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1 February 2024

Discover nature all year round in Edinburgh

Couple on Pentland Hills with Edinburgh City in Back ground

As Scotland’s greenest city, Edinburgh is blessed with an abundance of green spaces to enjoy nature at its very best all year round.

From rustling through crisp leaves in autumn, to dipping your toes in a sun-bathed sandy beach, our 12 month calendar shows you to experience the best of Edinburgh’s nature whatever the season.

So, get ready to calm your mind, invigorate your body and fill your lungs with fresh air as there’s a whole city of parks, woodland, shores and hills just waiting to be explored.


January

Young couple on Bridge with Dean Village as back drop
Dean Village

Take a step back in time and pay a visit to the picturesque Dean Village. Once home to mills and surrounded by trees with the Water of Leith running through its heart, it’s hard to believe this tranquil area is only minutes from the city centre.

From Waverly Bridge, look towards Edinburgh’s Old Town and catch a magnificent sunset over the city’s historic architecture.

On a calm day, marvel at the mirror-like reflections on the Shore at Leith. Then re-fuel with something warm from one of the area’s delicious coffee shops, such as Mimi’s Bakehouse, Printworks Coffee or The Old Spence Café.


February

Young Couple on Bench with Forth Bridge in background
UNESCO Forth Bridge

Soak up the sounds of trickling water and bird song on a walk at Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve.

Take a walk along the pier at Newhaven. Learn more about this historic fishing village with the self-guided Newhaven Stravaig Through Time, or watch the moored boats bobbing in the water while enjoying delicious fish and sea food from The Fishmarket.

Blow away the cobwebs on a bracing walk along Silverknowes Prom, taking in views of the Forth Islands, Fife and the UNESCO Forth Bridge.


March

Water of Leith Sculpture
Water of Leith

Pack a packed lunch, pick a bench and spot the first bulbs popping through in Princes Street Gardens.

Take a trip out of the city centre and head towards East Lothian to take in part of the 134 mile walk of the John Muir Way. This historic route offers stunning views over the Firth of Forth and is suitable for all levels of walkers.

Wander away the afternoon with a stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway.


April

Couple walking in the Pentland Hills with City of Edinburgh as a backdrop
Pentland Hills

Starting at Fountainbridge, take a walk along the Union Canal. Keep an eye out for paddle-boarders, cyclists and brightly painted canal boats.

Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a walk through the Dalmeny Estate. Starting from South Queensferry, the well-trodden path takes you through woodland and farmland to the sandy beach beyond which offers great views over the Firth of Forth.

Strap on your hiking boots and get away from it all with a bracing walk in the Pentland Hills.


May

Meadows Cherry Blossom
The Meadows

Catch the gorgeous bursts of cherry blossom in the popular city park, The Meadows.

Jump onboard with Edinburgh Bus Tours or Bright Bus Tours and take in the beauty of the city from a new viewpoint.

Become one with art and nature – walk around the sculptures in the grounds of the National Galleries Scotland: Modern.


June

Jupitar Artland Jenkins Sculpture
Jupiter Artland

Feel the sun on your face in the pretty Inverleith Park. If you’re in the mood for something active, this large park has a football goals, rugby posts, tennis courts and cricket greens.

Let your imagination flow at Jupiter Artland, the renowned sculpture park on the outskirts of the city.

Scale to the summit of Arthur’s Seat. Offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city, this extinct volcano climb is short but challenging enough to get that adrenaline pumping. To make it even more rewarding, get up early and experience a sunrise that is truly spectacular.


July

Portobello lady carrying Waterboard walking along sand
Portobello

Hit the 2 miles of award-winning sandy beach at Portobello (or Porty as it’s known locally). Try your hand at watersports, visit the mini-funfair, take a dook in the water or simply enjoy the feeling of the soft sand between your toes.

Admire the pretty floral clock in Prince Street Gardens. First created in 1903, it is the oldest of its kind in the world and each year beautifully captures a different theme.

Find shade in the peaceful Dunbars Close, just off the Royal Mile. Elegantly laid out in the style of a 17th century, it is filled with lush trees and shrubs.


August

Botanic Garden view of pond and statue
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Admire the beautiful landscaped gardens, water features, rock gardens and stunning floral displays of the 350 year old Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Take a dip at Wardie Bay. A popular place for wild swimming, this small pebble beach lies close to Granton Harbour. On a clear day, the long breakwater also offers some lovely views across to Fife and islands in the Forth.  Stay safe and follow the rules for wild swimming.


September

St Margaret's Loch
St Margaret’s Loch

For a different city perspective, walk up the 500 ft Blackford Hill. Here you’ll find the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, a beautiful Victorian example of architecture that opened in 1896 and is still uncovering knowledge of the stars.

Walk out to Cramond Island, a tidal island which connects to the mainland at low tide. Just make sure that you make it home before the tide comes back in to avoid being stranded on the island. Download the safe crossing times for Cramond Island.

Have a stroll through Holyrood Park and take in the dramatic sight of Arthur’s Seat and admire the views at St Margaret’s Loch, Dunsapie Loch or Duddingston Loch. 


October

Couple walking with Lauriston Castle in back ground
Lauriston Castle

Admire the changing colours of the season from Calton Hill. Offering unrivalled 360 views across the city, the hill is also famous for its collection of historic monuments, including the National Monument, which was inspired by the Parthenon in Athens and the Nelson Monument, which commemorates the death of Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Crunch your way through the fallen leaves in the grounds of Lauriston Castle. Then, pick up a hot drink and a cake from Mimi’s Little Bakehouse, find a bench and admire the views across the Firth of Forth.

Visit the Red Moss of Balerno, the only raised bog in the City of Edinburgh. In autumn the peatland, which is thousands of years old, is covered by a blanket of heather and looks magnificent.  A circular boardwalk leads around the reserve.


November

Family walking down Victoria Street
Victoria Street

As the days get darker, brighten them up with a visit to the historic and colourful Victoria Street. Lined with an array of unique shops, it’s a great place to start your Christmas shopping.

Visit one of the city’s weekly markets for some local seasonal ingredients – perfect for making a hearty bowl of soup.

Put some colour in your cheeks with an invigorating walk around the grounds of Craigmillar Castle. The 62 hectare site features parkland and woodland, set against the mighty backdrop of the 15th century castle.


December

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Jump on a train and visit the nearby quaint town of South Queensferry. Browse the range of shops and boutiques along the High Street, then admire the uninterrupted views of the majestic Forth Bridges.

Climb the steps of the Vennel and be rewarded with a glorious view of the majestic Edinburgh Castle.

Cameras at the ready! For a picture-perfect view of Edinburgh’s Christmas Market in all its sparkling glory, climb the Mound for a spectacular viewpoint.


No matter what time of year you’re planning your visit to Edinburgh, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable time.


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