Edinburgh’s Best Hill Walks

Renowned for being a great city breaks destination for culture vultures and shoppers alike, Edinburgh is also a fantastic place to visit for keen walkers.

The Scottish capital and its surrounding areas contain a number of hill walking routes that can be the perfect way for you to see the city’s best known attractions whilst getting some exercise.

One of the many walks you can experience on holidays in Edinburgh could see you trek through the Blackford and Braid hills. Starting from the Morningside district of the Scottish capital, the seven kilometre route sees you walk through the Hermitage of Braid woodland and consists of a steady upward climb.

As you reach the highest point of Braid Hills, you’ll be able to see some fantastic vistas of Edinburgh before going on a steep and sudden descent to arrive back at Morningside.

The route should take about two hours and 30 minutes to complete and as it involves a height gain of 250 metres, is well-suited for experienced walkers.

For a slightly less strenuous walk, why not meander through Edinburgh’s Old Town? Roughly following the Royal Mile, the 3.5 kilometre trek will take you past some of the city’s most iconic sights.

From start to finish it can be completed in around 90 minutes, although you may want to spend a little longer than this to see the capital’s most historic attractions. Starting at Waverley – Edinburgh’s main train station – turn left on the Royal Mile and head north. The route will take you past the National Museum of Scotland and the forecourt area in front of Edinburgh Castle, which is used as the location of the annual Military Tattoo.

Ending at the City Art Centre on Market Street, the hill walk involves a height gain of 86 metres making it suitable for the majority of travellers.

Alternatively, why not ascend Corstorphine Hill? The lower parts of the hill largely contain residential properties but as you ascend it transforms into woodland. Upon reaching the summit you will find a range of attractions including a tower dedicated to novelist Sir Walter Scott and Barnton Quarry, the site of an old Cold War bunker.

Pentland Hills Regional Park can be a great destination for hill walkers. There are several routes to choose from, so there should be something for everyone. However, nature lovers may particularly find the Glencorse View walk interesting. Starting at the Flotterstone Visitor Centre, follow the heron-marked posts down to Glencorse reservoir. On your way you should be able to spot some fantastic bird life.

Following the Innocent Railway Path will lead you from Holyrood Road in Edinburgh’s Old Town out to as far as Musselburgh, east Lothian.

From your starting point at the Engine Shed – which contains a bakery and cafe – you will walk along the Edinburgh-Dalkeith route, one of Scotland’s earliest rail lines.

Although formally known as the Tunnel, the line was nicknamed the Innocent as its trains used to be drawn by horses as opposed to steam engines which were once seen as dangerous.

Following the path can take you as far as the coast though you do not have to go this far. Brunstane Burn Community Woodland and the historic Newhailes House are just some of the sights to be seen on the way.

After visiting Newhailes, you can retrace your steps back to Edinburgh or head to Brunstane Station to get the train back to Waverley.

Edinburgh is full of fantastic hill walking opportunities so you are bound to find one for you.