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Edinburgh from Salisbury Crags © Kenny Lam

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Walking in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, like Rome, is a city built on seven hills. Explore each one and see the incredible skyline from different vantage points. Each one offers an invigorating short walk and all of these walks can be reached by bus.

1. Edinburgh Castle

Distance: 2.5 km; duration: 1 - 1.5 hours as part of the Old Town walk

Explore the medieval heart of Edinburgh. Venture up Castle Hill to see the iconic castle, its esplanade and amazing views in all directions. From the Royal Mile, make your way up over the cobbles and take in the atmosphere.

2. Calton Hill 

Distance: 1.75km; duration: 1-1.5 hours

Calton Hill is a local favourite and it boasts numerous landmarks on the hill including the striking national monument.

3. 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.

4. Craiglockhart Hills

Distance: 4.5 km; duration: 1.5 - 2 hours

One of the four lesser known hills in the south of Edinburgh, there are incredible city views from the two summits of the Craiglockhart Hills which are found just to the west of the Morningside area.

5. Braid Hills

Distance: 4.5 km; duration: 1.5 hours

A lovely circular route, surrounded by golf courses, the Braid Hills are perfect for a peaceful walk, with views of the city and the Pentland Hills to enjoy.

6. Blackford Hill

Distance: 4.25 km; duration: 1.5 hours

Neighbouring the Braids, Blackford Hill is part of the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill nature reserve and is a real escape from the city, with woodland paths and forest wildlife to keep an eye out for.

7. Corstorphine Hill

Distance: 4.5 km; duration: 1- 1.5 hours

To the west of the city, Corstorphine Hill is an interesting stroll with amazing views of the Firth of Forth. Check out Clermiston Tower, a memorial to Walter Scott built in 1871.

Don't miss...

The Pentland Hills

A favourite escape for city dwellers, there are over 100 km of sign-posted routes across the Pentland Hills including Allermuir Hill and the Gladhouse Reservoir. 

Dean Village and Galleries of Modern Art

Distance: 4.5 km/2.75 miles. 1 - 1.5 hours

This walk from Stockbridge passes through the beautiful New Town along streets with magnificent Georgian architecture, before reaching the National Galleries of Scotland.

Water of Leith

Distance: 20.5 km; duration: 7-8 hours

The chilled-out Water of Leith pathway takes you past all of the city's best bits - Murrayfield Stadium, the GMA, Stockbridge and the Shore.

Edinburgh to Ratho

Distance: 13.5 km (one way); duration: 3 hours (one way)

Follow this traffic-free path from Edinburgh to Ratho along the Union Canal (National Cycle Route 754) starting from Edinburgh Quay in Fountainbridge. Grab some food at the Bridge Inn and head back again.

Stockbridge and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Distance: 7.5km; duration: 2.5 - 3 hours

This route starts at Edinburgh Waverley and explores one of Edinburgh's loveliest neighbourhoods and the glorious Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Circle around the Botanics and enjoy being surrounded by the brightly-coloured plants and exotic flowers.

Craigmillar Castle & Country Park

Distance: ~ 4km; duration: 1 hour

Set in a spacious country park, Edinburgh's 'other castle' is a striking tower house dating back to the 1300s. Craigmillar Castle has played host to Mary Queen of Scots, and there is a pleasant walk through the park and around the castle, with views to Arthur's Seat for most of the way.

Lauriston Castle

Distance: 2.4 km (Lauriston Castle to Cramond); duration: 30 mins

The grounds of Lauriston Castle are a fabulous place to visit for a lovely family afternoon out. Enjoy the pretty Edinburgh - Kyoto Friendship Garden, which opened in 2002, enjoy views to Cramond and the Firth of Forth. The castle dates to the 16th century and the grounds are also filled with lots of trees and manicured lawns. Double up with a visit to Cramond and take a walk along the iconic promenade.

Hopetoun House, near South Queensferry

Distance: 1 - 2 km; duration: 1 - 1.5 hours

There are two walks in the grounds of this country house, just along the coast from South Queensferry. You can enjoy the Sea Walk Trail (2 km/1 hour) overlooking the Firth of Forth, or the Spring Garden Walk (1 km/ 30 mins) with lots of ornamental trees and shrubs to admire. The house is a popular venue for weddings or treat yourself to a decadent afternoon tea in the Stables Kitchen.

Cramond & Cramond Island

Distance: 8.75 km; duration: 2 - 3 hours

Venture out to Cramond Island, a tiny isle connected to the shoreline of Edinburgh. You can only visit at low tide, so make sure to plan and check tide times in advance. The Cramond shoreline is a stunning part of the city, with a fabulous café to stop and grab a coffee.

Portobello promenade walk

Distance: 4.3km; duration: 1.5 hours

The beach at Portobello has been a much-loved spot for many generations. The promenade was built in 1866, and together with a historic swimming pool, gives Porty a Victorian spa town feel. The flat, wide stretch is also a great place to go for a jog, accompanied by the sea breeze!

You can see why Edinburgh folks love to come out here for a change of scene. Walk along the promenade and through the town to see some gorgeous Georgian houses and the impressive Town Hall on Portobello High Street. Treat yourself to a tasty lunch at Bross Bagels and a sweet treat from 12 Triangles.

The Shore Walk

South Queensferry to Cramond

Distance: 10.5 km; duration: 2.5 - 3 hours

Explore the secrets of Edinburgh's coastline along the Shore Walk, which stretches from South Queensferry to Cramond. The route starts at South Queensferry's Hawes Inn in the shadow of the three bridges, before passing hidden beaches and by the incredible Barnbougle Castle.

You'll soon reach the beautiful Dalmeny Estate, home to the Earls of Rosebery, with its golf course and seascapes for miles around. The Shore Walk can be done in small sections or in one go if you want a longer walk.