As with any great city, there is more than meets the eyes when it comes to the Scottish capital
Even the most seasoned explorer of Edinburgh’s cobbled streets couldn’t claim to have seen everything there is to see within the city. Of course, most people know all about iconic features like Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile, and some may even know the story of Greyfriar’s Bobby, but despite Edinburgh’s increasing popularity there are still plenty of locations that may qualify as hidden gems.
Read on to discover some of the sights and sounds of Edinburgh that you won’t have to fight with the crowds to get to.
Edinburgh is known to be one of the most historical and cultural cities in the UK, but Gilmerton Cove is a historical wonderland you may not have heard about. The cove is a mysterious 300-year-old network of underground rooms and tunnels which continues to baffle archaeologists to this day. Make sure you don’t miss out on this fascinating site but be prepared as tours are by appointment only.
Edinburgh Castle may draw the crowds, but Craigmiller Castle located south of Holyrood Park is just as compelling. It was home to Mary, Queen of Scots twice in her lifetime and is in incredibly good condition, with beautiful gardens waiting to be explored.
Because Edinburgh is such an iconic city, it’s easy to forget its close proximity to the coast too. A trip East to Portobello Beach is a great way to escape the rush of the city for a touch of nostalgic British charm with stunning views.
Dunbars Close is a beautiful garden which is easily missed by the unobservant onlooker. This tranquil natural sanctuary is located a stone’s throw from the bustling Royal Mile, just past Canongate Kirk. The garden was created by Sir Patrick Gennes in the 17th century as one of several Old Town gardens, and was then stunningly restored in the late 1970s.
The shore path from South Queensferry to Cramond is a great way to clear your head if you’re prepared to stretch your legs on a longer walk. Extending for six and a half miles along the coast, this trail offers walkers great views of a number of sites, including the Forth Rail Bridge, Hound Point beach, Barnbougle Castle and the stately Dalmeny House. You can even stop in Cramond village for a spot of tea looking out over the harbour.
Driving a little way North East of the city centre, you’ll find the peaceful Seacliff, a well kept local secret. It is located on the shores of East Lothian and boasts a cosy harbour with incredible views of Bass Rock and Tantallon Castle. If you happen to be in Edinburgh on a fine day, don’t miss the chance to visit this hidden gem.
Holyrood Palace is well known among locals and tourists alike, but Holyrood Park is a surprisingly quiet place to rest and relax before returning to the city centre. Walk as if you are heading towards Arthur’s Seat, then turn off to wander the lower slopes. Crime writing powerhouse and Edinburgh native Ian Rankin put it best when describing Holyrood Park: “You could be in the Highlands, but you’re still in the middle of a city. It’s an extraordinary thing, and there’s nowhere else in the world that’s quite like that.”
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