7 Perfect Places to Enjoy a Sunrise in Edinburgh

16 March 2022

Balmoral Clock Murrayfield Stadium View From Calton Hill

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 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 and go out exploring at these 7 perfect places……

Arthur’s Seat 

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

In the morning, the sun glides over the rooftops revealing the city coming to life. The beauty of the Firth of Forth and the surrounding countryside reminds us of what a green city Edinburgh really is, with all the joys of nature on its doorstep. 

Remember to wear sturdy footwear and warm clothes!

Portobello Beach 

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

Even during winter, you might catch 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 beach, this is a good spot for those looking for some wide-open space. 

Discover more about the delights of Edinburgh's year-round seaside resort in our guide to Portobello > 

The Shore, Leith

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

Today, the shoreline is a much better quieter place first thing in the morning – get there early and on a calm day you’ll be rewarded with mirror-like images on the water.

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

Waverly Bridge

Standing on Waverly Bridge looking towards Edinburgh’s Old Town, the silhouette of the city’s architecture looks stunning in the early morning light.

From the sharp peaks of St Giles’ Cathedral to the flowing curves of Ramsay Gardens, it’s truly breathtaking.

The Royal Mile

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 you’ll have majestic views of Edinburgh Castle and at other end, Arthur’s Seat and The Palace of Holyroodhouse. Be quick off the mark and you may be able to see the sun rising from each!

The Vennel

Some of the buildings in the picturesque Vennel date back to the early 1800's, which means a walk up these steps can feel like stepping back in time.

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

The Forth Bridge

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

This steel structure makes for a stunning sunrise image.


These are just some of the places that you can enjoy a sunrise in Edinburgh. 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!