The Scottish capital is full of wonders, if you know where to look…
There’s no place in the world quite like the Scottish capital. From twisting cobbled streets to wide open parks, there’s a multitude of sights and sounds just waiting to be discovered. And with so many amazing places to find in and around Edinburgh, it goes without saying that the city is home to a whole world of scenic spots with views to take your breath away.
So whether you’re making your way through the depths of the city streets or travelling out and about in the surrounding area, we’ve put together this essential guide to 12 of the city’s most beautiful spots to take it all in. Get familiar with all 12 and you’ll fall in love with Edinburgh all over again.
When you think of scenic views, your mind probably conjures up images of greenery and mountain ranges, but Edinburgh proves that a simple city street can be just as beautiful. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Victoria Street for themselves that this colourful, vibrant street was the inspiration behind the iconic Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series. With one-of-a-kind boutiques abound on this cobbled stretch of paving, it’s all too easy to while away the hours here.
Of course, we had to include the beloved Princes Street Gardens on our list. Located right in the heart of Edinburgh’s bustling centre, this tranquil green paradise acts as a sort of sanctuary from the fast-paced frenzy of city life. This colossal parkland can be enjoyed at any time of year, whether you’re relaxing with an ice cream in the summertime or watching the leaves change colour in the autumn. In spring, all the colourful flowers make Princes Street Gardens even more beautiful.
Another place to seek sanctuary in the city is the Royal Botanic Garden, which offers all the majesty of the Scottish Highlands condensed into this peaceful hub. From tall trees and giant lily ponds to wildlife and a huge collection of exotic botany, there is no doubt that the Royal Botanic Garden is one of the most beautiful celebrations of nature for miles around. Be sure to visit the greenhouse too and enjoy an up close and personal investigation of the natural world.
Most people who are familiar with Edinburgh have at least heard of the Royal Mile. This famous stretch of cobbled street is known the world over for its unique history, famous sites and quirky shops, but the truly scenic points are located at either end. Of course, at the head of the Royal Mile you’ll find Edinburgh Castle itself, offering incredible views of the wider city. And at the other end of the Mile, you’ll find both the impressively modern Scottish Parliament building and the grand Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Anyone suffering from a bout of feeling flustered or uninspired should take an immediate trip inside St Giles Cathedral, as it’s impossible not to let its beauty evoke strong feelings. This truly remarkable cathedral is located in the heart of the Royal Mile, and has stood proudly in the Scottish capital since the late 14th century. It was built in honour of the city’s patron saint, St Giles, and its interior is a true masterpiece of stained glass mosaics and breath-taking stone carvings. One of the highlights is the angel playing the bagpipes found in the Thistle Chapel.
If you ever want to put your problems and frustrations into perspective, the National Museum of Scotland is just the place to do it. With artefacts dating back centuries, the museum – known locally as The Chambers Street Museum – offers a fascinating view into just how far Edinburgh as Scotland as a whole has come over the years, with incredible stories to discover. Even just walking up the main stairs and gazing down at all the wonders below is an amazing experience that is sure to awaken your senses.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art proves that modern beauty can be just as awe-inspiring and breath-taking as the most traditional artistic work. Anyone with a passion for art – or beauty of any kind – can find something to love within its walls, and outside them! Guests are welcomed with beautiful sculpture-strewn parkland with works by the likes of Henry Moore. And inside, there are even more amazing works to be discovered. If you’re looking for culture that looks great and makes you think, this is the place for you.
Duddingston village is located just a stone’s throw from the city centre itself, but it boasts a picture perfect ambience that feels a million miles away from any major urban jungle. Not only are there nature-filled wonders located nearby – including Duddingston Loch, Dr Neil’s Garden and Arthur’s Seat (more on that later) – but there’s also The Sheep Heid Inn. This delightful village pub dates all the way back to the 1300s and even includes a veteran bowling alley in its walls.
Cramond is just a short bus journey from Edinburgh city centre, but like Duddingston village is has an unmistakably rural charm that makes it irresistible. This seaside spot offers incredible nautical views whatever the weather, as the sun rises and falls over the sea. There’s also the River Almond, with its quaint boats bobbing gently on the surface. Not to mention, Cramond is undoubtedly one of the best places in and around Edinburgh to invest in some good old fashioned fish and chips!
Calton Hill is a beautiful spot in its own right, with historical architecture to admire, but of course it is the stunning views which really make this spot a must-see place for tourists and residents alike. Calton Hill offers arguably the most impressive panoramic views of the Scottish capital, allowing you to see the city in all its glory before you get back to explore its streets for yourself.
You can’t put together a list of Edinburgh’s most scenic locations without including Arthur’s Seat. This is the ultimate scenic spot in the Scottish capital, not only offering an idyllic environment but also an unrivalled view of Edinburgh and eastern Scotland. It’s also home to some of the city’s most rewarding walks and running routes, as you can reward yourself with a great view after all your hard work.
When you find your dream home in Edinburgh, you’ll have all the time in the world to see all these incredible sights for yourself and perhaps even discover your own favourites views.
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