The 10 Most Scenic Places In Edinburgh

View From Princes Street Gardens | © Pixabay
View From Princes Street Gardens | © Pixabay
Photo of Tori Chalmers
14 March 2017

Scotland is famed for its striking scenery and moody landscapes. But when you hone in on its cities, you’ll find they have just as much to offer as the Scottish wilderness. From busy cobbled streets to Scottish vernacular architecture, discover the most scenic places in Edinburgh you just can’t miss. Castle views guaranteed!

Princes St Gardens

There’s something spectacular about the Princes St Gardens, especially when the sun shines and the flecks hit the castle in just the right way. Jaw-dropping to newcomers, these gardens, which run the full length of the main, vibrant thoroughfare, offer an oasis of sanctitude and lush patches of green within the usual chaotic city shuffle. Whether lounging on the grass looking up or staring from the nearby Scott Monument, these gardens offer front row seats to views of the castle.

Princes Street Gardens, Princes St, Edinburgh, Scotland

The End Of The Royal Mile

Standing at the end of the noble Royal Mile presents a unique predicament — to run towards the open rolling terrain of Arthur’s Seat or scan the Mile for tartan souvenirs! Either way, make sure to look around and take in the scenery. The imposing yet impressive modern Scottish Parliament building blends in with the grand Palace Of Holyroodhouse. These sights are only complimented by the presence of the rugged parkland, ascending roads and Arthur’s Seat. This unassuming spot offers a glimpse into the real Edinburgh, while presenting a telling juxtaposition of new and old.

Scottish Parliament Building, Canongate, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Royal Botanic Garden

Botanical Garden, Park
Map View
The Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens | © Laura Suarez/Flickr
Those craving serenity but lacking the time for travelling to the Highlands can seek sanctuary at the Botanics. Tall trees, wildlife and a wondrous potion of plants from all over the world make this one of the most breathtaking places in Edinburgh. Wandering around the giant lily pond, touring the glasshouse and investigating nature right in the heart of the city provides scenic moments that last for hours.

St Giles’ Cathedral

Historical Landmark, Cathedral
Map View

When flustered or uninspired, make way for St Giles’ Cathedral and embrace the beauty. Dating back to the late 14th century, this iconic landmark was built in honour of Saint Giles, Edinburgh’s patron saint. The mosaic of stained glass and marvellous stone carvings never fail to catch the eye. Located within the Thistle Chapel, the angel playing bagpipes cannot be missed either.

Arthur’s Seat

Map View
Arthur’s Seat | Courtesy Of This Is Edinburgh
Courtesy of This Is Edinburgh
A no brainer when in search of scenic locations, Arthur’s Seat is up there with the most idyllic places in the city. From the swans dancing on the loch and runners weaving around the park to the little dots of people atop the summit, it’s astonishing to think that such a natural wonder lies smack bang within this concrete jungle! You can always rely on this good old lump of rock to provide the most breathtaking views of Edinburgh and beyond.

Duddingston Village

A village within a city, Duddingston resembles a picture-perfect ‘wish you were here in Scotland’ kind of postcard! The Sheep Heid Inn, a charming drinking den with a veteran bowling alley, dates back to the 1300s and is one of the many personality traits of this sought after area. What’s more, Arthur’s Seat near Duddingston Loch and Dr Neil’s Garden are gems within this giant scenic gem.

Duddingston, Edinburgh, Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

Map View
Grand Gallery, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
© JOHN KELLERMAN / Alamy Stock Photo
The National Museum of Scotland, or The Chambers Street Museum as it is locally known, is a trusty cure for those days where you just can’t catch a break. If you have five minutes to spare, head on into the main hall, meander up the enchanting steps and gaze out onto the exhibits and sea of curiosities below. Pure magic.


Edinburgh really offers the best of both worlds — spaces with village feels and an urban playground. Just a short bus ride away, Cramond has that golden village atmosphere (where everyone knows your name) and a beach made for strolling while savouring a chippy! Watching the causeway pylon shadows shift as the light changes is like a scene straight from a film. Then again, so is walking alongside the river Almond, admiring the bobbing boats and adoring the vast Scottish sunset.

Cramond, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art

Whether Modern One, Modern Two or both, the Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art is a magnet for art lovers and ‘scenic setting seekers’ alike. The grounds of each consist of a surprising amount of parkland decorated with stunning sculptural works by revered artists like Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Nathan Coley. Landform, the landscape art by Charles Jencks outside Modern One, is as captivating as the nearby ‘Everything Is Going To Be Alright’ sign or Work No. 975 by Martin Creed.

Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, 75 Belford Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland

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