The Best Picnic Spots In Edinburgh
As we inch closer and closer to summer, Scotland’s often temperamental weather seems to have finally got the memo and temperatures have noticeably risen plus the sun has shown its face nearly every day! To make the most of the glorious weather, why not opt to head outdoors to enjoy your lunch or dinner. Whether you’re popping out during your lunch break by yourself or making a family occasion of it, we’ve put together our favourite places to enjoy a picnic in Edinburgh. But one last thing before we begin, if you do head out for a picnic please remember to dispose of your rubbish or take it home with you. Let’s begin!
1. Holyrood Park & Arthur’s Seat
- Fancy staying next to Holyrood Palace and near Arthur’s Seat? 89/(75) Holyrood Road has spectacular views and is centrally located!
We can’t think of anywhere better to head on a sunny day for a picnic than Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat. Holyrood Park’s dramatic hills, crags, and extinct volcano, shape Edinburgh’s unforgettable skyline, and its history and archaeology span thousands of years. There’s a flat grassy park next to Holyrood Palace that is the perfect place for your little ones or furry companions to run wild! For those of you who are a little more adventurous why not head up Edinburgh’s extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat to soak up the incredible views and enjoy your picnic!
2. Dunbar’s Close
- Where: 137 Canongate
- Where better to stay than Edinburgh’s historic Old Town! Located on the Royal Mile, 206/(4) Canongate is both contemporary and spacious.
We’ve previously mentioned Dunbar’s Close in our “Best Secret Gardens in Edinburgh” blog but due to its beautiful surroundings and tranquil atmosphere, we just had to include it! Hidden away down a cobbled close (Scottish term from a little lane) it’s easy to overlook this hidden garden. The garden has been laid out in the style and character of a 17th-century garden. There are several seats dotted about the garden plus an open grassy patch at the very bottom, we think this is an extremely lovely area to enjoy a picnic!
3. Princes Street Gardens
- Where: Princes Street
- Looking to visit Edinburgh, here’s a lovely holiday for you 4/11 Hatters Lane.
Where better to enjoy a picnic than under the shadow of Edinburgh’s magnificent Castle. Princes Street Gardens lies at the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre, dividing Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town and the elegant Georgian New Town. It’s a popular spot amongst locals and tourist all year round but when the sun shows its face everyone heads out to enjoy a picnic and top up their vitamin D!
4. Water of Leith Walkway
- Where: Starts at Balerno and finishes in Leith
- Visiting Edinburgh? Here’s a gorgeous home in Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town: 19/3 Dundas Street
The walkway passes through many areas of interest including Colinton Village and Dell, the Union Canal, Saughton Winter Gardens, Murrayfield Stadium, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Village, Stockbridge, the Royal Botanic Garden and Leith. Along the way, you’ll spot many tranquil and peaceful spots to enjoy a picnic! The best bit is due to the nature of the walkway, it’s easy to join and leave it at any point! If you’re interested in stopping off at places along the way, check out our Edinburgh’s West End and Stockbridge local guides!
5. The Meadows
- Where: Melville Drive
- Fancy staying next to the Meadows, where better to stay than 13/(3) Simpson Loan, part of Edinburgh’s luxury Quarter-Mile development.
Being directly next to the University of Edinburgh, the Meadows is a very popular spot amongst students! When the sun’s out there is a fantastic vibe. Spontaneous games of football begin, the smell of barbecues wafts through the air, and excited dogs bound across the park. It’s a fantastic spot to dig into your pack lunch and people watch!
6. Blackford Hill
- Where: Located in the area of Blackford, between Morningside, and the Braid Hills.
- Bruntsfield is a vibrant and interesting part of Edinburgh and the ideal location to experience Edinburgh as a local! Here’s a lovely Bruntsfield holiday home: 75/(4) Leamington Terrace.
Standing proudly opposite Arthur’s Seat, Blackford Hill boasts equally magnificent views over Edinburgh! Due to the gradual incline, it’s a fairly easy walk up to Blackford Hill. The delightful walk combines the wooded nature reserve of the Hermitage of Braid with an ascent of Blackford Hill. We think it’s a pretty marvelous spot for a picnic and unlike Princes Street Gardens, Calton Hill and the Meadows it’s relatively quiet.
7. Inverleith Park
- Where: Arboretum Road
- Looking for the perfect home from home in Inverleith, we think you’ll love 1/(MD) Eildon Street.
Located next to the Royal Botanic Gardens and near Stockbridge, Inverleith Park has excellent views of Edinburgh Castle, wonderful sporting facilities, and a children’s play area! The park is very family and dog friendly meaning you can sit back and relax while your little ones play. Once you’ve finished your lunch, we’d recommend taking a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
8. Dalkeith Country Park
Located slightly outside of Edinburgh’s city centre, Dalkeith Country Park is a truly special place. Explore the Old Oak Wood with trees over 900 years old, and enjoy lunch at one their lovely picnic areas. With both walking and cycling trails plus the magical Fort Douglas play park alongside the Restoration Yard, we can’t think of very many better places to spend a lovely sunny day!
9. Calton Hill
Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks and boasts some of the city’s best views. A short flight of stairs will bring you to the top of Calton Hill where you can pull out your blanket and your packed lunch, sit back and enjoy the views.
10. Portobello Beach
- Planning a trip to Edinburgh, here’s the perfect home away from home for you: 2a Canning Street Lane.
We couldn’t finish our list without including a beach! Portobello Beach is a charming seaside suburb just a few miles from Edinburgh city centre. The two miles of sand makes it the perfect places for swimming, sunbathing, and most importantly picnicking. Despite being a short distance from Edinburgh’s city centre, it’s easily accessible by bike, car, or bus.