Edinburgh is brilliant for lovers of the outdoors. You don’t even have to leave the city to find some beautiful green spaces to blow the cobwebs away. One of the most striking things about the city is not just the enormous number of parks, but the sheer quantity of people enjoying using them.
Here’s 16 suggestions of green places to go for a walk in 2016. There are many more, but these are the ones we do on a regular basis.
1. Arthur’s Seat It’s hard to miss this extinct volcano in the middle of Edinburgh. There are various routes you can choose to walk up to the summit, some of which are suggested here. We have previously written about a walk up Arthur’s Seat to the summit and a walk around it when it was covered in snow. The views you get from Arthur’s Seat are simply amazing.
2. The Water of Leith The Water of Leith Walkway is a beautiful 12 3/4 mile walk through the heart of Edinburgh. You can look at our photos of walks from Roseburn to Dean Village and Balerno to Slateford.
3. Cramond Island Cramond Island is one of our favourite places to walk in Edinburgh. You need to check the tide times before you head out there to ensure you don’t get cut off by the tide. Read our previous article on walking to Cramond Island.
4. The Edinburgh Royal Botanical Gardens Another of our favourite places to visit in Edinburgh. Beautiful in all seasons, the Botanical Gardens are suitable for everyone and children love being able to feed the squirrels. We loved it when the Botanics were covered in snow.
5. Colinton and Craiglockhart Dells These dells are beautiful woodlands on Water of Leith. Walk to the top of Craiglockhart Hill for amazing views of Edinburgh city and out to the Forth.
6. Dr Neil’s Garden Dr Neil’s Garden is one of Edinburgh’s most secret gardens, but is one of beauty and a place for inspiration, meditation and contemplation. A wonderful collection of plants and flowers fills this peaceful space nestled between Duddingston Loch and Arthur’s Seat and is suitable for everyone to enjoy. You can also read our feature on this garden.
7. Blackford Hill and Pond Blackford Hill is wild and wind-blown. It’s a large slice of countryside within the city. The views from here are outstanding. Popular with dog walkers.
8. Calton Hill is a great place for a walk in Edinburgh. A walk up to the top offers fantastic 360 degree views of Edinburgh. You can also go up the Nelson Monument (small admission charge). If we ever have visitors to Edinburgh, this is the first place we take them to show off the city.
9. Kyoto Friendship Garden and Lauriston Castle Grounds This hidden Japanese garden is full of blossoming trees in Spring, but is worth a visit at any time of year. You can admire the bowling lawns in front of Lauriston Castle and views out to the Forth. Have a look at our feature on the Kyoto Friendship Garden.
10. A walk in the Pentlands from Swanston Village One of our favourite walks in the Pentlands. Starting at the picturesque Swanston Village, you can choose your route depending on your fitness. Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather. Read our article on this walk.
11. Portobello Beach and Community Garden Take a stroll along a section of Edinburgh’s sea side. Great at any time of time year but can be bitterly cold in the winter with wind, so wrap up warm. You can see beautiful sunsets here in the summer and if not too cold, suitable for a swim in the water!
12. Figgate Park This is a great place for wildlife spotting in the pond (with board walk) and admire the beautiful pictorial garden. You can walk your dog here, there’s picnic tables for good weather and it connects to Edinburgh’s cycle network. Read our article on Figgate Park.
13. The Union Canal It’s 32 miles along the Union Canal from Edinburgh Quay. It connects with the Water of Leith and is a popular way to get to and from the town centre. Lots of swans and other wildlife to spot and canoeists at Harrison Park.
14. Take a walk through the Cammo Estate which is one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems, with a fascinating history and some beautiful flora and fauna waiting to be discovered.
16. Inverleith Park with its beautiful views of Edinburgh’s skyline. Walk up the avenue of trees and sit and read a book when the weather is good. You can visit the nearby Botanics at the same time. There’s a good kiddies play park too!
17. Staying in the city, we suggest you take a walk up and down the Royal Mile. Start at the top beside the Castle, walk down one side and investigate all the closes and secret gardens. Once you arrive at Holyrood Palace, cross the road and come up the other side doing the same. You will have walked at least two miles and discovered lots of beautiful buildings and hidden places.