5 Scenic Spots In And Around Edinburgh

London, Cardiff and Belfast all have their charms - but for many, Edinburgh’s elegance eclipses them all.

The sublime Neoclassical symmetry of its New Town complements the cobbled streets and winding closes of the Old Town, while Edinburgh Castle, with its volcanic base, adds a dash of danger and drama.

If you’re visiting ‘the Athens of the North’, there’s so much to see that you’ll have to choose carefully ̶ to help you get started, here are five scenic spots in and around Edinburgh.

Arthur’s Seat

Located 1.6 km east of Edinburgh Castle in Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat is another extinct volcano, which writer Robert Louis Stevenson described as ‘a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design’.

Whether you want to hike up this stunning craggy outcrop and surrounding lush parkland or simply sit and enjoy the view, it’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Tip: the Scottish Parliament is nearby and it’s worth taking a tour of this cool contemporary building.

Victoria Street

Victoria Street is a steep charming crescent of pretty pastel-coloured buildings that rolls down from George IV Bridge to the lively Grassmarket, and it’s arranged on two levels ̶ you can sit sipping a coffee on the upper terrace and people-watch to your heart’s content.

As well as looking wonderful, Victoria Street is also home to lots of amazing independent shops where you can pick up unusual gifts and crafts.

Tip: browse the Old Town Bookshop ̶ it’s a treasure trove for bibliophiles.

South Queensferry

South Queensferry is about 14 km northwest of Edinburgh city centre and it’s the perfect picturesque spot for a day trip.

There are three modern wonders of the engineering world here which span the River Forth ̶ the Forth Bridge (a rail bridge), Forth Road Bridge (which caters for buses and lorries) and the Queensferry Crossing (for cars). Put simply, the views are awe-inspiring.

Tip: rent a car in a click from UK car hire site Enjoy for trips to neighbouring counties like Fife.

Princes Street Gardens

Princes Street is Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare and its eponymous gardens run almost its entire length, on the side of the street that’s opposite the shops and overlooked by the castle.

They’re actually a drained loch (lake) and picnicking here on a sunny day is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Tip: climb the Scott Monument here if you’ve got a head for heights ̶ it’s 200ft high with 287 steps!

Calton Hill

Calton Hill is just off Princes Street in the city centre and offers spectacular views across Edinburgh and over the Forth to Fife. The trek to the top is a little steep, but if you’re reasonably fit you’ll be there in ten minutes and it’s well worth the effort.

There are some interesting installations at the top, including the National Monument, an unfinished acropolis originally built to honour fallen Scottish soldiers and sailors from the Napoleonic Wars.

Tip: watch this amazing video of Calton Hill from drone specialists Airborne Lens.

That’s the list! Share your own favourite Edinburgh spots in the comments below.

*Collaborative post


  1. Richard Williams13 July 2020 at 09:30

    I think Edinburgh is a very underrated city. So much to see and lots of history

  2. I love Edinburgh. Went to the festival one year, it's amazing