17 Walks in Edinburgh to Get Your Step Count Up!

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Edinburgh is famously said to be built upon seven hills. So it’s no surprise that there are many walks in Edinburgh worth a visit. Whether you just need a short walk to get out in the fresh air, or are planning a longer expedition, there are plenty of walks around Edinburgh to suit your taste. It’s worth mentioning that the council have developed the Paths for Everyone scheme which you should check out to get advice on using walking routes in Edinburgh safely and respectfully.

Water of Leith Walkway Edinburgh

Described as ‘a silver thread in a ribbon of green,’ the Water of Leith spans 12 miles from Currie and Balerno in the West, through the heart of the City to Leith Docks in the North.

Waters of Leith Street Art Murals Edinburgh

The Walkway will take you on a journey past many of Edinburgh’s sights, including Murrayfield Stadium, the Dean Village, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Stockbridge and the Botanic Gardens.

If you like architecture, you may like the walking tour in our foot tour guide.

Water of Leith Walkway Deanhaugh Stockbridge Walks Edinburgh

→ Read next | The Most Instagrammable Places in Edinburgh

We recommend walking the Roseburn to Stockbridge Edinburgh river walk, which is around 2 miles (3 kilometres) and will take around 45 minutes.

This route will take you past the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art and through the picturesque Dean Village, which are both prime opportunities for Instagram snaps!

Edinburgh Modern Art Museum.
Dean Village Water of Leith Yellow Houses

Once you’ve stopped off for a bite to eat, a coffee and a look around the Stockbridge Market, you could continue to walk to Leith (a further 3.5 miles/6 kilometres).

Another attraction along the walkway is the Water of Leith Visitor Centre in Slateford where you can learn about the history of the river and have a coffee. There are also educational exhibits for children – so it’s great for a break for families on an outing.

Stockbridge Sign_

The Union Canal

Running from Fountainbridge in Edinburgh, through the historical royal borough of Linlithgow, to the Falkirk Wheel; the Union Canal consists of 32 miles (52 kilometres) of waterways and footpaths.

Union Canal with Cafe Boat Edinburgh

Along the foot and cycle route you can visit the grand and majestic Linlithgow Palace and loch.

The walk to Linlithgow takes around 6 hours and the cycle takes about 2 hours, and you can catch a First Bus back to Edinburgh’s centre.

Linlithgow Palace Walking Routes from Edinburgh

Download the Union Canal Unlocked app to discover the story of the canal.

Arthur’s Seat Walks Edinburgh

One of the most prominent features of Edinburgh’s skyline, Arthur’s seat, an extinct volcano, is perfect for hiking in Edinburgh.

Located in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; close to the Scottish Parliament, Dynamic Earth and Holyrood Palace. The summit of the hill is 251m above sea level and offers incredible views of the City, the Forth and Fife.

St Anthonys Chapel Holyrood Park Edinburgh Views

Watching the sunrise or sunset is spectacular and is a must-do for any student studying in the city.

Group of students overlook Edinburgh at sunset from Arthur's Seat. with orange tones

The climb is popular with families and dog walkers. There are a number of different routes to the top, each of which is clearly signposted.

The most direct and straightforward is the climb from Dunsapie Loch in the East. For those who fancy more of a challenge, the Walk from St Margaret’s Loch in the North or Holyrood Palace in the West are the way to go.

Ample (paid for) parking is available, and Holyrood Park is well served by Lothian Buses.

Prefer to walk with a guide? Check out our guide to unique tours in Edinburgh which includes an Arthur’s Seat guided walk.

Arthurs Seat Edinburgh

→ Finished your walk? Next stop: Scottish Parliament – one of the best free things to do in Edinburgh.

Blackford Hill

Located in the South of Edinburgh, close to the university’s King’s Buildings campus, Blackford Hill is home to the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh.

Locals looking for Edinburgh dog walks won’t be disappointed. Similarly, those looking for forest walks near Edinburgh will be delighted by Blackford Hill. It offers varied terrain from grass to wooded areas and is not far from the City Centre.

The views of Edinburgh from the summit are beautiful. Watching Edinburgh’s winding streets stretch out from beneath you as you look North is rather magical.

The Observatory is not open to the general public but you can book into one of their events on their website.

The Braid Hills, Edinburgh

The Braids are located in the South and are perfect for those seeking hill walks near Edinburgh. A little out of the centre but still easily accessible by car and bus; this is an oasis of calm not too far from the hustle and bustle.

Well known for its golf course – the hills are also popular with walkers and families.

Pentlands Edinburgh Walks

The Pentland Hills are a regional park which boasts 100 kilometres of marked path walks. There are walks for all ability levels:

Edinburgh skyline with Pentland Hills in background walks in Edinburgh

Harlaw Woodland Walk (2 miles/3 kilometres) – easy (includes a biodiversity trail which is perfect for kids). This route offers incredible views of the Harlaw Reservoir. Start at Flotterstone Information Point.

Glencorse View (3 miles/5 kilometres) – moderate (includes a mystery trail for kids). You might be lucky enough to get to see a heron fishing on your walk! Start at Harlaw House Visitor Centre.


→ Read next | Fun Things to do in Edinburgh With Kids


Capital View (3 kilometres/4 miles) – strenuous. Magnificent views of Edinburgh and the Forth. Start at Hillend Country Park lower car park.

