Walking in Edinburgh & The Lothians

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Download your FREE Walk in Scotland 2015 guide
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  • View towards the city of Edinburgh from Beecraigs Country Park, near Linlithgow
    View towards the city of Edinburgh from Beecraigs Country Park, near Linlithgow
  • The view towards Edinburgh city centre from the slopes of Caerketton Hill
    The view towards Edinburgh city centre from the slopes of Caerketton Hill
  • A couple walking up Calton Hill, Edinburgh
    A couple walking up Calton Hill, Edinburgh
  • Dunsapie Loch in Holyrood Park
    Dunsapie Loch in Holyrood Park
  • A couple walking along a path in the Pentland Hills Regional Park
    A couple walking along a path in the Pentland Hills Regional Park

The breathtaking countryside of Edinburgh & The Lothians, with its tranquil woodlands and fabulous historical attractions, provides the perfect setting to enjoy a relaxing walk in the great outdoors.

Walking in Edinburgh & The Lothians

With a stunning and varied countryside, Edinburgh & The Lothians offers a great range of walks throughout the year. Whether it is a short city walk up the iconic volcano Arthur's Seat to enjoy spectacular views across the city or following old railway lines, drove roads and a canal path in the Lothian countryside, you’ll uncover beautiful scenery, incredible wildlife and fascinating local history along the way.

Below is just a small selection of the many trails you could choose.

Easy walks

• Calton Hill
Distance: 1.75km; duration: 1-1.5 hours
Calton Hill has traditionally been a place of recreation for the residents of Edinburgh. There are numerous monuments on the hill including the striking National Monument. This is a popular walk with fine views across the city and the Firth of Forth.

• Braid Hills
Distance: 4.5km; duration: 1.5 hours
This circular walk takes you round the southernmost of Edinburgh’s seven hills. It is a long steady climb to reach the highest summit of the Braid Hills. There are excellent 360 degree views north to Edinburgh's city centre.

• Dean Village and Galleries of Modern Art
Distance: 4.5km; duration: 1.5 hours
This walk from Stockbridge passes through Edinburgh’s beautiful New Town and takes you past some magnificent Georgian architecture to reach the National Galleries of Scotland. The walk returns along the Water of Leith, passing through a deep gorge and the beautiful Dean Village.

• Calderwood
Distance: 5km; duration: 1.5 hours
This circular walk follows the River Almond and the Murieston Water through ancient, mixed woodland. This walk can be extended by crossing a large stone bridge over the Calder Water and following the path through the Almondell & Calderwood Country Park.

• Blackness Castle
Distance: 6.5km; duration: 2 hours
Starting at Carriden Parish Church, this walk follows the edge of the River Forth along a quiet tarmac road before joining a lovely forest track. Follow the path into Blackness and up to the dramatic castle, which is open to the public all year round. Along the route there are some superb views of the Forth Bridges and Fife beyond.

Moderate walks

• Arthur’s Seat
Distance: 5.5km; duration: 1.5 hours
No visit to Scotland’s capital is complete without an attempt at scaling the imposing, iconic Arthur’s Seat. It may look like a challenge from the bottom, but the climb is straightforward, depending on what route you take. From the summit there are fabulous views of the city, Firth of Forth and Fife.

• Aberlady Bay and Gullane Point
Distance: 9km; duration: 2.5-3.5 hours
This is a fine circular walk through a beautiful Local Nature Reserve. The route takes in a fine sandy beach before continuing to the picturesque village of Gullane and returning inland along a section of the John Muir Way. Note that dogs are not permitted on the nature reserve.

• North Berwick Law
Distance: 6.75km; duration: 2-2.5 hours
This walk starts in the car park at the base of North Berwick Law, but for a longer walk it is possible to start at the High Street in North Berwick before continuing up Law Road and Haddington Road to the car park. This conical extinct volcanic gives a magnificent panoramic view of much of Lothian, into the Scottish Borders and across the Firth of Forth to the Fife coast.

• Dalkeith Country Park
Distance: 6.5km; duration: 2 hours
This fine walk meanders through the picturesque and historic surroundings of Dalkeith Country Park, taking in the spectacular ruined conservatory, the banks of the Rivers North and South Esk, and an ancient oak wood. An entry fee may be charged for use of facilities within the park.

• Roslin Glen and Rosslyn Chapel
Distance: 5.25km; duration: 2.5 hours
This superb woodland walk explores the countryside and dramatic wooded gorge of Rosslyn Glen. The route follows the River North Esk past the remains of ruined gunpowder mills and 15th century Rosslyn Castle, as well as the nearby Rosslyn Chapel.

Longer Walks

• Pentland Hills
Distance and duration vary.
For a challenging walk head to the Pentland Hills Regional Park on the edge of Edinburgh. There are over 100km of sign posted routes across the hills and the Pentland Hills Ranger Service leads a number of guided walks and other events throughout the year.

• Water of Leith
Distance: 20.5km; duration: 7-8 hours
This beautiful walk takes you through the heart of Scotland’s capital city and passes many areas of interest, including Murrayfield Stadium, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Village, Stockbridge and the Royal Botanic Garden. You can choose to join the walkway from a number of places up and down the river or link with other paths, cycle routes, the canal and Pentland Hills.

• John Muir Way
Distance: 73km; duration: 5-6 days
A fantastic way to explore the area is along the John Muir Way. This long distance route offers magnificent views of the region, including much of the stunning countryside and coastline. Along the way you’ll discover unique wetland habitats and some of the regions fascinating wildlife such as the curlew and the redshank.