The Royal Botanic Garden is Edinburgh’s very own wonderland. Close your eyes and allow your senses to open up — birds tweet, waters flow, leaves rustle, and trees sway. Open them again and find a whole new level of appreciation for this horticultural paradise. This place may not be a strenuous walk, so consider it a relaxing and most enjoyable stroll. Feel like getting lost? There are plenty of pretty places within the gardens that are ideal for exactly that.
Looking to see the sights of Edinburgh over a short time span? Walk the Royal Mile. Stretch those legs and entertain the calf muscles while experiencing some of the most important landmarks in the city. Absorb the majesty and unwavering beauty of the Castle, meander off down an alluring close, enter into the gorgeous St Giles’ Cathedral, stop in for a quick pint at a pub, then continue power walking until Holyrood Palace pops into view. Welcome to Edinburgh.
The Water of Leith is a perfect pathway for adventuring. Consider it a beautiful stroll as opposed to a hardy hike. The water itself is the main river that flows through Edinburgh until it meets the Firth of Forth. Start at Balerno and follow the water until you get to Leith. Immerse yourself into nature as you watch the autumn leaves fall from the many trees and examine the old stone bridges overhead. Look out for wild brown trout, eels, minnows, and even some pike here and there.
Hermitage of Braid is an absolute treat and a half when it comes to top walking places in the city. This area is a walker’s Eden that features Blackford Hill, Braid Burn, and the Braid Hills. The Blackford Hill Nature Reserve is a perfect spot to clear the head and let those legs wander. Expect undulating terrain, meandering paths, and trickling waters on your travels. Walkers can thank John McDougal, who in 1937 bestowed the land upon the city so that it can be explored and appreciated by all. Hardcore walkers can traverse the permanent orienteering courses.
Cramond is the best of both worlds — it is a rightful part of Edinburgh with a village feel. Escape to this beauty and enjoy a gentle stroll along the pavements to soak up the lovely architecture. Those who want a ‘proper’ walk should wander down the Almond River. Immerse yourself into a real-life painting as you set eyes on the conglomeration of boats at the harbour. When the tide permits and bravery sets in, serious adventurers can cross the tidal causeway to Cramond Island. Others can set foot on the silver swathes of sand that surrounds.
In order to absorb the best views of Edinburgh, escape the urban jungle and make it your mission to explore the walks on and around Arthur’s Seat. Venture to the lochs and watch the swans as they gracefully glide across the water. Standing at the foot of this ancient volcano is Holyrood Park — 640 acres worth of open green land and the perfect walking place. As you journey across this breathtakingly beautiful park, don’t surpass a visit to the 15th century St Anthony’s Chapel. Traveling through the grass and ascending this magnificent mountain, it is easy to put yourself in the shoes of Robert Louis Stevenson, who described this sanctuary as ‘a hill for magnitude and mountain in virtue of its bold design’.
For those who delight in the idea of woody walks and crisscrossing trails, look no further than Corstorphine Hill. This area can be walked in approximately an hour and is a great place for taking the dog. Savour that countryside feeling while being in the heart of the city. Enjoy searching for the redundant nuclear shelter and challenge yourself with the sporadic steps and steep ascents and descents. Going down is always the fun part! Corstorphine Hill is one out of Edinburgh’s seven hills, so embrace the fresh Scottish air and blissful atmospheric views.
Delight in the resplendent selection of flora and fauna at Cammo Estate. Situated on the periphery of the city, this beauty has a low gradient, making it the perfect spot for those opposed to steep ascents. The parkland was conceived in approximately 1710 – 1726 as the grounds for Cammo House. After being passed on to other parties (and an unfortunate incident involving vandals torching the house), the estate was gifted to the City of Edinburgh Council in 1977. Expect to see the 19th century water tower, remains of the stables, and an old bridge on your travels. This top walking spot is said to have inspired the great Robert Louis Stevenson. Go on — step into his mind and see the ‘House Of Shaws’ from Kidnapped.