Torduff Water (2 miles/3 kilometres) – moderate. Views of Moorland and Edinburgh. Start at Bonaly Country Park car park.

Pentland Hills Edinburgh Purple Heather

Inverleith Park

Inverleith Park is popular for dog walks in Edinburgh, as well as for those looking for a casual stroll. The public park is perfect for sunbathing, picnics and family days out.

Inverleith Park is adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens in the North of the City. There’s a large pond which offers a scenic walk and the Sundial Garden is well worth checking out too.

Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens (known locally as ‘the Botanics’) are located next to Inverleith Park in the North of the capital.

Just one mile from the city centre, you almost wouldn’t believe that these seventy acres of beautiful landscaped gardens exist.

Visitors are spoiled with 100,000 plants across the estate. There are ten glasshouses which are home 3,000 exotic plants from around the World.

Best of all, entry to the gardens is free. Entry to the glasshouses is charged, but is free for children. Visit their website for opening times and entry costs.

→ The Botanics is just one of many great cheap things to do in Edinburgh. Check out our guide for many more.

Botanics Garden Park Edinburgh.

The Royal Mile

The Edinburgh Mile Walk descends from the Castle to the Royal Palace of Holyrood House.

Along the Royal Mile you’ll find bustling shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Performers on Royal Mile Edinburgh Festival Fringe_

This is a great place for a walk during the day, especially during the festival where the street will be packed with performers entertaining crowds.

This is also a perfect place to visit at night owing to its quirky pubs and restaurants. Find out more things to do at night in Edinburgh.

Make sure to give Hume’s toe a rub when you walk past for good luck! History buffs can also visit St Gile’s Cathedral and see a statue of Adam Smith.

Touching Humes Toe Edinburgh Royal Mile Edinburgh

Dean Village Edinburgh Walk

The Dean Village must be one of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh. It’s quaint colourful houses and winding architecture is beautiful.

It’s hard to believe it’s right next to the City Centre!

Walking through Dean Village will bring you to the National Gallery of Modern Art.

Dean Village Wall Carving Bread Edinburgh

Cramond

Located in the North-West, Cramond is a quiet village in Edinburgh.

The Almond River is surely one of the best walks in the City – quiet and calm, with boats bobbing up and down in the water.

You’ll also find little cafes that you can stop into for a coffee and cake.

Cramond Beach is perfect for dog walks in Edinburgh. It’s one of our featured best beaches in the city.

Cramond Beach Edinburgh Dog Walk Cramond Island

For those who fancy a little more adventure, you can venture out to Cramond Island when the tide is low, revealing a causeway.

Don’t get stuck! The Queensferry Lifeboat has posted safe crossing times on its website.

Silverknowes Beach

Silverknowes is great for those seeking Edinburgh beach walks.

It’s located in the North West, between Leith and South Queensferry.

It’s possible to walk the entire 3 miles of the beach all the way to Cramond village. There’s also a beach cafe where you can stop off for a cake and a coffee.

Silverknowes Beach Walk Edinburgh

South Queensferry

Looking for coastal walks near Edinburgh? Look no further! South Queensferry is an excellent place to join the John Muir Way.

Start in the village of South Queensferry with a scone and a cup of tea, then either make your way East toward the City Centre or West toward Linlithgow.

Both routes will afford you with dramatic views of the three Forth Bridges: the Road Bridge, the Forth Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing.

Read about affordable day trips with nice walks in our trips by public bus guide.

Forth Rail Bridge. Sunset. Night

North Queensferry

North Queensferry (over the water from South Queensferry) is an excellent place to start your walk, too!

You can cross the impressive road bridge which has a dedicated foot and cycle lane.

Queensferry Crossing bridge (on the right) over the Firth of Forth with the older Forth Road bridge (on the left) and with the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. Edinburgh. Transport

Cammo Estate

The Cammo Estate, in the West of the City, is a nice walk in Edinburgh, popular with walkers, cyclists and dog owners.

The estate’s main house is now in ruins. You can visit the walled garden and ornate stable block.

It is said that Robert Louis Stevenson used Cammo as the inspiration for the House of Shaws in Kidnapped.


→ Read next | Brilliant Books Set in Edinburgh


Along your walk you’ll also come across the defunct Cammo water tower. Behind there is a hill from which you can enjoy views of Corstorphine Hill and the Pentland Hills.

Corstorphine Hill

Located in the quiet suburb of Corstorphine, Corstorphine Hill is a wooded walk popular with dog walkers and fresh-air-seekers.

For those whose interest takes them to the quirkier sights, there is an abandoned air raid shelter at the foot of the hill.

Corstorphine Hill is located next to the Leonardo Edinburgh Murrayfield Hotel so this is a great location to go for a walk if you are staying in the area.

Portobello Beach

Just a few miles North East of the City Centre lies Portobello Beach.

An award-winning beach, it’s perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

Portobello Beach plant

There are loads of restaurants and cafes along the promenade. There’s almost always an ice cream van, too!

Portobello Beach cafe tables

Check out the a traditional Turkish Bath at the Victorian Portobello Swim Centre.

Aerial view of Edinburgh's Portobello beach and promenade. Sunset.

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