The 7 Best Parks To Visit in Edinburgh

East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, with the Festival Wheel, Scott Monument and Balmoral Hotel on the skyline
East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, with the Festival Wheel, Scott Monument and Balmoral Hotel on the skyline | © travellinglight / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Madeleine Bazil
9 February 2017
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Edinburgh is a city of many nooks and crannies and winding alleys, but equally it is a city of open green spaces which are perfect for exploring, hiking, or just relaxing. How many cities can boast a dormant volcano in their midst? Read on for seven of the best parks in the Athens of the North.

Holyrood Park

Park
View of Edinburgh from the cliffs of Holyrood Park
© fletchjr / Alamy Stock Photo
Located in the heart of Edinburgh, Holyrood Park is a sprawling expanse of green lawn and trails, book-ended by the Royal Mile and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and dwarfed by craggy hills. It is best known for being the home of Arthur’s Seat: a dormant volcano and the highest point of the park, which makes for an approximately 2-hour hike which depending on the weather can be a delightful walk or an athlete’s challenge. The view from the top, though, is one of a kind.

Inverleith Park

Park
View of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle from Inverleith Park, Scotland
© Iconographic Creative / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo
North of the New Town and Stockbridge, Inverleith Park commands 54 acres, making it one of the biggest urban parks in all of Scotland. It encompasses everything one could possible desire in a park: vegetable gardens, fields used for football, rugby, and cricket, a children’s playground, a boating pond, a rose garden, a running track, tennis courts, and even a pétanque court.

Calton Hill

City Observatory in Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland

Calton Hill, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, +44 131 529 7061
At the end of Princes Street lies this immense hill, famous for its dramatic placement overlooking the city. Atop the Hill are several monuments, including the striking National Monument of Scotland, a Parthenon-inspired stone memorial to fallen Scottish soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson’s Monument is also a prominent feature of Calton Hill, and can be seen from throughout the city.

Princes Street Gardens

Market, Park
Ross Fountain in West Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle
© Susanne Pommer / Alamy Stock Photo
Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, +44 131 529 7921
Nestled below the castle is this charming, flora-filled park, which features walking paths as well as the Scott Monument and the Ross Fountain. The Ross Bandstand plays home to assorted concerts and special events, including during Edinburgh’s legendary hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve, celebrations as well as a Christmas Market and ‘winter wonderland’ in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Meadows

Park
Cricket in the Meadows, Edinburgh with the apartments in the Quartermile in the distance
© Ian Rutherford / Alamy Stock Photo
The Meadows, Melville Drive, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, +44 131 529 5151
South of the city center, this park comprises open grassland and paths, tennis courts, a croquet club, a playground, and various other sporting pitches. Due to its prominence and size, The Meadows is used frequently for sporting competitions, including the annual Meadows Marathon, and is also often used as a venue for the Edinburgh Festival as well as hosting marches, rallies, and visiting circuses.

Bruntsfield Links

Two people sat on a park bench between two trees, Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh


This park was formerly part of the Burgh Muir, a woodland cleared in 1508 under a decree of King James IV in order to gather timber for construction in Old Town. Today the Bruntsfield Links is popular with dog-walkers, is used by historical re-enactors as a practice ground, and its north-facing slope proves an excellent spot for sledging in the wintertime.
By Madeleine Bazil
Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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