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Edinburgh Walks

Edinburgh is a great city for walking. From exploring the city itself on private guided walking tours to finding hidden paths and walkways, glens, parks and paths. There are lots of designated off-road paths and routes for you to discover. So you can enjoy the great Scottish outdoors during your visit to the city. Plus, if you hop on a bus, travel by train or jump in the car, you can be in the middle of the Scottish countryside within half an hour. Or perhaps walking a sandy beach along the beautiful east coast. So join us for some great Edinburgh Walks.

Two kayaks on the beach with the iconic Bass Rock at the background. Near North Berwick, Scotland, UK
Bass Rock Near North Berwick Beach. 45 mins from Parliament House Hotel.

Edinburgh Walking and Cycling Routes

QuietRoutes Maps is a great resource to help you find a route away from busy roads. Download and print these handy maps, which show the different types of foot and cycle paths around the city. There is also an interactive map here, which shows all the QuietRoutes and cycle parking. In addition, you can pick up printed maps at Edinburgh iCentre or Edinburgh City Chambers.

People climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh
Arthur’s Seat

Magnificent Hill Walks

Within the city itself, Edinburgh has plenty of hills for you to climb. Take in stunning views from the top of Calton Hill, Arthurs Seat, Blackford Hill, and Corstorphine Hill. Climb the seven hills of Edinburgh. Geographically the city is situated within the ring of 7 volcanic hills. Calton Hill, where our hotel is based. Castle Rock, where Edinburgh Castle sits. Arthur’s Seat, next to Hollyrood Palace and park. Then we have Corstorphine Hill, Craiglockhart Hill, Braid Hill and Blackford Hill. These 7 Hills of Edinburgh offer superb panoramas of the city. A wonderful place to enjoy a picnic, Or to soak up your surroundings with a bit of nature.

See our guide to the best hill walks in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh view from Arthurs Seat
Arthur’s Seat by Hollyrood Palace at the base of the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh River Walk & Cycles

A super walking and cycling route through the city is the Water of Leith Walkway. This 24-mile river walk has exits up to some wonderful site in the city, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens. A super place to stop for a delicious lunch or some home baking. Along the route, enjoy the running water, wildlife and a green leafy retreat from the city. Being mostly flat, the route is also a popular running route in Edinburgh. You can buy a map of the route on the water of Leith Conservation site. There are plenty of benches to stop and relax along the way too. Walk the full route or part of the route. Then you can simply venture off and jump on a bus or a tram back to the city centre.

Water of Leith Dean Village
Dean Village and the Water of Leith walkway through the city.

Edinburgh’s Glens

In Scotland, a glen is something you will often come across. Translated as a “narrow valley” it is exactly that. Take a valley, shrink it down and add in a lot of trees, wildlife and a “burn” here and there. Often these are ash tracks or slightly muddier trails, suitable for trainers or walking shoes. But with an established walkway through the trees. Blackford Glen is one such popular Edinburgh walking spot. Here you can lose yourself on a good walk through the woods with a few surprise sculptures along the way. This circuit route takes around 40 mins to an hour and is a wonderful escape for most levels of walker.

Victorian Gardens & Parks

Edinburgh is spoilt for gardens and parks. Perfect for all levels of walkers. These well paved paths, maintained gardens and flat walkways with gradual inclines are hidden amoungst the buildings, waiting to be explored. Princes Street Gardens is the situated right in the heart of the city, a few minutes walk from our door. Separating the old from the new town, the gardens are situated in the valley of the city and host a number of events throughout the year.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is another true gem! A world-leading botanic garden, set in 70 acres of beautiful landscape. Here you can go back in time nearly 350 years and learn about its plantings and past. A pleasure for all, the Garden also offers superb views of Edinburgh’s skyline.

Holyrood Park, connecting to Holyrood Palace is a windswept, hilly public park. Just a few minutes walk from Edinburgh Old Town and the Royal Mile. A 15-minute walk from our hotel, here you will find Arthur’s Seat and Saint Anthony’s Chapel Ruins. The park encompasses a five-mile radius of land, dating back as a Royal Park since the 12th century. The perfect place for walking and cycling in Edinburgh with plenty to explore.

Saint Anthony's Chapel Ruins

Saughton Park is a hidden gem of Edinburgh. Spread over 34 acres, with paths through a delightful formal garden in classic style. Enjoy neatly-clipped yew hedges, flower and heather beds, a sunken Italian garden, specimen trees and it’s famous rose garden. It also enjoys a glass Winter Garden with exotic plants and a sensory garden of sweet fragrances for the blind. If you are in training, you can enjoy it’s open spaces, with playing fields and athletics track.

Beaches Near Edinburgh

With transport, you can quickly escape the city to some of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches! Jump on a train, or take a car and experience a different side of Scotland, not to be missed.

Portobello Beach is the closest beach to Parliament House Hotel being a 1-hour walk, or 14-minute taxi ride away. This Traditional seaside beach, complete with promenade offers sandy stretches overlooking the Forth.

North Berwick is a true beauty spot, overlooking the famous Bass Rock. This wealthy seaside town offers hours of beach walks, superb golf courses, art galleries, shopping and dining. A wonderful day trip from Edinburgh by train.

The ruin of Tantallen Castle and the Bass rock island off the shore of North Berwick in Scotland

Head north of the city, across the famous Forth Bridges (by rail or car) to the Kingdom of Fife. Here you will find many popular beaches to enjoy. From wonderful Elie and it’s famous cliff-hanging chain walk, to the historic town of St Andrew’s. Fife is certainly a day trip not to be missed if you enjoy walking or cycling… or golf!

Other Popular Walks

There are lots of beautiful walks around the city. Many are gentle and suitable for all abilities. Walk The Highlands has an excellent list of City of Edinburgh walks.

Best Cycle Paths

With a good network of cycle paths in and around the city, it’s easy to travel on two wheels. The Meadows, Water of Leith Walkway, Union Canal and more offer safe, off-road routes for cyclists. Cycling Edinburgh have put together an excellent guide to Edinburgh cycle paths.

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