Green and creative Edinburgh city break

Location: Edinburgh
Travel Dates: 29.09 – 2.10
Walking distance: ~50 km/30 miles

The first time I travelled to Edinburgh was nearly a decade ago and with a friend, in the heart of winter. It was cold and dark most of the time, but it was also beautiful and I remember many visits to pubs and cafes, which was nice when it drizzled outside. This time I was on my own, which meant less socialising and more attention to the city itself. As I am on the mission to take many green urban walks, this was also a great opportunity to revisit some of the walked paths and find few new ones.

I was also interested in checking out couple of museums I missed last time, visiting a gallery or two and looking up Edinburgh Printmakers – a cultural centre in old boot factory. But overall I just wanted a nice break with lot of walking and some new green and creative inspiration.

Day 1 – Marchmont, Royal Mile, Calton Hill, City Centre, Grassmarket (19 km – 28 332 steps)

Taking a tram from airport to city centre – a new & sustainable transport option
Made it to top of Calton Hill – bit wild-eyed from taking all the steps
Foliage on Calton Hill with Castle Rock and city centre in the background
View towards Leith, rain clouds coming in from North Sea
Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park on the left
Scott Monument and Princes Street Gardens from St David street
Edinburgh Castle in twilight with west of Princes Street Gardens in foreground
Buzzing Haymarket square at night

Day 2 – Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat (nearly), National Museum of Scotland (14 km – 21 734 steps)

Holyrood Park road entrance with Salisbury Crags in the background
Right. All set for some modest ‘urban mountaineering’
Taking an easy route.. looks great so far!
From this view who would guess it’s in a city park?
Beautiful views all around..
‘Highway’ to Arthur’s Seat summit. Looks busy on the top..
I could keep going..
.. or I could just sit here with views of my own.
Tranquility and a cup of tea.. not a bad finish for the urban climb!

Day 3 – Edinburgh Printmakers, National Gallery of Modern Art, Water of Leith Walkway, Botanical Gardens (18 km – 26 655 steps) (My favourite day!)

Edinburgh Printmakers studios and galleries in old shoe factory
An interesting concept.. Plants meet Coffee
Scottish National Gallery Modern Two
Dean Village and the Water of Leith
Water of Leith Walkway
With some lush views
St George’s Well garden
Chinese Hillside garden walk in Botanical Gardens
East Gate entrance to Botanical Gardens
Greyfriars Bobby

Conclusion: Edinburgh is extremely walkable city with amazing views popping up on every corner. The pathways of Royal Mile are fascinating to explore, but it’s also a tourist trap.. For the best of Edinburgh I’d head further away from the crowds. The parks of Edinburgh are stunning with Holyrood topping others with amazing views over the city. I wish I had more time to explore the Leith area, other peaks of the city, Union canal and Edinburgh creative scene.

Next: I’d plan couple of week’s stay in Edinburgh with more city walking and some day trips further away. Edinburgh should be on every urban walker’s list.. especially when the sun is out!

Author: Helen

Graphic designer inspired by travel, outdoors and sustainability