18 September 2023

Ten Beautiful Autumn Walks in Edinburgh

Corstorphine Hill Woodlands Autumn leaves

Autumn really is a beautiful time of year in Edinburgh, when the trees turn into fiery shades of orange, red and gold. It's the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy this magical transformation. Read on to discover our top 10 recommendations...

  • Tip 1 Wrap up warm as it can be cold this time of year in Edinburgh

  • Tip 2 Wear sensible shoes as paths can be muddy and slippery

  • Tip 3 Don’t leave your walk to late as the sun starts to set early in autumn

1. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to walk among mature trees in all their autumn splendour. Collect conkers from underneath the huge horse chestnut trees or admire the renowned rhododendron collection and Scottish Native Plants Collection in the Heath Garden.

Free to visit (excluding special events), the gardens are open daily, 10am until 6pm March to September, 10am to 5pm October and February, and 10am to 4pm November to January. 

From guided walks to health and wellbeing events, find a list of all up-coming events on their What’s On page

2. Craigmillar Castle Park

Craigmillar Castle

This 62-hectare site features parkland, woodland and plenty of open space to run around.

A natural heritage park with areas of mature and young woodland, grassland and old quarries, in 1997 over 40,000 trees were planted as part of the millennium Forest for Scotland project.

The park is set against the backdrop of Craigmillar Castle, an enormous baronial structure which was built in the 15th century.

3. Colinton Dell

The Water of Leith Walkway is a highlight of the Edinburgh landscape and Colinton Dell, a tree-clad section of the walkway, is particularly beautiful in autumn. Here you will find a host of long-established trees including oak, sweet chestnut and beech.

4. Harlaw Reservoir

A popular spot for bank fishing during the spring and summer (permits should be obtained), Harlaw Reservoir lies at the foot of the Pentland Hills, close to the villages of Currie and Balerno.

The short circular walk through the woods surrounding the reservoir is the perfect place to soak up the changing colours of the season.

5. Silverknowes Prom

Cramond Prom

With its wide prom and picturesque views across to Fife, Silverknowes Prom is a popular haunt for dog walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, as well as those taking in the bracing air. You can choose to walk along to Cramond, Edinburgh’s oldest village, or if the weather is suitable, walk out to Cramond Island at low tide. Please take care care when visiting the island and pay attention to tide times.

Discover more about Cramond’s history, stories and legendary tales with The Cramond Association 

6. Lauriston Castle Grounds

The grounds of 16th century Lauriston Castle offer panoramic views across the Firth of Forth to Fife and beyond. As well as manicured lawns, there are woodland walks and a range of trees including beech, sycamore and conifer to explore and enjoy. 

The gardens are free to enter and open daily from 8am to 4.30pm.

The house is available to view by guided tour and should be booked in advance online. They also run a variety of events throughout the year – keep an eye on Museums and Galleries Edinburgh events page for more details.

After a walk round the grounds, why not treat yourself to a hot drink and delicious cake or scone at the on-site Mimi’s Bakehouse, open daily, from 9am to 4pm.

7. Pentland Hills

The Pentland Hills
Image Credit: Visitscotland Stuart Brunton

Get away from it all with a bracing walk in the Pentland Hills, where you can be completely surrounded by wild nature and the elements.  A great autumn adventure awaits you in fabulous scenery, just 10 miles from Edinburgh city centre.

8. Calton Hill

National and Playfair Monuments Nelsons column evening golden light double rainbow

Offering uninterrupted stunning views across the city, nothing beats Calton Hill for capturing the changing colours of the season.

A popular tourist attraction, 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.

9. Corstorphine Hill

Corstorphine Hill Woodlands Autumn leaves

Walk to the top of Corstorphine Hill and you’ll be rewarded with fine views across Edinburgh. A footpath leads up through the tree-covered hillside to a viewing point at 531 feet. A much treasured local nature reserve, it’s hard to believe you’re in the city.

10. Holyrood Park

Cycle Path in Holyrood Park

Adjacent to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the foot of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, can be found Holyrood Park. Spanning thousands of years, this ancient park has been a popular spot for walkers for centuries.

At the park’s highest point is Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, which offers spectacular view of the city, while Salisbury Crags – a series of 150 foot cliff faces – dominate Edinburgh’s skyline. The ruins of 15th century St Anthony’s Chapel and Duddingston Loch, a fresh water loch rich in birdlife, are also park highlights.

Fancy going further afield?

Discover Scottish Gardens for details of gardens across Scotland which are a pleasure to visit all year round.

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