Picnics, Parks & Gardens in Edinburgh

Desperate to get away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh's city streets? Relax in the city's luscious and picturesque gardens and parks. Whether you want to share a picnic with your family, play a spot of football or quietly watch the sunset, there are many folds of greenery to explore.

Step out amongst the vibrancy of Edinburgh city centre and visit thePrinces Street Gardens. Take in views of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town on one side of this splendid park and the bustle of the New Town on the other. Princes Street Gardens is the gateway to the shopping district beyond, and it is a great place to wander with historic monuments and a fountain. Frequented by families, students and performers, Princes Street Gardens is alive with people.

Holyrood Park, also known as Queen's Park, is an area of wild natural beauty representing all the features traditionally associated with the Scottish landscape, such as craggy mountains, lochs, fields of heather, glens and marshland. It contains Arthur's Seat and the Salisbury Crags, which were formed by an extinct volcano and carved out by moving glaciers. Arthur's Seat is the highest point in Edinburgh (251 meters high) and is located at the center of the park while the Crags are located west of it.

On the shores of Duddingston Loch at the foot of Arthur Seat lies one of the most beautiful small gardens in Scotland, Dr. Neil's Garden. It is situated within the grounds of the 12th Century Duddingston Kirk. A colourful series of terraces, sloping down to the bird sanctuary loch along with the peace and tranquility of this unique garden makes it an ideal short excursion away from the busy city. The Thomson Tower is an octagonal building, which sits in the grounds of the garden.

The Meadows, an expansive public park south of Old Town, separates the city center from the suburbs and leafy neighborhoods that popped up in the 18th and 19th centuries. Here tree-lined paths crisscross playing fields (where you can play football/soccer, rugby, or cricket) with plenty of additional space for having a picnic or flying a kite. At the far western end of the Meadows is Bruntsfield Links, a short-hole course which has a hallowed place in the history of golf and can still be played today during the summer.

Calton Hill is made unmistakable by the Athenian acropolis monument, which stands proudly at the peak. Accessed by steep stairs Calton Hill offers to visitors beautiful views as far as Holyrood Park. Walk to the peak of the hill in the evening to watch the sun set over Edinburgh. Visit one of the two observatories that sit on the hill for a spot of star gazing as well.

Dean Village has a "lost in time" feel about it. It is tucked away in a dip below the surrounding city areas and borders the Water of Leith. The settlement dates from the 12th century and developed around the industry of grain-milling over a period of 800 years. Today, its tranquility and beautiful architecture, including some wonderfully converted warehouses, makes it a very desirable place to live. Take a charming walk along the Water of Leith, starting at the east and finishing at the west end of the path. Walk along towards the imposing arches of Dean Bridge and then head to the National Gallery of Modern Art.

St. Bernard's Well, located in the Stockbridge neighborhood of Edinburgh (just 15 minutes outside of the city centre), is a round Roman-style temple whose legendary and "miraculous" mineral waters are purported to have cured various ailments including arthritis, back aches and blindness. The Romanesque architecture of the neighborhood is a treat to the eyes, as are the area's many parks. Visit the well an hour after a heavy rainstorm to enjoy maximum water flow.

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Princes Street Gardens

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Princes Street
Princes St

A walk in the park... read more

Holyrood Park

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Holyrood Park Road

A natural wilderness in the city... read more

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Arthur's Seat and the Salisbury Crags

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Queens Drive
Holyrood Park

Extinct volcano... read more

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Calton Hill

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Regent Road

The folly on the hill... read more

Meadows (The)

Warrender Park Terrace
Melville Dr

Neat & Green... read more

Dr. Neil's Garden & Thomson's Tower

Duddingston Loch

Beautiful Garden and Lake... read more

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Royal Botanic Garden

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20A Inverleith Row

Expansive botanic garden... read more

Dean Village

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Queensferry Street
(Bells Brae, Water of Leith)

Handsome buildings and relaxing riverside walk...
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St. Bernard's Well

Located in the beautiful and Romanesque/neo-classical Stockbridge neighborhood of Edinburgh, St. Bernard's Well is much acclaimed for its purported healing powers... read more

Almond Valley Heritage Centre

Almond Valley Heritage Trust, Millfield
Livingston Village

Open air fun... read more
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