Discover nature in Edinburgh all year round

19 January 2023

Inverleith Park Pond Cityscape

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 the winter, 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…..


Leith Shore View Boats

 - Take a step back in time and pay a visit to the picturesque Dean Village. Once home to mills of various kinds 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.  


Newhaven Harbour Winter Sunset Out To Sea

 - Soak up the sounds of trickling water and bird song on a walk along the Braid Burn at the Hermitage of Braid.

 - Take a walk along the pier at Newhaven. Watch the moored boats bobbing in the water or plan what you’ll have to eat from one of the excellent fish and sea food restaurants.

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

If you like to be beside the sunshine, discover more about these gems in Edinburgh in our gudie to Edinburgh's Seaside > 


West Princes Street Gardens

 - Pack a packed lunch, pick a bench and spot the first bulbs popping through in Princes St 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. Suitable for all levels of walkers, this historic route offers stunning views over the Firth of Forth.

 - Wander away the afternoon with a stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway. Suitable for cycling and is partly accessible by wheelchairs and on horseback, it’s a great spot for wildlife spotting – look out for kingfisher, otters and herons.


Canal And Cyclist

 - 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. Just 10 miles from the city centre, you’ll be completely surrounded by wild nature and its elements.


The Meadows Lane Of Cherry Blossomjpg

 - Catch the gorgeous bursts of cherry blossom in the Meadows.

 - Take to the water with Edinburgh Bus Tours' 3 Bridges Tour and experience a unique view of the Forth Bridges and the aquatic wildlife.

 - Become one with art and nature – walk around the sculptures in the grounds of the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art.


Arthurs Seat Couple On Summit

 - 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 Artlandan award-winning contemporary sculpture garden on the outskirts of the city.

 - Scale to the summit of Arthur’s Seat. Offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city, this 800 ft 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.


Portobello Waterboarding Beach

 - 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 St Gardens.

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


Botanic Garden View Of Chinese Garden Pagoda With Sitter Autumn Colours

 - 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 >

 - Breath in the sweet scents of the colourful roses at Saughton Park.


Cramond Island

 - For a different city perspective, walk up the 500 ft Blackford Hill. Here you’ll also find the Royal Observatory, 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 >

 - Take a stroll through Holyrood Park. Take in the dramatic view of Arthur’s Seat or admire the wildlife at the park’s St Margaret's Loch, Dunsapie Loch and Duddingston Loch. 


 National And Playfair Monuments Nelsons Column Evening Gloden Light Double Rainbow

 - 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 and Nelson Monument.

 - Crunch your way through the fallen leaves in the grounds of Lauriston Castle. Then, pick up a hot drink from the café on-site, find a bench and admire the views across the Firth of Forth.

 - Visit Red Moss Nature Reserve near Balerno, the only raised bog in 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.


Victoria Street Christmas Lights View Up Street

 - As the days get darker, brighten them up with a visit to the 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 round Craigmillar Castle Park. The 62 hectare site features parkland and woodland – set against the mighty backdrop of 15th century Craigmillar Castle.



 - Jump on a train and visit the nearby quaint town of South Queensferry. Browse the range of shops and boutiques along the High St, 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.


For more inspiring ideas on how to have an outdoor adventure in Edinburgh, head to our guide to Outdoor Spaces in Edinburgh >