Edinburgh, the heart of Scotland, is a city that enchants with its blend of history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. However, there is one aspect of the city that isn’t highlighted often enough – its appeal to nature lovers. From picturesque parks to captivating botanical gardens, Edinburgh offers an array of natural wonders that attract people from across the globe.
To truly explore and soak up the natural beauty of Edinburgh and its surrounding areas, it’s highly recommended to rent a car. By doing so, you can have the freedom to move at your own pace, discover off-the-beaten-track spots, and savour the city’s vibrant green landscapes. Conveniently, you can easily rent a car from Edinburgh Airport, making your nature exploration hassle-free from the moment you land.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Start your green tour with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. This exquisite garden, founded in 1670, spans over 70 acres and is home to over 13,500 plant species. Wander around the beautiful Chinese Hillside, explore the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden or simply take a leisurely walk through the tranquil woodland paths. The Garden’s glasshouses, which are a marvel of Victorian engineering, contain a range of tropical plants and exhibits.
Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat
No nature lover’s trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to Holyrood Park. This royal park covers 650 acres, making it a perfect location for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous hike. At the heart of the park lies Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano and hill offering panoramic views of the city. Make sure to pack a picnic, as the park has plenty of great spots to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
Water of Leith Walkway
For those who love long walks along the river, the Water of Leith Walkway is a must-visit. The walkway extends for 12.25 miles from Balerno to Leith, meandering through areas of natural, cultural and industrial heritage. Along the way, you’ll encounter Dean Village, a picturesque part of town that was once a grain milling area, and the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, boasting its own unique sculpture park.
The Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill
Further afield, you’ll find The Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill, a local nature reserve that offers a diverse range of habitats including woodland, grassland and a burn. Blackford Hill, standing at 164m, provides spectacular views over the city of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.
Nature and wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted to visit Edinburgh Zoo, which is home to over 1,000 rare and endangered animals. The zoo is also the only one in the UK that houses koalas and pandas.
Edinburgh’s Outdoor Spaces
Finally, do not forget about Edinburgh’s green city spaces like Princes Street Gardens, located right in the heart of the city, and The Meadows, a popular park among locals for picnics and sports.
The Pentland Hills
Just outside the city limits, the Pentland Hills are a range of hills that offer walking, running, and cycling trails with stunning views over the city and countryside. There are numerous paths leading up and around the hills, each one providing a unique perspective on the surrounding area. This is a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts and those who appreciate a good view.
Edinburgh’s nature spots are as diverse as they are beautiful. However, navigating them might require some insider knowledge and guidance. That’s where booking an excursion comes into play. Sites like MyCityTrip offer comprehensive excursions in Edinburgh, allowing you to fully experience the city’s stunning green landscapes with the help of expert guides.
Whether you’re seeking to climb hilltops for panoramic views, wander along river paths, or explore lush botanical gardens, Edinburgh has something to satisfy every nature lover’s cravings. Remember, the best way to experience all of these natural gems is at your own leisure, and with the convenience of a rental car, you can do just that. Moreover, a guided excursion can provide a wealth of information to further enhance your appreciation of this beautiful city. Edinburgh is waiting for you, ready to share its green heart.