Five Edinburgh Walks to Leave You Breathless
Edinburgh is unlike any other city you’ll visit. Despite being an urban area, the natural features have been embraced to enhance the experience of living here. This means that without leaving the city, you can feel like you are on a countryside ramble. You could expect nothing less from a city that has a volcano at its very heart. Here are five of the best walks you could – and should – take while you’re here.
1. Arthur’s Seat
This is simply a must if you are visiting Edinburgh. Formed 350 million years ago from the same volcanic system the Castle is built on, Arthur’s Seat is an iconic symbol of Edinburgh. It lies a stone’s throw from the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the base of the Royal Mile. So much of the city’s history is interlinked with Arthur’s Seat that it would be a real shame to miss this out on your visit. It is here that James Hutton developed the basis of modern geology by looking at the layers of igneous rock. If by chance geology doesn’t excite you, it’s suggested that Arthur’s Seat was the location of King Arthur’s Camelot. Despite the legends and history, the real attraction is the panoramic views of the city from the top. It is incredibly popular with runners too. Just don’t forget your camera.
2. Calton Hill
This is a photographer’s dream. From the top of this very accessible spot, you have a perfect vantage point of Edinburgh, day or night. Views from Calton Hill are spectacular and should be at the top of any visitor’s to-do list. Located at the east end of Princes Street, it is part of the Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage Site. It isn’t just a place for photographers and romantics, like everything in Edinburgh, it has plenty of history as well. On the south-western side of the hill is a Roman-style monument which is actually the burial place of Scottish philosopher David Hume. Do whatever you can to take in Calton Hill during your visit to Edinburgh.
3. The Water of Leith
The Water of Leith Walkway is actually a 12.5 mile long path from Balerno to Leith. Unless you’re feeling very ambitious, we’re not suggesting to take in the whole walk during your time here – there is far too much to do in Edinburgh. However, certain sections are iconic and very much part of daily life for many locals. One section that should really be embraced is from Dean Village to Stockbridge. Along this route you will see an abundance of beautiful homes and it is perfectly twinned with a visit to Stockbridge Market on a Sunday. If you can make it a round-trip, you’ll certainly work off all the fantastic food on offer! The Water of Leith is arterial to life in Edinburgh and walking along it can really give you an insight into what it is like to live here. Like many before you, you’ll fall in love with it and Edinburgh just by taking a stroll down this vibrant path.
4. The Meadows
The Meadows is a large public park in the south of Edinburgh, but it is much more than a park. It is one of the most important open spaces in the city. It is where people come to relax, socialise and exercise – especially in the summer months. During the Festival, this area is buzzing with excitement and activity. Bordered by the University of Edinburgh’s George Square campus to the north and Marchmont to the south, it is a passageway for commuters, students and visitors as well as a social hub. Walking through the Meadows is actually, in many cases, the fastest way from one part of the city to another. During your stay in Edinburgh, the Meadows is perfect to have a picnic and relax to break up a long day of taking in the sights and shows. Top-tip: if you’re walking on the paths stay on the right, as these are also used by cyclists that could mow you down if you get in their way!
5. Duddingston Loch
Yes, Edinburgh has everything, even its very own Loch. This is found to the south-side of Arthur’s Seat, just before you reach Duddingston Villiage. Here you will find Dr Neils’ Garden, a very magical place which has been called Edinburgh’s Secret Garden. Many people find it more than a mere garden, this spot has many been a place of inspiration for people in the city since it was created. In 1965, the doctors whose medical practice was nearby had the idea of creating a garden on a piece of nearby waste ground. The site was exceptionally daunting, being very steep with rocky outcrops, with no vehicular access and no services. The Neils’ enthusiasm, horticultural expertise and prodigious physical labour have transformed the site into the astonishing series of colourful terraces. Duddingston Loch is also the setting for Sir Henry Raeburn’s iconic painting The Skating Minster which is housed at in the National Gallery of Scotland. After visiting the gallery, taking a nice wander down to Duddingston Loch to see its inspiration is any art lover’s dream.
Dickins self-catering properties are in all the locations you want to be, often with gorgeous Edinburgh walks right on the doorstep.