Walking Guide: The Best Walks In and Around Edinburgh

There isn't much to do during lockdown other than walks and wanders with your friends so we've picked the best ones in and around Edinburgh for you. They're ranked easiest to hardest so you can pick the one that suits you!

Wardie Bay

View looking out along the breakwater from Wardie Bay onto the Firth of Forth

An easy stroll perfect for the weekend. If you’ve not ventured to this side of town before, this is a great place to start. You can walk along the beach and right out along the breakwater. We’ve heard it’s pretty special at sunset too! If you’re feeling brave, it’s the perfect spot for a chilly Firth of Forth swim as well.

Perfect for: casual stroll, families, Instagrammers 

River Almond walkway from Cramond Brig to Cramond Island

The River Almond running through autumnal trees

We love this walk along the River Almond walkway from Cramond Brig to Cramond Island. You can park at Cramond Brig and it’s mostly flat and an easy walk. With beautiful views of the river and some interesting old buildings to explore along the way, this is a great walk for families. As you get to the Cramond esplanade, pick up some food from the Cramond Bistro or keep heading along the path to the Boardwalk Beach Club. If the tide is out, you can head over to Cramond Island but make sure you check the tide times so you don’t get stuck out there!

Perfect for: a casual stroll, families

Hermitage of Braid

Sunshine comes through the trees at Hermitage of Braid

One of our favourite spots in Edinburgh for a leisurely stroll that will make you feel like you’re miles from a bustling city! Start at The Lodge Coffee House (and maybe pick up a coffee or hot chocolate) and head into the Hermitage. There are lots of paths to explore so you could be there for hours wandering around. Make sure you check out the amazing terraced walled garden and the Doocot on the north side of the burn. The bug hotels in the garden are perfect for curious kids!

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can keep heading up to Blackford Hill for some of the best views of the city, the Pentlands to the south and over to Fife on a clear day. If you have time, check out the Royal Observatory.

Perfect for: families, nature lovers

Water of Leith

The Water of Leith is another gem within the city and the great thing about it is that you can really tailor the walk to how far you feel like going. The river runs for 24 miles from the Pentlands to Leith and winds its way through our city past some of the best areas.

Our favourite shorter section is from Dean Village to Stockbridge with stunning views of the beautiful buildings of Dean Village and lots of options for food and drink in Stockbridge.

Buildings of Dean Village on the Water of Leith

If you have a whole day and you’re up for a longer walk, you can get the bus out to Balerno and walk the whole river. You’ll get to walk through the beautiful Colinton Dell and see the amazing new mural at the Colinton Tunnel and can stop off at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust and Visitors Centre at Slateford. 

Perfect for: nature lovers, families, foodies

Calton Hill

Some might argue this view of Edinburgh beats Arthur’s Seat… With amazing views down Princes Street, over to East Lothian and Fife, this walk is a must for locals and tourists alike. There are lots of monuments to explore that will teach you about Edinburgh’s history and it wouldn’t be a trip up Calton Hill without struggling to get up onto the National Monument of Scotland for a picture… 

Two children stand with their backs facing the camera on the National Monument of Scotland with views of Edinburgh in front of them

While you’re in the area, head to the Old Calton Cemetery. Bare with us, it’s not as grim as it sounds and it is definitely a hidden gem in the city. You might not think you would find a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Edinburgh but you would be wrong! The Old Calton Cemetery has the only monument to the US Civil War outside of the US including a very grand statue of the man himself. 

Perfect for: families, Instagrammers, history buffs

Allermuir and The Pentland Hills Regional Park

Purple heather in front of a view of the Pentland hills

We are SO lucky to have the Pentland Hills Regional Park on our doorstep and we think more locals should take advantage of the walks that are so close to us. With 20 miles of hills to explore, the Regional Park also hosts beautiful reservoirs, many of which you can swim in. 

Allermuir is a great place to start if you want to explore the whole area. It’s a steep climb to get up there but the views are definitely worth it. From the top, you can make your way along the ridge to Hillend to the east or to Capelaw to the west or you can head over the other side to finish up at Flotterstone (where we would recommend a yummy lunch at the Flotterstone Inn because you will definitely deserve it after that walk!).

Perfect for: adventurous walkers, families

The Seven Hills of Edinburgh

A man sits on top of Arthur's Seat looking out onto views of Edinburgh

If you are feeling VERY adventurous and want a full day of walking that will really let you explore the whole of the city, we recommend the epic The Seven Hills of Edinburgh. The hills are - Castle Rock, Blackford Hill, Corstorphine Hill, Braid Hill, Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill and Craiglockhart Hills. We won’t lie, it’s a big walk so stock up on snacks (or, if you’re anything like us, you’ll plan some stops at some great local places), stretch those legs and get started! 

Don’t be put off by the fact that during the annual Seven Hills of Edinburgh race, some manage it in less than two hours...

Perfect for: adventurous, anyone looking to show off on Strava  

Walkhighlands is a great resource with routes and information on walks around Edinburgh.

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