Official Guide to Edinburgh
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20 things to do in the UK's greenest city

10 January 2017

Great news for those who love the great outdoors - Edinburgh has been named by the Guardian as the UK's greenest city, beating the likes of Liverpool, London and Glasgow to the top spot. So, what are the best ways to take advantage of all this gorgeous green space? Here are 20 top ideas to make the most of Edinburgh's great outdoors... 

1. Nordic Walking at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Botanics Palm House

12pm on 19th and 26th January
£60 / £54 for members

Want to kickstart your fitness regime for 2017? Get involved with the Nordic Walking Course at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. This fitness technique enhances walking by making use of poles, meaning you could burn up to 20% more calories than just going for a stroll alone. It's also a great option for those with knee or back problems, as the poles provide support for the whole body. Find out more on the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh website >

2. Curious about Edinburgh?

Curious About

Download: £4.99

Explore Edinburgh's outdoors like you've never done before with the Curious About...? Edinburgh guide.  You can choose between two self-guided tours around Edinburgh that take in a few of the city's beautiful gardens along the way. Fancy a challenge? Take the guide's optional treasure hunt. Download now >

3.  Edinburgh Pug Meetup

Pug

Make some new four-legged friends at the Edinburgh Pug Meetup. Seven times a year, Edinburgh pug owners from across the city meet up to let their dogs bond and have fun. Find out when the next meet is on their Facebook page >

4. Bambino Bootcamp in The Meadows

Bambino Bootcamp Logo

11am every Wednesday

Burn, baby, burn! Bambino Bootcamp is an outdoor buggy exercise class that caters to all ages and fitness levels. Get a blast of fresh air and get strong with your family at these fun and socialable sessions. Find out more on Netmums >

5. Hot Rocks

Hot Rocks HES

[Image: Historic Environment Scotland]

10am on Sunday 29th January
Free

Join one of Holyrood Park's Rangers and an expert geologist on a guided walk around Edinburgh's most iconic green space. Discover fossilised lagoons, walk on lava and find out more about Edinburgh’s own James Hutton, the father of modern geology. Booking is essential, so find out more and secure your place now at Historic Environment Scotland >

6.  Edinburgh Runners

Edinburgh Runners

[Image: Edinburgh Runners]

Free

If you want to meet with likeminded runners, then this is the group for you. Edinburgh Runners welcomes all regardless of ability, whether you're looking for an extra session in your marathon training schedule or just a nice social jog. Explore the likes of The Meadows, Inverleith Park, Holyrood Park or even the Pentlands. Join the Meetup group > 

7. Step back in time at Lauriston Castle

Lauriston Castle Autumn

Gardens are open every weekend until April
Free

Step back to Edwardian times at Lauriston Castle, off Cramond Road South. These beautiful gardens have been maintained as they were in 1926, when it was left to the nation by the last private owner. The gardens are open and free to explore every weekend until April, and there is a jam-packed schedule of family events, making for a great day out. Find out more >

8. Explore Gorgie City Farm

Gorgie CE 500X210

Free (donations welcome)

Learn about farming, care for the animals and explore beautiful gardens at Gorgie City Farm. This working smallholding in the heart of the city has lots to see and do for the whole family. Learn how to look after chickens, cows, pigs and more, or discover the wide range of fruits and vegetables growing on the farm. A real slice of country life in the city! See the Gorgie City Farm website >

9. Krav Maga Circuit Classes

£5 a session

Get fit fast with Krav Maga Circuit Classes. This outdoor circuit and fitness class uses functional exercises for the greatest results. Functional exercises are based on everyday movements, such as squatting, lifting, running and throwing. No experience is needed and the expert trainers will guide you through all the moves, so everyone can have a go at this fun and effective workout. See more information on their website > 

10. Rugby training

Scottish Rugby

Many of the parks in Edinburgh are home to grassroots rugby clubs. Get fit and make new friends with regular rugby training in the city. Get involved with Scottish Rugby > 

11. Edinburgh Bike Tours

Bike

Edinburgh has an extensive cycle network that weaves around the city's parks and coastline, making it the perfect place to explore on two wheels. Want to uncover the best of what the city has to offer? Go riding with an expert from Edinburgh Bike Tours and explore Holyrood Park, Portobello, Lauriston Castle and more. 

12. Foraging Walks

Ferns

Forage for edible wild foods in the abundant natural habitat around East Lothian. Join Monica Wilde to increase your knowledge of local plants and experiment with wild food and medicines. This course is perfect for those who really want to make the most of Edinburgh's vibrant natural spaces. Book your place >

13. Fountainbridge Outdoor Gym

Get fresh air, pump iron and keep up your gym regime, all for free in the Fountainbridge Green Outdoor Gym. Located on Bainfield Place and equipped with Cross Trainer, Chest Press, Rower and Recumbent Bike, Fountainbridge's Outdoor Gym makes it easy to get outdoors and still manage a whole body workout - make a stop on your jog round the city. Find details and a list of all Edinburgh's outdoor gyms on the Edinburgh City Council website >

14. Hike Arthur's Seat

Arthurs Seat

Dominating Holyrood park, and adjacent to Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament building, Arthur's Seat is an ancient and dormant volcano that offers a breathtaking panoramic view across the city of Edinburgh. It's traditional to take some whisky up to the top and toast the city with a dram, though a picnic works just as well. While there, make sure you also visit the 15th century ruins of Sir Anthony's Chapel and Duddingston Loch, a freshwater lake teeming with birdlife. Find out more about Arthur's Seat and Holyrood Park on the VisitScotland website >

 15. French Bulldog Meetup Group

French Bulldog

Meet with other French Bulldog owners at the Edinburgh French Bulldog Meetup. This is the perfect opportunity to share information and resources and make new friends. Keep an eye on their Facebook group for the next meetup. 

16. Horseriding in the Pentland Hills

Pentlands

Horse riders have the right to access most land in Scotland, including the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park towards the south of Edinburgh. There are lots of great routes for riding in this scenic park, which are detailed in a downloadable map on the Edinburgh City Council website >

17. Edinburgh Buggy Walks 

Buggy Walks

Weekdays at 10am
Free

Want to get outdoors with baby? Explore the city with Buggy Walks - a group that promotes walks for new parents using the city's QuietRoutes. It forms part of the Council's Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme, which aims to spread the word about opportunities for walking in Edinburgh. After each hour-long walk, the group finishes in a family-friendly café for those who fancy sticking around for a refreshment and a wee chat. Keep up to date with the schedule on the group's Meetup page >

18. Lothian Cyclists

Explore Edinburgh on two wheels with this warm and welcoming group. Bridging the gap between leisure rides and more intimidating road clubs, this is a great group to get fit and make some new friends. Regular events take place every few days. See more information >

19. Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

Brush up on your orienteering skills with the Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club. This large and active club attracts members of all ages, and offers something for everyone regardless of fitness or orienteering level. The next local event will be at the Cammo Estate on the 14th January. Find out more on the ESOC website >

20. The Edinburgh Old Town Treasure Hunt

Treasure Trails

[Image: Treasure Trails]

£6.99

Get the whole family exploring the Old Town together with this fun self-guided treasure hunt. Perfect for both visitors and locals, this trail will make you uncover little-known secrets of Edinburgh's Royal Mile and beyond. With the answers sneakily hidden on permanent features and monuments, you can start your quest to find the buried treasure anytime!  Download now from Treasure Trails > 

Looking for even more things to do? Take a look at our outdoors guide >