Top 5 Walkable areas around Edinburgh
One of the reasons why I love Edinburgh is because it has a mixture of both nature and city. As an avid walker, I really love walking to different locations and so all of the locations listed below are walk-friendly (or cyclable) from the city centre!
Royal Mile & Edinburgh Castle
So first up is the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. The Royal Mile is a gorgeous long road that goes through Old Town and links Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood house. Walking up the archaic cobbled street to Edinburgh Castle, you’ll pass by many historic buildings, petite shops, and the occasional bagpiper. When at Edinburgh Castle, make sure to take in the sights of Arthur’s Seat and the city (which you can see from the car park!).
Next is Calton Hill, another viewpoint where you can see the city’s amazing views and visit Scottish landmarks such as the National Monument and Nelson Monument. It takes less than five minutes to walk up the steps and you are rewarded with stunning views from all angles. (The best route up is probably from Regent Road nearby Princes Street.) I’d highly recommend going at any time of the day! I really loved going here with my friends in the evening after a long day of work and relaxing while admiring the view.
Princes Street Gardens
Another picturesque spot is the Princes Street Gardens which is just below Princes Street and overlooked by Edinburgh Castle. It’s a delightful park to walk through for an afternoon stroll with neat flower beds and a large fountain below the castle which is especially aesthetically pleasing. There’s also plenty of benches to sit and embrace the surroundings, along with grassy areas making it the perfect picnic spot.
Victoria Street is one of Edinburgh’s most eye-catching streets with boldly coloured old-fashioned buildings making it an incredibly photogenic spot. Here you’ll find a range of shops from little boutiques to even a Harry Potter shop – which is only natural since allegedly, JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley came from this street!
Arthurs Seat & Holyrood Park
Finally, Arthur’s Seat, an extinct ancient volcano from which you can see spectacular views of the city. The hike isn’t too bad either, taking around 45 minutes to an hour but is definitely worth the effort for the 360-degree view of Edinburgh from the top. You can take a variety of paths to walk up with varying difficulties but be prepared for a mixture of rocky and uneven paths. I would highly suggest you wear a sturdy pair of shoes and also bring a jacket as it can be quite windy at the top! I’d definitely recommend going at sunrise or sunset as the view then is breath-taking. Aside from getting to the peak, just jogging around the Holyrood Park is also always refreshing as you pass by the lakes, Arthurs Seat and Salisbury Crags, taking in the natural beauty of Edinburgh.
There are many more notable locations including the Water of Leith, Dean Village, Botanic Gardens but also smaller spots such as little alleyways and dainty cafes which you’ll pass by as you wander around Edinburgh. On the whole, it’s a beautifully rich city to walk around and there are also lots of cafes and eateries nearby to all of these locations if you want to stop for some food! If you want to travel a little further from the city centre, you can find Portobello beach to the north and Blackford hills to the south – another great hiking spot with panoramic views.
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Blog post originally written by Ojaswee in 2020, Informatics Student