Ten great places to go for a walk in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a compact city, so without a doubt, the best way to get around, whilst taking in the sights, is on foot.

The city has an abundance of green space, so you don’t just have to pound the pavement to get your steps in.

Cramond Beach

Cramond Beach (Photo: Winnie Ho/Shutterstock)

Cramond Beach is situated on the outer suburbs of Edinburgh. If the tide is out, you can choose between a sandy stroll or the paved pathway alongside the beach if you have a buggy, or it’s easier to navigate.

A dog friendly walk, you are sure to meet many new fluffy companions on your travels. You may also bump into an eight tonne fish sculpture by Ronald Rae, that once sat in Holyrood Park, but now graces the shore at Cramond.

This walk along the sea edge is sure to blow away any cobwebs.

Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat

You can’t beat the summit of Arthur’s Seat for breathtaking, panoramic views of the city. The 800ft climb up this extinct volcano is short, but challenging, and will certainly get the blood pumping!

If you’re not up for a scramble, follow the road around the base of Arthur’s Seat and you’ll still get some lovely views, as well as a chance to see the bevy of swans at St Margaret’s loch.

Finish your walk with a stroll back towards town through peaceful Holyrood Park where you’ll spot plenty of wildlife, as well as the ruins of St Anthony’s chapel.

For a truly magical experience, try to reach the summit for sunrise, it can’t quite be beaten.

Inverleith Park

Inverleith Park (Photo: Iordanis/Shutterstock)

Inverleith Park has something for everyone, with it’s three football, four rugby and six seven-a-side pitches, a cricket square, petanque area, children’s play park, workout equipment, running trail, secluded sun dial garden (dated 1890), as well as a pond with it’s fair share of ducks and swans to admire. Being the home town of JK Rowling, you might even catch a Quidditch game or two at the weekend. No, seriously.

Despite all this activity, the park is never over run, so you have plenty of room to breathe. It also has a rather surprising, unspoiled view over the city. It’s therefore a popular spot to watch the fireworks at Hogmanay. Some might say it’s the best view in town!

The Royal Botanics

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh

We are so spoilt in Edinburgh to not only have one of the world’s leading botanic gardens, but also to have free access to it. Of course, a donation is suggested upon arrival to keep this glorious site evolving, but ultimately, you can stroll through the door into a wonderland of greenery in the middle of the city.

Weave your way around the gardens along paved pathways, looking in awe at the mind blowing 13,302 plant species. A feast for the senses for sure.

With 70 acres to wander through or to explore, you’ll be sure to spot new nooks and crannies every time you visit.

Top Tip: Check the opening hours before you head over as they change seasonally.

Leith Water

Water of Leith Walkway (Photo: Kevin George/Shutterstock)

For a tranquil stroll with plenty of wildlife, the Water of Leith walkway ticks all the boxes. The entire trail is 12 miles, but you can do as much or as little as suits, being able to join the walk, or duck out easily along the route.

The section of the walkway that really stands out is from Stockbridge to Dean Village, twisting through the New Town with various landmarks along the way including; St Bernard’s Well, Thomas Telford’s famous Dean Bridge and if you’re lucky, you might get to see an otter family making their way up stream.

Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill

Blackford Hill (Photo: Karol Kozlowski/Shutterstock)

The Hermitage is often described as ‘a hidden gem’, so it’s definitely one to venture to. With the Braid Burn running through it and nearly 150 acres of land to traverse, it’s a walkers haven.

There are many paths you can follow for shorter or longer walks, with the bird life and wild flowers in abundance.

Head along to Blackford Hill to see a magnificent view stretching back over Edinburgh to the north. At only 164 metres high, it’s a manageable climb without having to break too much of a sweat.

The Old Mill Trail

The Almond River was once heavily polluted as it used to be home to corn and iron mills along its banks. Thankfully, owing to a water regeneration programme, it is now a thriving habitat for wildlife and walkers alike.

The pathway along the river will also take you alongside the Firth of Forth, taking in stunning views across some wild looking beaches. If you follow the route all the way to Queensferry you’ll pass by many a splendid site, including; The Dalmeny Estate, Barnbougle Castle, and the most Scottish site of them all, the three Forth bridges.

Corstorphine Hill

Corstorphine Hill (Photo: EduardoRM/Shutterstock)

This small hill is a long, wood-covered ridge, rising above the western suburbs of Edinburgh, and also home to Edinburgh Zoo. It is one of the city’s largest public parks and is attractive to dog walkers, joggers, birdwatchers and in winters, it’s a great spot for a sledge down the hillsides.

The ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ viewpoint is a lovely spot to breathe in the fresh air and partake in a bit of quiet contemplation.

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile

Probably most appealing to those walkers wishing to pick up a Tam O’Shanter hat or a pint en route. A walk up and along the Royal Mile will be slow as you trail behind tourists, but it’s a must do in Edinburgh.

Starting at Holyrood Palace, heading in a straight line up towards the Castle, your calves will feel it but you’ll definitely enjoy it. It’s not every day you get to hike up an ancient, cobbled roadway whilst being serenaded by a piper on the corner.

Union Canal

The Union Canal in Edinburgh (Photo: Ulmus Media/Shutterstock)

Completed in 1822 the canal was built to connect Edinburgh to the Forth and Clyde Canal to allow coal and other goods to be brought into the city by boat. In recent years, owing to a successful regeneration programme, the towpath has become popular with walkers, cyclists and runners.

It’s another route that will leave you surprised that you’re in the middle of the city. It’s peaceful and meandering with plenty to look at – rowers on the water, some classic canal boats parked up, and plenty of watery wildlife.

You can leave the towpath and loop back to weave your way back to town quite easily. Or if you’re up for a big walk, you can really go for it along this route, walking all the way to Falkirk, taking in The Wheel and the Kelpies on course.