadows
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Located to the south of city centre, The Meadows is a huge grassland used by runners. It also features tennis courts, a croquet club, pitch and putt, and a large playground for children. During the summer, the park is a hive of activity, with locals playing football and cricket or sitting down to a picnic or BBQ.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Time it right and you will see the meadows full of beautiful cherry blossoms!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #68 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Handy Parking 14/10/2018
    • Amazing sport complex 08/10/2018
    • The Meadows
    Address:
    Old Town
    Edinburgh
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
  • Dean Village
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    A 5-minute walk from the town centre, Dean Village is a peaceful, picturesque area, with many interesting old buildings and lots of paths to explore. It's also close to the lively Stockbridge area, whose shops, cafes, restaurants and traditional Scottish pubs are a good place to end your wander.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • St Bernards Well and the surrounding sites are well worth a visit.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing Area. 10/10/2018
    • So Peaceful and Gorgeous 09/10/2018
    • Dean Village
    Address:
    Dean Path
    Edinburgh EH8 8BH
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
    Other:
  • Cramond Village
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Picturesque Cramond Village is the site of an old Roman fort and has a beautiful small harbour from where you can see out onto Cramond Island. The short trip here (just 8 km northwest of the city centre) is worth it to experience another side of Scottish beauty and history.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Cramond Gallery has great coffee, tea and home-baked goods.
    • Tide permitting, you can walk onto the island using the causeway. Check the tide times that are posted at the beginning of the path to ensure you don't get stranded!
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #53 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely area 02/10/2018
    • City Days, Coastal Escape 16/09/2018
    • Cramond Village
    Address:
    Five miles NW of city centre
    Edinburgh
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 557 1700
    Other:
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