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10 Great Green Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh

Love the great Edinburgh outdoors? Then we have just the ticket. Edinburgh has been named the UK’s greenest city. And with nearly half of Edinburgh classified as “green” space, you know there is sure to be a range of amazing outdoor activities in Edinburgh. So to help you discover the wonders of outdoor Edinburgh for yourself, we are counting down 10 of our favourite outdoor things to do in Edinburgh.

1. Wander The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a world-renowned centre of horticulture and plant science. Founded in 1670 as a physic garden to grow medicinal plants, the centre has been growing and studying plants for over 330 years. Today, the grounds are a major attraction for locals and tourists alike. They are home to the world-famous Rock Garden, peat and woodland gardens, beautiful herbaceous borders, fascinating Glasshouses, and specialist collections of plants, like the Chinese Hillside. All in all, a day spent in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is one of our favourite year-round outdoor activities in Edinburgh.

Open: Daily
Admission: FREE

Beautiful greenhouse in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

2. Take A Foraging Walk On Edinburgh’s Wild Side

If the Royal Botanic Garden has whet your appetite for local plants and their medicinal properties, embark on a Foraging Walk for edible wild food in the natural habitat around East Lothian. Increase your knowledge of local plants, experiment with wild food and medicines as you forage for seaweeds, hedgerow plants or edible fungi.

Open: Various dates throughout the year
Admission: from £30

Basket full of edible mushrooms

3. Curious About … Self-Guided Walking Tours in Edinburgh

If you love walking in Edinburgh, then we highly recommend hitting the streets of our beloved city with these great Edinburgh Walking Tours. Choose between two self-guided tours of Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town. Walk the cobbled streets. Visit the many wonderful eateries and attractions in Edinburgh. And take in the splendour of some of the city’s most beautiful gardens along the way.

Download: £5.99

Guided walking tours of Edinburgh's Old Town

4. Uncover Arthur’s Seat’s Secrets

Join one of the Holyrood Park Ranges, along with an expert geologist, on a guided walk around Edinburgh’s most iconic green space – Arthur’s Seat. A large volcanic structure that dominates the Edinburgh skyline, Arthur’s Seat has a rich, vibrant and turbulent past all its own. Learn about the people who lived and worked in the park over the last 7,000 years, as well as all the rare and wonderful wildlife that makes Holyrood Park such a unique green space in Edinburgh.

Open: Until 29 August
Admission: FREE

Ruins in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh

5. Step Back In Time At Lauriston Castle Gardens

From extinct volcanoes to Edwardian Castles, step back in time with a trip to Lauriston Castle. Just off Cramond Road South, this beautiful castle has been frozen in time when it was gifted to the nation by its last private owner in 1926. Retaining all its former glory, the gardens are simply beautiful (not to mention free) to explore all year round.

Open: Daily
Admission: FREE

Lauriston Castle's beautiful Edwardian gardens

6. Go Wild At Gorgie City Farm

With the annual Royal Highland Show around the corner, is it any wonder we are taking stock of Edinburgh’s livestock? Enjoy a little slice of country life right in the heart of Edinburgh. Learn all about farming, care for the animals and explore the beautiful gardens at the wonderful Gorgie City Farm.

Open: Daily
Admission: FREE (donations welcome)

Baby lamb in a farm pen

7. Not-To-Miss Water of Leith Walkway

Leith is an area like no other. Like a city within a city, the district of Leith is a vivacious, charismatic area jam-packed with delis, cafes, top restaurants and sensational shops. Best known as the location of the Royal Yacht Britannia, the mile-long Leith Walk connects the district of Leith with the east end of Princes Street – right next to the Parliament House Hotel. And one of the best ways to reach this bustling part of Edinburgh, is through the most charming footpath known as the Water of Leith Walkway.

Docks of leith at sunset

8. Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh On Two Wheels

If you think walking in Edinburgh is a big deal, just wait until you go biking. Edinburgh is home to an extensive cycle network that weaves around the city’s parks and coastlines. Which means you can enjoy the wonders of Holyrood Park, Portobello, Lauriston Castle and more with these great guided Edinburgh Bike Tours.

Open: Various dates throughout the year
Admission: from £35

Man cycling on road with autumn trees in the background

9. Horse-riding in the Pentland Hills

From walking cobbled closes to two-wheel city adventures, hoof it along to the beautiful Pentland Hills in the south of Edinburgh for some pony trekking. Explore the lush green hills and breath-taking surroundings of one of the most beautiful areas in Edinburgh.

Open: Various dates throughout the year
Admission: from £25

The rolling Pentland Hills just south of Edinburgh

10. Hunt For Treasure In Edinburgh’s Iconic Old Town

Uncover a treasure trove of hidden gems along the Royal Mile with a self-guided treasure hunt of Edinburgh’s old Town. The trail will take you along one of the most iconic streets in all of Edinburgh. Solve sneaky clues hidden on historic buildings, features and monuments as you try to discover the location of buried treasure.

Download: £6.99

Old Tenement Buildings in Edinburgh's Old Town

To find out more about things to do or outdoor activities in Edinburgh during your stay, visit our Edinburgh Guide.

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