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16 March 2023

6 Perfect places to enjoy a sunrise in Edinburgh

Sunsetting over The Hub in Edinburgh. Red sky.

It happens every morning of course, but when was the last time you got up to watch the sunrise?

The early risers among us have a pretty good deal – the city is at its quietest first thing in the morning and the sun often fills the sky with dramatic colours.

The sunrise also turns familiar places into something really special. So, even if you think you know Edinburgh inside out, getting up early is a fantastic way to see the city with fresh eyes. It’s time to have an early night, go out and explore these 7 perfect places.

1. Arthur’s Seat 

Perfect For

Panoramic views of the sun rising over Edinburgh’s iconic skyline.

Arthur Seat Sunrise

With unparalleled views of both the city and the coast, Arthur’s Seat is worth a climb at any time of day.

This ancient volcano sits 251m above sea level and is the highest point of Holyrood Park. Catch the morning sun as it glides over rooftops and soak-up the beauty of the Firth of Forth and the surrounding countryside.

Remember to wear sturdy footwear and warm clothes!


2. Portobello Beach 

Perfect for

Enjoying the sun rising and reflecting over the ocean, at a beach not too far from the city centre.

A popular spot for sunbathing and swimming in the summer, Portobello Beach is positively picturesque in the early morning.

Even during winter, you might see a few brave wild swimmers in the water, but just looking out on the sun over the sea is enough for many of us! With around two miles of golden sand, this is a good spot for those looking for some wide-open space.

Afterwards, why not warm up with a hot drink and some nourishing breakfast at The Beach House Café, which is open from 8am.

Discover more about the delights of Edinburgh’s year-round seaside resort in our Guide to Portobello


3. The Shore, Leith

Perfect For

A morning of exploring one of Edinburgh’s coolest neighbourhoods.

Back in the 18th century, early mornings on the shore at Leith would be a hive of industry with the working docks trading in goods such as wool, wine, raw materials and spices.

Today, the shoreline is a much quieter place – get there early and on a calm day you’ll be rewarded with mirror-like images on the water. Take your pick from one of the area’s delicious cafes, such as Mimi’s Bakehouse and Toast (both open from 9am) or Clock on the Shore (open from 8am).

From world-class eateries to an array of independent shops & boutiques, discover more about this popular part of Edinburgh in our Guide to Leith


4. The Royal Mile

Perfect for

Enjoying the sunrise over Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.

Normally packed during the day – especially during the summer months – set your alarm and an early morning trip to the Royal Mile is a delight.

At one end are the majestic views of Edinburgh Castle and at the other end, The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the home of Scottish royal history and the official residence in Scotland of His Majesty The King. Be quick off the mark and you may be able to see the sun rising from each!

No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a trip to one of both of these historic attractions. To guarantee entry to Edinburgh Castle and The Palace of Holyroodhouse be sure to book tickets in advance from their websites. 


5. The Vennel

Perfect for

Enjoying the unrivalled view of Edinburgh Castle with the sun rising behind it. The perfect picture.

Tucked away in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh is the Vennel, an alleyway of steps that date from the early 1800’s.

Whether you choose to come here for sunrise, sunset, rain or shine, it offers one of the best views of Edinburgh Castle.

After stretching your leg muscles, relax in one of the many bars and restaurants that fill this vibrant part of the city, before browsing the electric range of shops. Discover more about the Grassmarket


6. The Forth Bridge

Perfect For

An early morning stroll at Edinburgh’s seaside village and sitting to enjoy the sun rise across the Firth of Forth. The reflections on the water can be breath-taking.

An iconic marvel of design and engineering skills, the imposing Forth Bridge at South Queensferry opened in 1890 and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

This steel structure makes a stunning sunrise image.

Just 30 minutes by train from Edinburgh, why not make a day of it by exploring this quaint town, which is filled with great independent shops, delicious places to eat & drink and a charming beach and harbour. Explore South Queensferry


Do you have a favourite spot that’s perfect for an early morning adventure?

Share it using #ForeverEdinburgh or #edinphoto and we could feature it on our social channels!


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