Ah, the Gardens! Whether passing through or a midday packed-lunch pit stop, the gardens are full of personality whatever the season. But in spring, something truly magical happens… Eclectic colonies of flowers punctuate the paths, trees undergo an enchanting transformation and the lush swathes of grass beckon people to come and lounge in the sun, if only for a moment.
Smothered in history and graced with geological intrigue, Arthur’s Seat could not be more suited to brisk spring walks and sunny Sunday strolls. This giant lump of rock and extinct volcano provides panoramic city views and up-close sightings of wildlife. And yet, the best part is the teeming layers of sunshine yellow gorse — wild and bright as can be — that smothers much of the Seat (especially the Salisbury Crags) and Holyrood Park.
St Andrew Square is a rejuvenating capsule of calm positioned around the city centre hustle and bustle. It’s worthwhile taking a detour through this town square during spring, if only to witness the cherry blossom as it shimmies under the magnificent Scottish sun, and rain! Consider this public garden — with its pretty blossoming plants, reflective pool, mood lighting, Melville Monument, cute café pavilion and curved paths —, a perfect coffee break spot.
The perfect place to read in peace or to simply reflect, Dunbar’s Close is Edinburgh’s own Eden. Tucked away at the end of a slim cobbled close, this hidden horticultural wonder is inundated with trees, expertly clipped shrubs and armies of cheery fragrant flowers. Swatches of green hues caress the premises while the hedges resemble a scene from Alice In Wonderland. In spring especially, every single aspect of the garden adopts a lively personality, creating the perfect potion of sweet aromas and stimulating sights.
The Water Of Leith Walkway, a foot and cycling path spanning from Balerno to Leith, is a brilliant way to explore desirable parts of the city — think the Scottish Gallery Of Modern Art, Dean Village, Stockbridge, the Botanics and Leith. With over 80 different bird species, kingdoms of ancient trees and a world of wildflowers embellishing the area, the spring flora and fauna make for a most enjoyable saunter.
The Meadows, with its sprawling carpet of grass and plenitude of tree canopies shading designated walkways, will always hold a special place in the hearts of Edinburgh-ians. During the daytime, come rain or shine, this dear green place offers an array of lounging, walking, frisbee-playing and sporting opportunities. Although not summer yet, spring is as good a time as any to break out the mandatory Meadows lounging habits with a bunch of pals. Besides, the dazzling display of cherry blossoms is spellbinding.
Dr Neil’s Garden is a no-brainer when it comes to spring hot spots in the capital. This magical thriving garden is awash with flourishing plants, singing flowers and a bucolic sense of serenity. Green-fingered types will have a field day exploring the maze of various plant species, while peace seekers will no doubt feel the need to sit back and embrace the soothing chirping of the birds. Spring, like any season, looks fabulous on this this true treasure trove.
Dr Neil’s Garden, Old Church Ln, Edinburgh, Scotland, +44 07849 187 995
Even if the weather is “pure baltic”, the historic Grassmarket area possesses a contagious buzz suited to punters and party-goers alike. Although the Black Bull is overflowing with charm, any one of the alfresco bars is a prime spot to people-watch and soak up the sparkling Scottish sunshine. Those wanting an all-day kind of spring-time outdoor boozy adventure should wander through the Old Town to The Pear Tree, which has one of the best beer gardens in town.
Discovering Edinburgh Kyoto Japanese Friendship Garden, with its bamboo shelters, tribes of blossom-embellished trees, hypnotic water features and overall zen appearance, is like finding a rare gem. Dubbed as one of the best Japanese gardens in the UK, this slice of plant paradise is ideal for impromptu picnic dates and basking in the spring sun. Those views over Cramond Island though!
Lauriston Castle, 2 Cramond Rd S, Edinburgh, Scotland +44 131 336 2060
Not just any old garden, the Botanics is a true oasis of splendour. When spring descends upon it, however, an extra dash of colour infuses every area, the rock gardens sparkle under the sun, carpets of sprouting buds pop up anywhere possible and new wildlife enters into the harmonious equation. Witnessing this botanical masterpiece is the only remedy for shaking off those winter blues.